I had mentioned about the excellent German public transportation system. How it is all punctual. Well, couple that with a few others - No idea of German, and not having any clue as to what time is the last bus to your place plus the fact that Germany shuts down itself by 7 or around that, you have a recipe for getting lost. :-D!
It was my second day here - the day after I reached. The second day in Erlangen and Germany, I reached back from office to Erlangen Bahnhof. Once we alighted, me and Harsha decided to go to Kaufland - a shopping supermarket. After our purchases there, we decided to grab a beer and a sandwich at a cafe by the road. We were done by around ten minutes to 8:00pm. We bid our goodbyes and I walked back to Hugenottenplatz, where I was supposed to catch my bus. I went and checked the time to realise, much to my horror that the last bus left at 7:01pm. I immediately checked other places to check up on other buses that go in that direction and would drop me closest to Doris Ruppenstein Strasse. I found that #285 would get me to a place, from where I could walk back to my apartment. I got into the bus, happy that I managed to come outta the situation unharmed and mentally patting my back. I settled down comfortably in my seat. Then I realised that the bus was going towards Harsha's place, which is in the opposite direction of where my house is. I comforted myself, and my 6th sense, which started sending signals that I may have a long wait. It was confirmed when I saw Harsha getting into the bus at the next stop. :-D!!
"What are you doing here?", he asked me. "I am making potted plants dumb nut," came my mental reply. I told him that I was trying to get home. He confirmed that I was going the wrong direction. I asked him if it's ok to wait for sometime in the same bus. He told me that the wait would be about 40 minutes and he CANNOT confirm, if it will finally reach the place. I decided, and he urged me to get down at the next stop and walk back to Bahnhof and look for another bus, going in the opposite direction. So, I got down at ze next stop and walked back to Bahnhof. By this time, my mind was sending signals haywire, and panic was slowly setting in, especially when I saw the time that it was 8:27pm. I went back to Bahnhof and decided to get some help as to whither I was supposed to go...
I walked to a group of 3 old men, half drunk with alcohol [with a guy holding a bottle in his hand] and the other half drunk on enthusiasm. I ventured to tell them that I was lost and I had to get to Doris Ruppenstein Strasse. I knew it may only have half registered with them, as they suddenly spat a spurt of Deutsch strictly amongst themselves. Then one of them repeated the street name to me, with a questioning tone? I replied with one of the few German words in my lingo, "Ja". He nodded and gave me a smile through unmanaged teeth, which gave me a ray of hope. He took me outside the Bahnhof and told me something, Swei Aitte Zeeven, which I couldn't follow at that time. Luckily a guy, standing on a bicycle told me, "Two Eight Seven"! I figured as much that it must be the bus to take. I should have just taken the damn bus and gotten outta there, but then I had to make sure that they realised what I was talking about. So, I told them - Siemens Med. This is a bus stop in itself and also a big landmark as far as Erlangen is concerned. This guy gave me a reply - Ja.
Now, the English speaking guy decided to help me out and asked me where I wanted to go. I was only too relieved that he could at least speak English. I decided to jabber out fast - Doris Ruppenstein Strasse 10, Med Apart, very close to the Siemens Med building. :-D!
Now, that thoroughly confused and he took me to the taxi stand, and they exchanged a spatter in German as well.
NOTE TO WARING WANDERERS: TAXI GUYS DO NOT APPRECIATE BEING ASKED THE DIRECTIONS FOR A PLACE IF YOU DO NOT INTEND TO USE THEIR SERVICE OF TAXIING TO THE PLACE!
He was least interested in telling me where it was. I checked the time and decided enough is enough, It's time for me to go home and bake in the oven [Oh, that's the name I have given to my apartment]. So, I told myself, screw the money, let's just get on to a taxi and be done with it. :-D! With that, I told him, "yeah I need the directions and please get me there". He gave me a smile and yes, I got back home. :-D!!
So, rules: If you are using the bus services in Germany, make sure you are well aware of the places. Coz, I paid 8Euros, when I realised that i could have just walked to my house. It's hardly 2-3 kms :-D!
On a side note, check this blog out - Konfused Khopadi. It's one of my closest buddies, who's rekindling some fire :-D! He was here @ sidzofrenia. Now having moved to wordpress, much to my urging, he's restarting his own blog. Pay him a visit to urge him on...