01 May 2006

One nice Saturday, a bad experience

Last Saturday we decided to explore farther than where we are staying (NG). So we hopped on a bus to KI. We spent nearly 3 hours there, mainly at the mall. Since it was our first time to go there by bus, and it was a very nice and sunny day, we were able to enjoy the view along the way, passing along a river on the left. The land in some parts is flat while in some it is rolling with sheep grazing on the field. It was a quiet lazy afternoon, making us sleepy. We had to fight our drowsiness so we would not miss the beautiful scenery. We also passed several housing areas and then we arrived at KI bus station. It was nothing like the bus station in NG. We were quite surprised with that. There was no waiting area and the passengers had to stand outside near the stance to wait for their buses. But definitely the city is more crowded and noisy than NG. The people are rowdier, too.

We went to a shopping complex nearby and had some coffee at the food centre. We did not know our way around so we were just contented to sit, drink our coffee and eat some bread. After half an hour we walked to one department store selling things at a bargain. We were able to purchase some things such as a small radio clock, kids’ video and a non-stick baking pan. We spent quite a long time at the shoe section but we were not able to buy even a pair as our sizes were not available. What a pity!

Then it was time to go back to the bus station. We walked back there. The wind had become a bit chilly. Gone was the warm and nice weather earlier. We had to walk a bit quicker then to keep warm. When we reached the stance for our bus, we still had a few minutes to spare. We joined the queue of women, teenagers and children. Suddenly, we heard a shout. A mother was calling for her son who was nowhere to be found. Then she was screaming to her other son to ask him where the other was. I do not like shouting as I associate this with fights, and especially public brawls. I am afraid to be caught in the middle of people quarreling, always thinking the worst might happen. Finally the small boy showed up and the mother whacked him for disappearing. Probably she was just worried about her son. She could just have put a collar around his neck connected to a string tied to her hand.

As the crowd grew, I was wishing for time to go faster so our bus would arrive. Unfortunately, all these noisy people were queuing for the same bus. So even when the bus arrived we would still be subject to this entire din.

After a few minutes the bus arrived. We all went up the bus and took our seats. On one side the young girls were seated and they were talking and laughing as if they were the only ones in the bus. There were a few boys as well as a number of young women. We were seated on the front seat behind the driver. As the bus moved around the town to leave KI and go back to NG, we were looking outside the window, trying to remember the route. We were planning to go back later and spend more time in the city itself.

At the same time, we tried to ignore what monkey business the young people were doing. The noise was too much I had to put ear plugs and listen to the radio. I was holding the shopping bag with the things we bought. As the bus left the busy streets and entered the highway, it gathered speed. The noise from the other passengers also increased I could not hear myself even if I shout. The bus stopped about 2-3 times to drop passengers. During the 3rd stop, it braked so fast I lost grip of my shopping bag, and it fell onto the bus floor. I bent to retrieve it. The group of noisy girls got off. Then the bus moved on again. Another stop and the boys seated behind us and their mom seated behind them got off. After that I decided to move to the seat vacated by the boys. It was then that I noticed the label of the baking pan on the floor. I picked it up and put it back in the bag. Then I noticed that the baking pan was missing. We started to look for it under the seats and behind us. The other remaining passengers were aware that we were looking for something but did not do anything to help. Then the bus stopped again and another lady seated behind us got off.

By that time I was a bit worried as we could not find the pan. We came to the conclusion that the pan came out of the bag when I dropped it. As it was a non-stick pan, it was smooth and shiny and easy to slip off the plastic bag. It must have slid down under many seats. Then one of the passengers picked it up to keep for herself. So that’s bye-bye to my new baking pan. It was on sale; we bought it at £3.99 but the original price was £9.99. Probably the people in this area are so hard up even a baking pan on sale was too valuable for them not to take. Or, they hated us foreigners too much that they did not think we deserve to be respected by returning something that is ours. It was disgusting!

When the driver learned that we lost something he stopped the bus and helped us look for it under the seats. But the baking pan could not be found. It was not like it was a piece of paper that it could be folded, nor like a piece of ice that could just melt away. So somebody must really be desperate as to pick it up and put it in her bag. Her bag must be big enough. I only wish that when she uses the pan for baking her cake, it will be burned all the time, or become too hard. It would serve her right and she would feel guilty about stealing it. But what do you know? People who steal do not know the word guilt from the word go.

The value of the pan was not much but it was the principle of the matter in question here. If a baking pan is not safe from dishonest hands, what about other valuable things? We were not warned about the dangers of going to KI. Living in NG for many months might have dulled our senses into complacency about safety so we were not that careful. Next time we know. But there will be no next time in KI for us, as we have vowed we would not waste our time, energy and money going to that place.

1 comment:

Colin said...

Hi Carnation,

Thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks a million for downloading my e-book :-)

I've been reading your blog and feel sick to the stomach that you had such an awful experience on Saturday in my country. I hope it's not put you off the people, because generally we are quite nice.

I'm having to guess, but would FK be Falkirk and ST be Stirling? I don't know what KI or NG could be though.

I hope the remaining 2 weeks you have in Scotland are wonderful and that they more than make up for what happened on Saturday.

I can only apologise on behalf of my fellow Scots.

All the best,

Colin Galbraith

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