Monday, November 04, 2013

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Daylight Saving Time

First time I heard of Daylight Saving Time (DST), I didn't quite get it, but I was excited. It was Fall (almost November) and I was told on November 1st, I was to set my watch an hour backwards. I did think it was interesting that everyone had to know and do this, and at the same time I thought it was pretty cool. For me, all that mattered was I'd get to sleep an hour more (of course I wasn't thinking of sleeping an hour less when the process was reversed in Spring).

I woke up bright and early one lovely Sunday morning and went through the motions of getting ready for church. When I was done, I set off and did the 20 minute walk to the bus stop. I got there with 5 minutes to spare before the bus was scheduled to arrive. Unfortunately this bus stop was not sheltered so I took a seat and waited in the cold. 10 minutes after the bus was scheduled to arrive, no bus in sight. 15 minutes, then I got worried. The buses aren't usually late, well at least not that late. At 20 minutes after the bus was to arrive at this stop, I was convinced I was feeling whatever a block of ice feels. At least I know I looked it because a taxi stopped right in front of me.

I wanted to scream "help me!" when the taxi driver rolled down the passenger window, but aside my lips feeling too frozen to move, I knew I couldn't afford to take a taxi. Matter of fact, aside money for offertory at church, I had no money on me. All I needed was my bus pass, which I did have. I had earlier contemplated going back home, but besides being determined to go to church, another 20 minute walk in the cold wasn't exactly a thought I wanted to have.

So the taxi driver asks where I'm going and I manage to tell him thanks, but I couldn't afford the taxi ride. He then goes like "Oh no! You look like you need a little help. I'm not charging you".

Whew! I jumped into the cab, rolled up the window he'd rolled down and then I tell him where I'm going. Unfortunately he couldn't take me to church but offered to drop me at the nearest bus terminal, which fortunately, aside being sheltered was heated too. Off we went chit chatting to the bus terminal. Turned out he's Tunisian and stopped to talk to me because he saw a fellow African in need. Also turned out he has a sister-in-law from Ghana. Boy did we have a lot to talk about.

I got off at the bus terminal thanked the cab driver and went on to check the bus schedule put up on the notice board. Fortunately for me, a bus that would pass close to the church I was headed to, came by like two minutes after my arrival. I hopped on and was on my way to church. All this time, I hadn't figured out what was going on. I just figured the bus broke down or the bus driver fell sick or something. Have no idea where I got these ideas from because I had never experienced a bus being this late ever.

And then I got to church and the doors were locked.

I was stranded. Here I was standing at this non sheltered bus stop, which didn't have a seat, with no idea when the next bus was going to come by. I just knew church service lasted 2 hours and that 15 minutes after church service ended, a bus would come by that would drop me at another bus stop where I would wait 5 minutes to catch another bus that would drop me where I'd do my 20 minute walk home.

So I'm standing close to the church trying to decide if I should start hitchhiking, not sure if I should try something like that in a foreign land, knowing very well I would never do it in my homeland, when I see people and cars heading towards the church. At that time I must have stood at the bus stop contemplating my next move for about 20 minutes.

I make my way into the church still not sure what happened that day until I picked up the newsletter for that Sunday at the entrance of the church. The date on the newsletter read November 1st and I could almost have kicked myself for not setting my watch an hour backwards the night before. I missed out on more sleep and was stranded in the cold more than once.

Moral: even when you think you are sure, double check.

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