An irrational fear of buses

Utrecht Travel Blog

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Michel and his band, Sputnik, at the station

On Friday, I finally had to give in and learn to use strippenkaarts for the buses.  Michel, my colleague, had invited me to watch his band rehearse and get a couple of beers, but the studio was far too far to walk all on my own at that time of night.  Now, I have this irrational fear of using buses.  Stupid, I know, but the logic goes like this:  Buses don't tell you where they are.  The drivers might.  They might not.  They might mean to and forget.  But buses, unlike tubes, don''t have signs.  And it can be miles between stops if you get it wrong - unlike walking, you can't just retrace your steps.  Added to this was the fact that I had to figure out the strippenkaart system, which is one of these things that is so blindingly obvious to someone who knows what they're doing that they forget that some of us don't.

Michel and his band, Sputnik, at the station
 

I was a bit late, because my landlord is painting our stairs at the moment.  This meant that everytime I forgot to get something from my room then I had to wait five or so minutes till he finished the bit he was on.  It's amazing how much time that takes up when you're trying to get dinner together and some nicer clothes on.  trembling in trepidation, I headed off to the bus stop.  After a bit of a false start, when it turned out that I was in the right queue for the bus heading the wrong direction, I got on the bus.  Several false starts later, I found DBs studio where Michel and his bandmates were in full session.

I really enjoyed the night.  Michel's band play at the heavier end of indie-rock, and are sounding pretty good.

Michel and his band, Sputnik, at the station
  It's a really big sound.  I'm looking forward to them getting to the MP3 recording stage, actually, then I can listen to them after I go home too.  Of course Michel wanted to know whether the English was any good, and I really couldn't tell him.  Rock-English is a very different thing form English English at the best of times.  Then we got a few beers in the bar - one of which I inevitably kicked over, and pretended I hadn't - and I had a lot of conversations about favorite bands.  I can almost understand a lot of Dutch now, which leads to these strange multilanguage conversations, especially as I've picked up the habit of starting my sentences with "Ja, maar..." and keep catching myself saying "how's he called?" rather than "what do you call it?"  I'm not even sure that's Dutch, I think it's just a product of being abroad so long! 

Rather than getting a night bus home, we got the train in from Zuillen to Centraal station.  Whilst the others were waiting for their train, I made my first trip to Burger King since I got here - I'd been pointedly ignoring American junk food.  But the mozzarella sticks in Burger King were great - nothing beats deep fried junk when you're on your fourth beer!

Photos to follow. 

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Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at t…
Michel and his band, Sputnik, at …
Utrecht
photo by: krysleigh