On only my second European train ride I saw a young Swedish woman learn the hard way that if you have space to put your luggage on the upper rack, do it. Also, avoid leaving your luggage out of view. This is especially true if you happen to be on a late night train.
The young woman, let’s call her Bella, had boarded, stored her luggage on the floor at a luggage spot near the front of the train car and taken her seat. Soon thereafter Bella apparently had some other business to take care of elsewhere on the almost empty train and left the car.
At some point during this train ride a couple of youngsters quite far into their night boarded the train and went into a compartment together. One of them, needing to relieve himself, left his compartment stumbled by the bathroom and, mistaking the luggage area for a hole in the ground, proceeded to piss all over Bella’s suitcase.
I confess I listened to the act half in horror and half laughing, intermittently peaking over the seat in front of me out of sheer intrigue. Without the conductor in the car and not a word of Swedish to my name I wasn’t sure what I could do. There was only one other soul in the car with me and his seat faced the opposite direction from the action. He only turned once to see what the trickling sound was.
About 15 minutes later Bella returned to her seat. A little while later she went to retrieve something from her suitcase. Her first reaction was mystery. She inspected the scene of the crime like a dog first meeting a new awkwardly smelling friend. Bella soon realized the problem and with a face of pure disgust, shot up and out of the train car with an internal fury I think only hell hath.
Bella returned with the conductor’s escort and they began the search. Naturally they first went to the other person in the car, I suspect because he looked less American than I, and oddly enough, although I’m quite sure he knew what happened, he chose not to get involved and brushed away the conductors inquiries.
The conductor then moved towards me and said something I didn’t know in Swedish, but that I perfectly understood. I pointed to the compartment where the culprit and now accused was residing and explained in English, which I’m pretty sure he understood, that the guy had dark hair.
The conductor rapped on the door, opened it, brought out the two lads and began the inquisition pointing repeatedly at Bella’s shiny bright red suitcase and firmly questioning them in Swedish.
From this point on I have no idea what was being said, but I imagine it went something like this:
Conductor[C]: “Did one of you piss on this suitcase?”
Almost Reasonably Drunk Blonde Swede[ARDBS]: “No, no, we’ve been in our compartment. It wasn’t us.”
Unreasonably Drunk Dark Haired Pissing Swede[UDDHPS]: “Yaughughghay”
C: “I was told that one of you came out of your compartment and pissed all over the luggage right here. Where do you think this piss came from?”
ARDBS: “I don’t know”
C: “Get back in there and do not leave.”
At this point the conductor came back to me, looked at me, pointed towards the spot where he had been questioning the alleged, and raised his eyebrows. I nodded vigorously and said again it was the dark-haired one. Apparently he did know a little English, said thank you and stomped to the compartment even more incensed because now he had been lied to by young drunk dumbasses on HIS train.
Let’s just say the next 10 to 15 minutes entailed a lot of yelling in Swedish, both of the drunks getting kicked off the train and the conductor having to clean up the mess left behind. I’m happy to report Bella got her two (or three or four) cents in as well.
Again, I can’t say I knew what the conductor or Bella were yelling at these two party animals, but the word “pissa” which is apparently similar to its English brethren was used a lot. In between the numerous “pissa’s” were words said with an inflection that implied they would not be normally used in polite company.
I’m grateful this situation came up early in my trip so I could clearly understand the potential consequences of not taking care of where I left my bags.