Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dumb Things

I read a few travel blogs and most of the ones I read seem to be experts at travel and have lots of advice for other travelers and never seem to talk about dumb things they do. I on the other hand seem to make lots of mistakes and even though I hope to learn from my mistakes there are a few I feel I have repeated like staying on a train and noticing that was my stop as it is pulling out of the station. I did this twice recently in Bulgaria.

My recent big mistake was missing my bus in Serbia. This has been one of my biggest fears when traveling but this is the first time I have made this mistake. I was on a bus between Belgrade and Nis when the bus had a food and comfort break. I have had my self imposed rule in the past for a bus stopping to keep my eyes on the driver as much as possible. I did not follow this rule and after having to stand in line to buy a drink I arrived back at where the bus was parked in time to see it driving onto the highway.

I was not quick enough to get a picture as I watch my bus drive away so this is just one stolen from the web. I did not know how I would get to my destination but what I really was concerned about was my backpack was still in the bus. I was what I like to call a bit FREAKED OUT.

I just kept telling myself it will work out and even if it doesn't everything in my backpack can be replaced. I am not really sure I ever convinced myself of this. I had my day bag with me and my passport on me so I was OK. I am sure my calm was fake but I at least did not cry or shout at anyone which I think would have just made things worse.

I went back into the restaurant and asked everyone in the place if they spoke English and no one did. I drew pictures of a bus and trying to express that it was gone and I was here. I think people seemed to understand but they did not know how to help. I got out my phone and my guide book and tried to call tourist information in Belgrade and the hostel I was planning to stay at in Nis but this did not work for me and I was also not really sure what they could do to help.

I went to the gas station and started asking anyone if they spoke English. I found someone and asked if he was going to Nis and if I could get a ride. He told me yes he was going to Nis but no I could not have a ride. I went inside the station and was asking the sales person if they had a phone in my best sign language when the guy that had told me no took pity on me and told me to get in the car.

As we speed down the highway trying to catch the my bus I kept saying thank you and that I did not think we would catch the bus since I had been trying to figure something out for awhile prior to him taking pity on me. We caught a few buses and each time I would say no not my bus. Mine was red. We saw a red one but it was going away from the highway but it did look like the one I had been on. He asked the time my bus left Belgrade and he called his girlfriend. A little while later his girlfriend called back and she was able to get in touch with the bus company and got the driver of the bus to pull over and wait until my new friend was able to catch up. I tried to pay him something for recusing me but he would not take any money not even for the fuel he used.

When we pulled behind the waiting bus I hopped out of the car and proceed to the bus. Prior to getting back on I received my berating of not being back on the bus at said time or at least I assume that this is what the stern talk I received was because it was all in Serbian and I did not understand a word. I did not say anything just nodded my head but was thinking you left me behind, I am not upset with you.

I then had to make the walk of shame down the isle of the bus. All eyes on me as I held my head in shame for delaying everyones arrival in Nis. The only thing that made it easier for me was the fact I knew I stood out on the bus like a sore thumb and apparently no one had said to the drive "hey wait, the dumb foreigner did not get back on the bus".

On our arrival in Nis my backpack was handed to me without a word and I walked away thinking this is a good travel story that I hope I don't ever repeat.


  1. Ouch!
    That's an Hell of a story my friend!
    Good that you kept calm, and it's funny to see how people that at the beginning refuse to help, eventually not only help but they go all the way to show that they are good helpful people :)

    1. People can be so amazing. I forget this sometimes but every time I have had real problems on the road someone has always come to my aid.

  2. Scary but funny.