Monday, October 4, 2010

Down South: The Woes of Public Transportation

On our way south to the town of Agropoli, our small group had already faced the inconveniences of Italian public transportation... but it would not be the last time. The gods of transportation were having too much fun and games to let up just yet.

We were scheduled to leave in the early evening, and so we did. When we arrived at the next station to transfer, however, no connecting train arrived. I do not remember the exact reason, but it possibly had something to do with it being Sunday. Our teachers had warned us about the possible problems with travel on the weekends before everyone set out on their adventures. After crossing the tracks (yes, this may seem a shock, but there was no under passage) we further discovered the station's office was not open. Great! Thankfully one of my friends had a usable phone to call the uncles, as my 'credito' (the credit on the Sims card) was spent. We backtracked our way to Agropoli. Our friend's uncles were able to find out information for the next train departure, and at around midnight, we were Pesaro bound.

Us stuck at the station

On the overnight train, we did not have to worry about any connecting trains. We settled in for the long ride and fell fast asleep after a long day in the heat. Our adventures would not end there though. There was no air conditioning on the train, but with the window open, there was a nice cool breeze. Having the window open was not ideal with the loud clacking of the wheels on the track. Sleepily, I closed the window, which cut out some of the noise. It soon grew hot and stuffy in our compartment. The train had little rooms with doors and seats that folded out for sleeping. We were crammed in like sausages in a plastic package.

At one point during our trip, my friend left the cabin to go into the next one in order to get fresh air. The cooler air was refreshing. Upon returning to our cabin, she was approached by a man. I am pretty certain we were the only passengers in that car due to the fact that it was an overnight train. He asked her if he could join us in our compartment, peering in the window as we slept. "No," she said, "there's clearly no room, and my friends are sleeping." He thankfully walked away. It was bizarre knowing that a lone stranger would have asked such a thing. It's scary even thinking about her being alone in the corridor, and we knew nothing about it. Anything could have happened.

Our train into Pesaro did not arrive until 5 or 6 AM. Class was at 8AM every morning of the week, except on weekends, which were of course free time. We had already called and spoken to one of our teachers that we would be late and/or possibly miss class. From Pesaro to Urbino, it was still another hour or so by bus, in addition to being driven to class. With luck, after briefly stopping at our dorms, we made it back in time for class. During that class, I had to do a presentation. Everyone had already presented, and I arrived just in time to do mine. What luck! Shortly after, class ended.

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