The bladder in the back of the bus

He had only just sat down on the bus when the call began to come.

“I need to pee,” the voice said. It came from, the back of the bus and from a place like Ohio or Missouri or Illinois. “Is there a place in the terminal to pee?”

The walk from the train terminal to the ship was long and hot. Some took taxis. Others walked. The man who had only just sat down had walked. The night before, it seemed, he had been drinking. He was sweating and breathing heavily. Upon hearing the voice at the back of the bus he began to sigh and roll his eyes.

“I don’t need this,” he said.

The voice at the back of the bus had a friend. In fact, there were a few of them. It was a whole group of middle aged ladies. However, only one of them, it seemed, needed to pee.
The woman with the full bladder had a friend who had been on a cruise before. But the conversation, like it does for homo sapiens of a certain age and disposition, swiftly moved from potential toilets to upcoming holiday destinations and family back home before erupting into a full blown, indecipherable chatter.
But then, the voice returned.
“I really need to pee,” it said.

The man sighed again.

Soon the ship became apparent. It’s name was plastered in giant letters across its side. “Silhouette”.

“Is that our ship?” a woman in the back asked.

“That’s our ship,” another answered.

The passengers disembarked with their passports at the ready.

Once inside the cruise terminal the woman’s friend tapped her on the shoulder.

“Look,” she said. “There’s the toilet.”

And the voice waddled off.


The couple and the porter

To gather some thoughts on what was a truly bizarre/interesting/lovely experience I will post some small portraits from our 12 nights cruising around the Mediterranean before I try and create one big piece out of it all.
The Swiss couple boarded the train from Rome central to Civitavecchia. Before doing so they enlisted the services of a young porter who, though not legally allowed to work within the station premises, offered his particular skill to those in need.
The Swiss couple needed him and once aboard the train they shipped him a couple of Euros. The young porter looked down at his palm and bounced the coins in his hand several times. The coins clinked weakly on each descent. He looked up at the couple and said: “Please.”
The trip from the station central to platform 27 was a long way – perhaps a 15 minute lug. By using the porter it was clear that the couple had saved themselves some valuable energy. They were going on holiday – a cruise ship. The wife, a blonde of fading youth and beauty, looked down at the floor and mumbled. She said something in stilted English about how the young porter had neglected to inform them how much it would cost for his services. It was, therefore, his own fault that there were not more coins in his hand. They did not have any more to give, she insisted.
The young porter stood there for a few minutes longer, jingling his coins. The woman and her husband ignored him. The young porter skulked off.
Then, the woman laughed and tucked into an ebook. A few minutes later her husband excused himself and got off the train. He returned soon after to answer his wife when she asked when she asked him about his whereabouts. He told her he had tried to find the boy to give him some more money. She scalded him. He was merely encouraging the porter, she said. Didn’t matter. The husband could not find him.