The rude woman on the train (day 127)

Day 2 of my trip from Khabarovsk to Port Vanino. On the train now for the last 24 or so hours. We are getting close to where I want to be. Or at least to where I want to go.

Obshey is a pretty cramped way to travel. I used my thermarest last night to sit on (and let other people sit on), and then sleep on (when many people got off).

I woke up this morning to a view of someone’s back. Not a back I recognised actually. What had happened was that, while I was sleeping, lots of people had got on the train. And, not wanting to wake me up (which was rather sweet of them really), they just sat all around me as I lay on the bench on my mattress.

This happens all the time. Not that I fall alseep in trains and people come in and sit all around me without waking me up. But that more people get in as we get closer to decent-sized towns. I am not exactly sure what we are close to. This is not even the middle of nowhere. More like the outskirts.

Maybe it is just a Thursday afternoon trip for these people. But then they don’t look like they are here just for the ride.

There is a woman in the corner seat who won’t give up her table. She is sitting beside a seat that folds up into a table. She has been sitting there a long time. But now would be a good time to fold the seat down and let some more people sit on it. We have 10 people in the space for six. She has a spare seat (that could easily fit two), but she doesn’t want to fold it down. How odd.

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Now we have 14 people over on this side, and more people on the bunks above our heads. Still the table woman will not budge.

She is having words with the woman directly opposite me (who, parenthetically, seems like just the sort of person who would go out of her way to help you out, and would definitely fold down her table if there was any chance that she was causing anyone even some marginal inconvenience through keeping it folded up).

Hmm. No. She is not going to budge. Even Azerbaijani man can not convince her. And he is pretty convincing. No sign of the women responsible for the carriage (every carriage has two members of staff allocated to look after it).

Ah. Now this makes more sense. She has folded her table down now to make room for a friend of hers who has just got on the train.

Now that is odd. There is one seat either side of the table. So with the table folded down there are three seats in a row. Rude woman was sitting in one to herself. On the other side of the table, two people were sitting on the other seat.

She has folded down the table. But she has also squidged up to let her friend on her seat, and two more people are sitting on the folded down table.

Rude woman could quite easily have kept her seat to herself, folded down the table (and let two more people sit down), and then squeezed her friend in beside her.

When I think about it, I am not sure if she was waiting for her friend to get on, saved the table specially, and did not want to tell anyone that she was saving the seat, or whether she was actually kinda embarassed about her inability to let go of the table, and the friend getting on the train just gave her a face-saving way out.

I guess it doesn’t make too much difference either way. But it is interesting to wonder. And hard to glean terribly much from the expression on her face.

The friendly woman opposite just gave me the “I can’t believe I just saw that” look.

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