Friday, August 08, 2008

The Family and the train

This week's family news:

Nephew set off for Thailand early in the week. He is now MIA. He spoke to his mother Tuesday and all was ok in Bangkok. She tried to ring him on his mobile today and an Asian speaker answered. She called us in tears, as she thought something terrible had happened to him. We tried the number and sure enough, a non English speaking Asian guy answered.

Not knowing that she had not spoken to him on his mobile phone yet, only a public phone, I suggested his phone had been nicked or he had lost it. Consultation with the brother friends revealed that there is no reason why it should be easy to speak to someone using an Australian phone and phone number in Thailand. Mobile phones are difficult when overseas.

For instance, in the UK, I could get someone's mobile phone number and call them direct, but I could not sms them on the same number. If they rang me though, and I saved the number or just replied with an sms, I could then sms them. Odd.

I called sis in law back and asked her if he had set up global roaming for his phone. What is that, she asked. I am pretty confident that it is a phone number problem.

I really needed all that as I walked in the door on a Friday night.

We met up at my sister's on Tuesday afternoon for a drink for her birthday. Mother and step father were there, on their way home from the Eye and Ear hospital. Sis went out for a tear around on her bike, and we took Little Jo to the park in Kangaroo Road. It was a slow walk with mother in tow. It was a great playground and quite busy. Jo's preference was for a slide, the bigger one of course.

We had some take away chicken for dinner and headed home. Social things are always so draining.

Oh yeah, R goes straight to sister's from work and I usually get the train, otherwise we would have two cars to bring home. I usually catch an earlier train and maybe have a cup of coffee in Murrumbeena before walking to my sister's. It takes time to get a train to there. I walk to South Yarra Station, 25 mins, train 15 mins, walk to sister's 10 mins. Total 50 mins. I can be there in 20 in the car. I thought to minimise the time a bit by catching the train at 3.45 to get to Murrumbeena at 4.00. Mistake. Chockers with school kids. The train only had two doors per carriage, and the school kids filled them, making it so difficult for anyone to get in or out.

Lucky R was not with me, as he goes off his tree at people who block tram doorways, often giving them a shove. I guess this is the standard way school kids travel on trains and it is wrong. There was space inside the train, just not anyway to get to it because of the school kids.

Anyway, my thoughts of fifteen minutes of reading the paper went out the window since I could not get a seat. It was not a pleasant trip.


  1. Of course, it could be that your nephew in all the excitement just couldn't be arsed/completely forgot about calling his mum. That's what children are for, on the whole, to send parents into a state of panic for no particular reason other than being inconsiderate towards their feelings.

  2. Sounds like his phone my have been stolen, or she has been calling when he was in a noisy night club or something. His mum should remember that he is young and the last thing he wants to do is call her all the time. She shouldn't worry, but that is what mums do.

    School kids should be made to walk!

    On the Hurstbridge line the school kids I encounter are very well behaved, although I haven't ran the gauntlet of the 4pm school rush for a while...

  3. I'll lend you my white cane to smack 'em into line and out of your way, Andrew ;)

  4. Brian and Ben, I reckon that is what the problem is.

    Most obliged Jayne.

  5. re train trips:

    this from anonymouslefty.blogspot who is in London

    "If a young person asks you for your empty coke bottle on the non-airconditioned and rather muggy London "tube", they want to urinate in it. (Why, what did you think they wanted it for? Silly tourist.) I suggest changing carriages - surely they deserve a little privacy. They have to go. Now."

  6. I told in a post that the tube is hideously hot. Now people will believe me. In Hanoi they hang around you for the plastic bottle to sell the plastic. In London they want it to piss in it. In Australia, I will meet anyone's eyes, but I will confess to not doing so in England as some of the guys looked very scary, including the guy sitting opposite us on the tube. I can deal with straight or gay skinheads in Australia, but I felt very out of my league when sitting opposite a London one on the tube. I could not get visual clues, the body language was different to what I knew, best for me just to not look.

  7. My one and only experience of the Tube in London wasn't a good one. It was unbearably busy. As we pulled up at one station I stepped off the train for a moment to help an old biddy on. Without so much as a thankyou, she stared at me in disbelief as though I'd committed some sort of hideous crime, allowed the doors to slide shut and left me stranded on the platform.

    I've never met a pleasant cockney yet and if London sank into the mire tomorrow I wouldn't shed a single tear...except perhaps in laughter.

  8. Your expression as the doors closed must have been priceless Brian.

  9. Anonymous5:59 pm

    You and your sexual street signs, Andrew! Reality teaches me to be cynical of such a notion.

  10. It wasn't sexual street signs, it was just street signs. I did not know how to read him. I had a feeling if I met his eye, he might knock me out.