This time, at least, the tears weren’t mine. I was making the transfer from the Airport Link (elevated train) to the nearby MRT (subway) and needed to break my 50 baht note to pay for my upcoming mototaxi ride. Standing in line, I saw a white woman speaking urgently with the teller, and all three workers looking concerned. This did not bode well, but I usually just ignore the rude tourists I see.
When I got up to the window, the woman was rambling something about another station on the Skytrain line, and waving her hands.
Since I use all three lines constantly, I have a pretty good idea of how to get to any side of town. I asked her where she wanted to go, “Can I help?”
She turned to me, shook her head in exasperation and turned away. I’d seen her face turning red, and hoped she didn’t yell at the teller again. Then I realized that she was rubbing her eyes.
“Fine, here – I’ll take it.” She told the teller, choking back near sobs and rubbing her eyes like they weren’t actually about to flood the counter.
“Really, it gets better,” I said. Then realized I’d just heard a British accent.
The transit system had reduced a grown Bristish woman to tears. That takes skill.
“Really,” I reached over, “It’s very confusing. Where do you need to go?”
“Just to the airport! Can I even get there from here?!” She still wouldn’t look me in the eye.
“Yes, you’re in the right place. You can go to the last stop- look, it’s the 35 baht.”
“I can? It works?”
“Yes, it takes you to the basement. You won’t have to transfer again, and it’s the last stop, so you can’t miss it. You just have to go upstairs and it works perfectly.”
“Oh, this is the right station…?”
“Yes, you’re fine. This is exactly where you need to be to go to Suvarnabhumi aiport – see, it’s on the station list right there.”
“Okay, thank you.” Her face was still red and she didn’t seem grateful, just hot, exhausted and overwhelmed. I’m sure my intrusion helped her, but at that moment not only had she lost her cool – but a fellow Westerner had watched her cry. By now I’m sure she was embarrassed as well as travel-weary and confused.
I showed her how to get through the gates with her pass, the restroom sign and which escalator to take.
Finally, “Really? But why did I think it was the Sukhumvit station?”
“I….I don’t know. That is a main hub, and Sukhumvit and Suvarnabhumi are both crazy-sounding words. Look, everything feels crazy here. It does. And it doesn’t make sense. But, I’ve been here for several months. It gets better. Okay, I have to go now.”
I’d left the house 5 minutes late this morning, then got stuck in traffic and caught the train twenty minutes later than planned. This wasn’t my plan. I just pray and believe my mishap caused someone else to have a few ounces pf peace because of what looked like disorganization on my part. Maybe my disorganization is part of something bigger.
I am participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), posting everyday for the month of November.
Below I will post links to other participating bloggers. If you’d like a link, please leave a comment. Thanks!
[All listed links + descriptions are at my discretion, they are not affiliate links, I am not being compensated in any way for the blogs I suggest]
1. Grumbles and Grunts : Somebody’s Crunchy Mother, and a former Hoosier
2. Expatria Baby: Another Expat! Living in Indonesia and blogging about her life, her family and dreams.