Tales from the Metro 2

Today, at Vanderkindere, where all tales from the metro seem to begin, someone asked me whether this was where she could catch the 25.

– Le 25? 
– Ouais.
– Il y a un 25? 
– Merde.

After further investigation, it turned out that there is a line 25, but it kind of goes round the opposite side of the city. She headed off, grumpily phoning whoever had given her shoddy directions in the first place.

Once safely onto tram no. 3 (which does indeed stop at Midi), I was serenaded by the delightful busker who seems to only know Sway (and then, only the first two verses). He sings in what I think is the accent of a Spaniard who doesn’t actually speak English:

Whamarimbariddemstartoplaiy,
Dancewime, maikemeswaiy,
Laikalaizyoshunhugdashore,
Holmecloss, swaiymemorrrrre

On the plus side, he has a guitar, not an accordion.

I couldn’t find a video of him, so here is a guy in Antwerp playing a horn violin, which is apparently a real instrument. There’s someone who does this on the metro in Brussels, too – maybe the same guy. I don’t look. If you make eye contact, you pay. I think that’s how it works.

I share the bus journey home with a postman and his little cart of letters. I like to assume that he has a really big route, and wasn’t just heading off to Flagey to dump them in the lake. I’m guessing he avoided having to buy two tickets (one for the cart) by hopping on the back of the bus which is VERY ILLEGAL, as we were reminded by the angry driver on several occasions. We are also now aware that THE BUS HAS PRIORITY WHEN PULLING OUT, NON??? PUTAIN DE MERDE!!!

Tales from the Metro

I’m not sure why, but on my particular metro line, and, in fact, at my particular station, people often seem very concerned with whether or not the trams stop at Gare du Midi. They do. They always do. Well, unless you go the wrong way, or catch the 92 or 7, which don’t, but stop in a different place at the station anyway. 

This morning, as a case in point, a lady asked the guy standing next to her whether the tram would stop at Midi, and how long it would take to get there. The guy replied that yes it did, and would take between five and six minutes. She then asked how many stops, to which, after some thought he replied ‘five, no four, no, definitely five’.
Confusion reigned at each stop. She would start by saying ‘but this is Midi, isn’t it?’, to which he would reply, ‘No, it’s Albert/Horta/Parvis de Saint Gilles/Porte de Hal’.  
Eventually he became tired of all this communicating and said, ‘But look, I’m getting off at Midi, so I’ll just take you with me when I do’.

Sadly I got off at the stop before so missed whether he followed through with his promise or not.  


Waiting for my connection at Porte de Hal, a woman walked past me shivering. She was wearing suit trousers, a jumper and a scarf. Admittedly it was a balmy -2°C this morning (we have seen -15°C quite recently), but this was too much too soon (or too little, depending on how you look at it).



Arriving at Arts Loi, the entrance hall smelt pleasantly of baked beans.