|When Two Became One
When Two Became One
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so we filled our boots this morning. Today was going to be spent travelling home so we didn't know when we would eat next.
We forced ourselves to get up early this morning to pack our suitcase, whilst my body was downstairs at breakfast my head was still on my pillow. I sat half asleep chewing my toast gulping down coffee in the hope it wold wake me up.
After checking out we popped over to see Vlad one more time. The excavations hardly made any more sense this morning, so we decided to find the airport bus as soon as we could. We had plenty of time to get to the airport which was lucky. Finding the correct bus stop to catch the number 783 bus wasn't easy!
First we returned to the spot we were dropped off in Union Square. We intuitively walked up to the nearest ticket booth where an utterly charmless woman scribbled 783 on a piece of paper and waved us away. It must happen to her a lot.
I think she was indicating a vague direction in which to find it. So we headed across the rather sizable square looking for another ticket booth. The first one we came across was near the centre where a far more pleasant woman took pity on us and took the time to direct us towards a specific ticket booth, near the Hotel Horoscop.
After crossing ten lanes of traffic we were just glad to be alive and would have got on any bus but thankfully the number 783 was parked by the side of this ticket booth.
We paid for our tickets and got onboard the bus, relieved that we were finally on our way. I made sure I validated the ticket. We'd been caught out before (in Italy) by not validating.
We made slow progess out of the city.
When we passed the Arc de Triomphe, Bucharest's more blatant attempt at emulating Paris, we were disappointed to see it covered in scaffolding. However, they had wrapped it in a "this is what you should have seen" image of the monument. We didn't feel we missed out much.
It had taken us almost an hour to reach the airport. Two stops from the end ticket inspectors came on board and began to check everyone's ticket. When they came to us they checked ours. It had been correctly validated. No problems there, but they then scanned the barcode.
"Only one" the lady said. Then pointed to Julie and I to show she could see two people.
"No, no, it's for two" I protested. I even had the receipt which clearly showed I had paid for two.
She stared at me and repeated herself. "Only one" then showed me the number 50 and said "You pay"
There was a bit of a stand-off where she glared at me. I felt I was being scammed here.
"I've paid for two, validated the ticket, done nothing wrong. I'm not paying your fine!"
She was unmoved. "Only one. You pay." she repeated, shrugging her shoulders. She was quite agressive, scowling at me, waving the ticket machine in my face. I was sat down, she was stood up, it felt quite intimidating.
I was ready to kick up a fuss. Julie hates confrontation and said "Just pay her"
I gave in. I delved deep into my pocket and took out all the cash we had left, exactly 50 lei and 90bahn (or 0.9 lei) in small change.
I handed it over (sort of threw it), most of the coins fell on the floor. If she wanted her 50 lei she was going to have to get down on her hands and knees to collect it.
By now we had reached the airport. We got off the bus in such a bad mood. I could only think that I should have to validate the ticket twice, once for each passenger or something? It's the only reason I could think. Or that it was a scam.
It was such a shame the trip ended on such a sour note. We've encountered nothing but welcoming beautiful people all through our trip.
And despite blurting "We're never coming back to Romania!" at the rottweiller ticket collector we would come back in a flash. We had such a wonderful time.
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