Monday, April 16, 2012

Adventures on the Gothenburg buses

Since moving to Gothenburg I've had the joy, if you want to call it that, of using the city's public transportation system.  I must say at first I was amazed at how efficient it was/seemed.  I'd only ridden the bus in Skövde a handful of times, and then only for trips of about 6 minutes in length.  Nothing special.

As mentioned in previous posts, I work 50%, 20 hours a week, and some weeks J is gone to other offices for one two, or even 3 days of the week.  Normally I would just stay at home and do my amount of work here since J would be gone with the car.  Contrarily, as we now have a full time third member of our little program-development-gang-thing working at the office here in Gothenburg, I try to make it into the office even for just a couple hours of the day so that our third guy doesn't feel hired and deserted.  Also, I try to offer what little more knowledge of the program I have to help him with his programming-fixing-bug-tasks.  You can tell I really have the programming lingo down.  This means over the past few weeks I have braved the Gothenburg public transit system more frequently.  To be particular, I've braved the buses.

I believe I'm finally getting over a pesky virus that I picked up early last week, most definitely from my bus rides.  Or at least I'm 99% sure that is where I picked up the bug.  I don't think any time in the near future I will forget the stout woman in the back of the bus last Wednesday hacking her lungs out for at least 10 minutes without covering her mouth.  To my relief, and I'm sure many others' as well, someone finally offered her a cough drop.  Several others laughed along claiming that they were about the offer the same thing.

Yet another thing I've braved on the buses?  An eventful...well...event occurred at the Nordstan stop on bus 17 towards Tuve today.  (For those of you unfamiliar with the city, Nordstan is the huge shopping mall right across the street from the central train station, so as you can see, a very busy stop).  I'm half expecting the "event" from today to appear in the "Dygnet Runt" (Around the Clock, as it could be translated; the crime listings that have happened in the past 24 hours, what, where, and when) section in GP tomorrow morning.  As we were about to leave the Nordstan stop today and continue over the glorious Göta Älvbron, I suddenly heard a commotion at the front of the bus.  I had to turn around in my seat, as I was facing the back, to see what all the noise what about.  It appeared to be a gang of young men, from what I could discern shouting in Arabic, throwing fists at each other right in the entrance of the bus!  It seemed like one guy wanted to get onto the bus and for some reason the other 3-4 weren't letting him.  He kept trying to break through and eventually I saw blood trickling down his face from his temple.  Another guy who had boarded the bus and moved to the back with his big black dog (a labrador mix) then moved, with his dog, to the front of the bus and the dog really let it loose with booming barks. I think it was just all bark and no bite, but it ended up being quite a fuss.  He joined in in the shouting and the attempt to convince the one guy to get off the bus.  Lastly, some Swedish lady stpped forward shouting, "Åh, lägg av! Stäng dörrarna, för fan!"  Loosely translated, "Oh, lay off! Close the doors, for fuck's sake!" (I asked J for the closest translation of 'för fan' since curse words are so related to their native language. Swedish cursing really is not very translatable into English.  För fan, literally translated, is 'for devil' but is, of course, much more harsh in Swedish than it appears in English.  Thus my translation.  And my apologies for the harsh language, I just want to recite the story truthfully!)  The bus driver, it seemed, never really did anything from what I could see, leaving the doors open.  Eventually after several minutes the gang of guys succeeded in getting the single guy off the bus.  Finally we took off for our trip over the river.  When I finally hopped off at my connecting bus stop to catch my third, and final, bus to the office I had to jog to catch my bus, otherwise I would have missed it.

In my few weeks of more regularly traveling by bus, I've come to label Nordstan as the trouble stop on my usual bus route to and from work.  Not only did today's fiasco occur there, but last week the bus I was on nearly slammed into the back of a tram that was stopped just in front of Nordstan.  We ended up being stuck there for several minutes as well and the bus driver ended up honking repeatedly at the tram since it, for some reason, was just sitting there.  I don't know if I could handle being a bus driver, I would always be stressed about running late!  Not to mention, most likely due to said stress, they drive pretty insanely most of the time.  Hence my reference to nearly slamming into the back of that tram last week.

Maybe I'll make this a series, my adventures on the Västtrafik buses and perhaps occasionally, trams.  I'm sure the longer I ride the buses, the more stories I will accumulate.  Hmmm, now to only find the perfect name for this possible mini-series/running subject on my little blog.


Ben said...

Hi Jessica,

It seems like you are having great fun in the big city ;-)

When cursing, the Swedes are not very creative. It is all about hell, the devil and that is about it.

I can recommend you a nice little book on this subject. It is called 'Svär inte så förbannat'. Maybe you can borrow it from the library.

Keep on enjoying yourself. And keep on writing, too.

Jessica said...

Thanks Ben!

I may have to check that out. I chuckled about your comment and told it to J, and he of course started listing all the cursing that didn't have to do with the devil or hell. That made me chuckle, too.

Are things finally warming up for you guys, or were you hit with that terrible snow storm this week?

Ben said...

We did get some snow flakes, but nothing serious. It is still freezing at night, though. After a very early start, spring is advancing slowly now...

Fredrik Andersson said...

Sorry to hear about the bus incident. Just one of these things that makes me want a car that much more.

Jessica said...

Ben - I knew it was too good to be true when the warm weather cropped up about a month ago. It was just a teaser!

Fredrik - If anything the bus incident was some entertainment on a normally uneventful ride. I just hope that guy ended up alright! We have a car, but J usually gets dibs on it as he travels for work several times a week.