Stories from China: The Bus Incident

So I’m really not sure how I forgot to tell absolutely everyone ever about what happened on a bus I was taking at some point last year. I was meeting the girls and Julian in Lerthai to get food and then go see Star Wars if I remember correctly and like I do incredibly often, I hopped on the 68 bus and sat down to listen to music and try and forget that people are staring at me. Everything is going as normal, the bus is insanely crowded but by some miracle I had a seat and soon enough I recognised that I was only 2 stops from Lerthai. Feeling really happy that for once I wasn’t going to be late I didn’t question when the bus didn’t set off straight away, the traffic was insane as usual and I just thought that the driver had tried to set off and had to slam on his brakes and that was the slight bump I felt. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Although I didn’t notice at the time because I was daydreaming, it turns out the bus had somehow collided with the back corner of a car and that was the bump I’d felt. I was shaken out of my daydream when I heard raised voices and just presumed that I was going to be witness to another Chinese argument. Instead both drivers were arguing and the rest of the bus were trying to get involved and yelling back. Meanwhile I turn off my iPod and start paying better attention to my surroundings. I’m still not sure what damage, if any, was done to the actual bus but the driver was refusing to move – even after 2 men literally jumped out of the bus windows to yell at him.

So by this point I start thinking that maybe I will be late for dinner after all – I know from experience that the walk from this bus stop to Lerthai is roughly 20 minutes (it was the same place I broke my toe so I was very familiar with the condition of the pavements). Just as I start thinking about walking, the bus starts to empty and I’m poked in the back by a Chinese woman who just says “Get off”. So I do. I’m about to start walking but wanted to take a picture of the bus and car first to show my friends later when the same woman asks where I’m going and takes my hand and starts pulling me in the direction of Lerthai. She had obviously decided that because I was a foreigner I had no idea where to go (and usually she’d be bang on but not this time) and had decided to practice her English whilst doing a good deed and taking me to where I needed to go.

It’s nighttime, so pitch black, we’re walking on the e-bike part of the road rather than the pavement and very quickly I realise that this woman, although lovely, did not have a great deal of English. It was however a nice way to warm up in the freezing temperatures, and when we came to a major crossing she kind of saved my life by pulling me out of the path of gawping bikers. After I nearly got run over she refused to let me out of her grasp – I’m pretty sure she thought I had a death wish. When we reached Lerthai I obviously thanked her profusely for her help and she looked very worried when I started walking up the stairs of the bridge over the road but soon she left and went about her life.

Oh and in case you’re wondering – I wasn’t the last one to arrive for dinner!

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