Fuck Madrid and Avanzabus!

Trip Start Jul 15, 2009
Trip End Oct 13, 2009

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  ,
Monday, August 17, 2009

So I am in Madrid a big big city with one of those circle freeways around it so hard to hitch out of and always over a hundred degrees so I splurge on a bus ticket to Valencia. My ticket to Valencia leaves at 3pm I get to the bus station at 2:00pm so perfect timing to get to my bus. I realize my ticket says nothing on it as where to actually catch the bus??? hmmmŋŋŋ Itīs got some numbers and some ABCīs but what do they mean. So there is a big line to where I bought my ticket so I go to the info booth and point to my ticket and point around asking what direction so the usual he tries to say something to me in some language I donīt know, and I say No and point around showing that I just want to know what direction (ITĻīs a HUGe bus and train and metro station) I donīt want to listen to anybody try to tell me something over and over that I am never going to understand. So he points down and writes (1 ol 8) on my ticket. I donīt know what this means so I go down the escalator and there is only two spots to go one goes to metro and one goes to buses. there are 60 of them, hmm so I ask a bunch of busdrivers standing at the entrance they just point down so I go to bus 8 and ask people around that area pointing at my ticket and pointing at stop 8 confirming that it is right. 
        Although I just want a yes or no headshake most of them just tell me alot of stuff in Spanish or catalon or whatever it is they are speaking. eventually a man tells me no over here this is your bus. Taking me to platform 10 the bus does say Madrid to Valencia on it and it leaves at 3pm. but what on my ticket indicates that this is my bus there is no number 10 on my ticket? So I sit there for a while an he leaves itīs an empty parked bus with no bus driver and it is getting closer to time. Itīs almost 3 no bus driver just a parked bus but there are other people waiting, the other guy that told me to stand there comes running back, he says no you are over here! I talked to the bus driver, he tells me. and he takes me to platform #6 and says you are here. thanks, and he runs off to catch his bus. I wait in line and give my ticket to the bus driver he says something in Spanish. I keep trying to give my ticket to the bus driver, but the stupid bus driver wonīt let me on. He keeps saying ĻNo, Uno! One! ONeĻ and i point to the direction of platform one and he says si!
So I go, there is a bus and people are getting off it not on hmm?? is there something wrong with the bus are they switching buses? Is this the right bus, Is my bus late? It is now 5 minutes  till 3pm the bus should be here. So I try to walk on the bus to show the bus driver number 1 my ticket to ask if this is the spot but as soon as I step on the steps he holds out his hand and says NO and  a little something in spanish then shuts the door on my face So I sit all my heavy stuff down in front of bus #1 hmmm if this is not the right bus I miss my bus, there is an info booth but it is closed there is a door though so i leave my stuff and go inside the door and through to an office the guy says something i donīt understand I point to my ticket and point around. he doesnīt get up he just points out of his office and I point to right here #1 right outside to where I just was and she shakes his head yes and motions to get out right here i say and point again to confirm he shakes his head yes. 
        So I go back and sit in front of bus number 1 the bus driver just sits there smoking a cigarette inside of the transit bus well there is no smoking out here so maybe he is smoking before we go and there are other people waiting. I sit 3pm comes and he leaves. I wait for number 1 there is nothing i can do no one will tell me where to go not the info guy not the people not the bus drivers not the people that work there no one, how am I supposed to know WHERE to GO!!
    I ask the same bus drivers standing by platform 1 the same ones i asked earlier. Because itīs 3:15 and i want to know if my bus is late because if any thing was announced written or told to me that my bus was late I didnīt understand maybe the guy in the office was like oh yeah bus number 1 is had some mechanical troubles but its on it way now it will be just a little bit late go outstide and wait for it go ahead now, but i donīt know what he said. the bus drivers look at my ticket and look at their watch and point to it and shrug as indicating to me I missed the bus and itīs too late.
        I yell at him telling him iīm not too late but he just shrugs so I go back and sit and wait for bus number 1 again and he says no no and I say yes it says 1 on my ticket there was a 1 written under where it says couch and he says no and I say yes it says number 1 right there!
So I sit and he gets someone else and motions for me to come back and he gets some lady to talk to me but she doesnīt speak english either whats the purpose is she speaking something else so i go look for a bus to valencia and try to get on it the bus drivers wonīt let me they tell my ticket is old, that i missed the bus, but I didnīt miss the BÜS! and I am not buying another ticket, but it would be frausterating hitch hiking out of stupid dry hot madrid with 50pound bag and 104degrees when I spend almost all my money on a ticket. so I sit and the drivers ignore me not getting me and english speaking person or another ticket or taking me to the bus I need to be at which shouldnīt have been that hard because seemingly iīve narrowed it down to bus somewhere between 1 through 10. 
        So I see buses to Valencia they wonīt let me on because my ticket is old or wrong. I see the bus drivers paying no attention to the luggage compartment and think i could hide under the luggage just fine, and I would seriously consider it except for the fact i am not entierly certain that i will come out alive itīs at least 100 degrees always and probably even hotter once they close that metal door, I imagine myself dying of heat and trying to breath running around in the hot and in the dark sweating unable to breath searching through peoples luggage for water yeah that could be an unpleasant death I wish I knew before hand what it would be like but I didnīt want to tak that risk.
    So I go back upstairs to where I bought my ticket from and wait in line  and show the lady my ticket and ask where? and she says oh this ticket is lost! ĻĻITīs not lost!Ļ NOīItīs lost! Ïtīs not lost! Itīs in your hands!!!!Ļ Ļno goodĻshe says I explain the situation how itīs not my fault and I need a new ticket she just stares blankly at me she knows she safe because there is glass between us. your ticket is lost! So I explain again how it is not my fault! if they do not put where I am supposed to go! No tiendae no tienday she says so I say where can i find someone that speaks english, she points to the ticket person right next to her, so i wait in that line get to the front and explain. she too stares blankly at me my ticket is past she says. My ticket is not past! because you never told me where to go! how am I supposed to know where to go! It does not say on my ticket where to go! She says you were supposed to go to platform 9. How am I supposed to know that i say! there is no 9 on my ticket! she says the screens and points behind me there are big digital screens on the wall that say cities and destinations with numbers next to them, how was i supposed to know that i thought those screens had no purpose or so you knew this bus to here leaves in 30 minutes if you want to buy a ticket. You didnīt tell me that I say, she starts saying no tiendae to me but I know she speaks english because I talked to her the day before. 
        Can I talk to your manager I ask? No tieday she says, IS THERE ANY ONE IN this BUILDING THAt SPEAKKs ENGLIsH!!!!!!!! she points to the man at the end.
    I go to the man at the end and he just tells me my ticket is lost, my ticket is not lost iīts in your hands!!! and itīs not my fault because you did not tell me where to go!!!!!!!!!!111111 but he just says your ticket is lost.
 Okay so in spain they donīt refund money or give new tickets and nobody cares and I know I canīt expect people to speak english we are in spain, but itīs a little harder when you were told before hand lotīs of people in europe speak english and the fact that i am at an international station that goes to portugal and france, and at an international station where backpackers from all over the would are running around should they not hire someone who speaks English at an information booth? I mean each country speaks their own language people her first figure out which languages they have in common and if they have none they speak english to each other thatīs what was happening in france and belgium Itīs the International language.
        So frausterated I stand there in the middle of the bus station, plan C: I look at the light up digital board it says valencia 16:00o,clock, I can still make that bus I go to the last lady someone has to be sympathetic right? No, all the other cities say platform numbers next to them but avanza bus to valencia is blank next to the stupid platform number? how do i know maybe my bus earlier didnīt have a platform number next to it? fucking avanza bus. So I go to the last lady for avanza bus i had not been to yet and ask her what platform number to valencia? she just stares at me I say VAlencia. Platform number. I point at the board.........blank stares.....No Tiende. Valenciaaaaa platform nummber pleassse. Valencia is the same in spanish and platform is witten on the board why wonīt she tell me the platform number.
      So frausterated I stand there in the middle of the bus station, people with luggage all around me going around running around other backpackers with huge backpacks speaking french, speaking dutch, speaking italian, speaking spanish, speaking catalan buying tickets catching buses, but nobody can see me and nobody can talk to me and no one can understand me and I canīt understand no one.
        my heavy bag a shiny floor, I have not slept the night before. I collapse in the middle of the bus station. Seemed like a good idea to me there was a security gaurd I could see and some police men over there. I figured someoneīs got to arrest me, give me a bus ticket to get me out of there, or find me someone that speaks english because they donīt want me sleeping right in the middle of everybodyīs walk way, in the way and Iīm not leaving because I am not going to understand what they want me to do until they find someone to tell me in english thatīs the only way Iīll understand. Iīm in the way and youīre not allowed to sleep or even sit on the floor of bus stations... at least not in America.
         Well I lay there bags sprawled around me everybody walking around police just left, security guards not paying attention and everybody just walks around me nobody offers me help in spanish or in english nobody tries to move me nobody looks at me wierd everybody just walks around me like they do the cows in India in the middle of a busy intersection. Almost invisible, but not quite. This makes me feel worse acctually, the fact that I know I could get no help if i was in a desperate situation. and this is why you should always stick to hitchiking because every time every time,         So next plan I get up move to a corner and decide to conterfeit my ticket so it says 16:00 instead of 15:00, not hard to do but a little harder with the supplies I have, not much, too much to explain but I make it say 16 then I go to search for a bus that says to valencia on it.
    I find one, I keep my bags on my back and donīt put them under the bus in case i have to pull them back out again when he realizes that my ticket is lost.
        he is looking at tickets closely on no not like that last bus driver he acctually looks at them i crumple mine up a little to make it look even more distracting, I look like a crazy person that would have a crumpled up ticket anyways, I think my bag is what distracted because he said something pointed at my bag and pointed under that bus and ripped his copy half of the ticket off. Yeah i at least got my ticket ripped now i put my bags under the bus.
        I run to get on the bus I make it on the bus I wonder where to sit down I sit, some little boy says something to me and points up. I get up he sits down, i realize unlike the last bus these seats are assigned, shit! I try to stand around while people sit. but I am in the way. so I look my seat says 37 so I sit there i can at least show the person it say 37 when they get mad at me and then move to the side stairway until i find an empty seat. some guy just keeps standing there right in front of where i am sitting he does not ask me to move or say anything but he stands there looking around, the bus is getting full and last time i rode a bus in spain it was completely full not a seat left, oh no if i can get past the bus driver seeing me I can sit in an aisle way, but I dont know if he will see me. The bus fills up completely the bus driver getīs on and closes the door I look around not one empty seat, I am sitting in the correct seat as my ticket too. hmmm? wierd maybe whoever was in my seat sat somewhere else or maybe we are going to pick up more people or one person the person in seat 37 i donīt put anything in the overhead compartment yet i clutch it ready to either move out of my spot or get kicked off. After I realize we really are on the motor way and not stopping I put my stuff away. I really made it on the bus. I wonder if person 37 missed the bus. I wonder if person 37 came and he said no the bus is already full? Confusing how this worked. Arriving in Valencia everything is already better, it is more beautiful then madrid, cooler, greener, more places to squat, and beaches!

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sg2oo3 on

wow, that sounds horrible, glad you amde it

Erik on

Yes Madrid sux, better to go out fast

MMM on

Dude, you're both dumb and unlucky...
Not that the Spanish aren't dumbasses as well...

Warren on

You sound like a complete and utter idiot. Its the likes of you that give Americans a bad name. I hope you packed your bags together with your stupidity and hi hoed the hell back to whatever town has the misfortune of you living there. What an obnoxcious, ignorant and uneducated person you are!!

MMM on

You're right, Warren! Although I may understand the frustration of a native English-speaker (well, almost English...) and I experienced myself the "language barrier" with the same Avanzabus guys, it all finished OK - eventually!
PS: I'm from the SE Europe - but the right spelling would be "obnoxious", without the "c"! Cheers!

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