Monday, 26 March 2007

The Public Transportation Saga continues : Le Metro

Did I ever mention that I sometimes have to ride the Underground Metro/subway sometimes, too? No? Well, now I have.
Ever since we moved 3 months ago to one of the new cities built on the outskirts of Cairo to realize the dream of having a house of our own (we generally dislike um...neighbours) I've come in contact with the metro too!
My mom drops me off in the morning at a Metro station on her way to work and I take it to College. It's very practical actually, 10 mins and I'm there. If I happen to finish around the time my mom gets off work , I take the metro to meet her and I'm microbus-free for that day.
The thing is , just like microbuses have their highly entertaining events which make for great small talk topics , so does the metro.

Today for example, one metro- in the direction of Helwan- broke down. As a result,the next few metros were so congested , it looked like they were about to burst open and spit out the people filling them to their limit. It was totally comical waiting for a car where there was enough space to fit in. The metro cars pass by and you see faces, backs, bags, hands and clothes stuck to windows cartoonishly. When the doors open a bunch of girls pour out screaming (I don't know why they were screaming really but obviously they felt compelled to do so) and trying to pull their bags, hair and veils out with them. I worked up the courage to get into one of the cars and I've never rested my chin on so many strange heads and shoulders in my life. At one station a woman waltzed in and demanded that I make some space. "I wish I could move lady but there's no space" to which she replies "space? Why there's plenty of space!".
O RLY? Then pray tell why am I forced to sniff your hair for the next couple of stations?

It's not an unusual sight to see a shoe or an arm stuck in between one of the doors while I'm on my way out of the station. It takes the conducter a while to notice the screaming but he eventually opens the doors again before he severes a limb. To be honest, it's not really his fault. It seems that some of passengers can't quite grasp the concept of having to move into the empty spaces in the car and away from the door to let someone in before the doors close. It's a complex concept I know.

Then there's that annoying policy of "Nazla? Nazla ? nazla? hah hah hah ? Nazla? " ...I swear that I'm getting off at the next station, honest to God and all his prophets , I promise you from the bottom of my heart that I'm getting off and may God strike me dead if I don't!
....Another "Nazla?" has to be thrown in for good measure though after all those promises are made....

I've noticed something weird about the way people deal with ticket machines. Besides of course suddenly finding a stranger squeezing in with you while you cross because she/he just happened to "forget" buying a ticket. The thing that I've noticed is that despite the fact that about 10 machines are working just fine, people seem to gravitate towards the 2 or 3 crowded ones. Is it because it's hard work checking the screen to see if the machine's working? Is it because the ones being used heavily are more likely actual ticket machines rather than say , a gateway to a parallel dimension (as if anyone would notice) ? Is it just the sweet smell of armpits that makes your day worth living?

Sigh...Questions , Questions.

I always take the ladies' car and on one occasion , this poor schmuck got on just before the doors closed by mistake. This lead to screams of protests : " A man! Men aren't allowed here!" , " We can take him to the police station when the metro stops!" yes ladies, because that poory scared guy is going to kidnap/rape/harrass/kill a car full of screaming vicious hyenas..err women ...then an empty semi-circle formed around him immediately with his back pressed to the door. It was like an invisible force field automatically goes up around any men in the ladies' cars.

And I can't sign off without mentioning the beloved sound of " tick, tick , etshfooo" ..Yes, that's right. You hear that sound and you realize someone is snacking on flax seeds or "lib" right behind your ear. I mean let's be rational, the lady behind me has gotta snack on something right? She has one hand free, a full set of teeth and a long metro ride home, so why shouldn't she spit out those darling little salivated missiles?

Well this post is long enough now and I'm sorry to have bored you if you've made it this far :D .

Bub-bye for now.


Pretty Young Thing said...

aaahhh...the jollies of commuting in an intoxicating perspire dripping muffled air.
I avoid it by skipping classes. It's become quite the glamorouized phobia. Public Transportation, gotta love thee.

Juka said...

You poor thing, albeit you talented cyncial girl you. That was hillarious. More metro trips for ya.

spellz said...

that wasnt boring at all
that was hillarious
good luck Gurl :D

Ravine85 said...

Pretty young thing : I hear ya, on the occassion when I skip class, it's usually because I don't want to go out so I won't have to deal with all of that shit. Phobia , indeed.

Juka: Thx darlin':D . Can I even resist making those trips? Too much amusement.

Spellz: Thx Hon :D.

bibi-aisha said...

Tanx 4 a trip dwn memory south african,lived in egypt last yr.we dnt hav an underground here-so i used to njoy the metro. Only used it a few times tho,n thankfully most times it wasnt crowded. Ramadhaan was the worst-it was packed! u def gave the munane an amusin twist-lovely!

Ravine85 said...

bibi-aisha:Yikes, thanx for warning me about Ramadan. I still haven't experienced THAT.
thx! :D

Forsoothsayer said...

i hear you...this is why i spend half my incomes on taxis. and what about the dirty looks the veiled women give the one unvelied one (me)?

Ravine85 said...

forsoothsayer: O, I get those a lot,too. However, I have mastered the ultimate "stop staring or I'll come over there and teach you how" look. It's quite effective, really. ;D