I was watching out the train window, focused on infinity © and I was still thinking about the excitement of the football game we were watching just an hour earlier at Mick O’Connell’s Irish pub in Utrecht. Even though I am not a football fan, I liked the experience so much that I was considering leaving the Dutch flag painted on my cheek until I get to Bulgaria at noon.
Wed, 13 Jun 2012, 23:59
Fortunately, the train arrived on Eindhoven Central Station right on time. I just had to go to the bus and spend a long and boring night on the airport – it wasn’t worth the risk of missing my flight in the morning. I was in a rush but I still couldn’t find a way to buy a ticket from the ticket machines on the station, neither from the desks which seemed to be closed. The ticket machine on the bus accepted coins only, so I asked the driver for help:
– Is there anywhere I can buy a tickets, because I have no coins.
– Unfortunately, I don’t have either. You have to go and change your money somewhere.
– I see… When does the next bus to the airport come?
– In the morning. The airport is closed during the night anyway.
The airport was what?!?! So… I was either spending the night wandering around the station, or drinking beer in a nearby pub. There was some guy from the station staff.
– Excuse me, is this station opened during the night?
– No, the Central Station is closed at 2:00.
– Oh, no. When does it open up again?
– It opens again at about 04:30. You can go to a hotel – it’s better than staying around the station at night.
– Do you know any hotels nearby?
– Yes, there’s one cheap hotel over there. I think it costs about 20-30 €.
Ok, I'm fucked! Both Eindhoven Station and Einhoven Airport are closed at night. Fuck!
— Valery Dachev (@vdachev) June 13, 2012
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 01:40
I felt pretty much safe on the streets of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht at night. However the people I saw on the streets of Eindhoven made me feel uneasy. I found the hotel and a guy jumped out of it while I was still trying to find the entrance:
– Are you looking for a hotel room?
– Yes, I am. Do you have a room for like the next four hours?
– Of course. I can offer you a room for 56 €.
– Oh, I am sorry. It just isn’t worth the money.
I could get wasted for so much money in virtually any pub and I would totally do so instead of giving them away for almost nothing. So I thought I’d better leave my luggage in a locker at the station. On the way back I noticed a large area of bikes near the station and a number of suspiciously looking people around them. I was pretty sure they were definitely not the night guards.
My paranoia was calling and I was gradually entering Survival Mode. I put almost everything I could in the locker – I got my ID, the locker ticket, both of my phones, my bank cards, and nearly 200 € cash. Damn, I should have left some money there too. Just in case I get robbed or something. One of my phones was dying so I sat on a stair and switched some SIM cards so that I was left with a single phone with a Dutch card (and mobile Internet) and a Bulgarian card.
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 01:30
They were already preparing to lock the station down. I really hoped some of these guys would stay but they seemed to be going home:
– Sorry, do you know of any working pubs or restaurants nearby?
– The only one I know of is right there on the other side of the street – under the blinking light.
That sounded encouraging. Surprisingly “The Rambler Rockcafé” was still working. As soon as I sat on the bar, the bartender came:
– Hello! I’ve come right for the last call. The bar is closing at 02:00.
– Oh, really?! So… do I have enough time for a pint of beer. (I really need to think about what I am doing next.)
– Yes, you do.
– Do you know of any other nearby bars or cafés which might work at this time?
– I don’t think so – it’s Wednesday and everything should be closed by 2 o’clock.
OMG, it was getting even worse! I didn’t see any other opened pubs or restaurants around. I decided to stay until the last customer left the bar and meanwhile reconsider the stay in the hotel…
I'm at The Rambler Rockcafé (Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant) http://t.co/EQGo3OUG
— Valery Dachev (@vdachev) June 13, 2012
There were some things I had to take care of in the toilet – the flag on my cheek attracted attention so I washed it away. I thought I might get easily robbed so I put my ID, my bank cards and my locker ticket in my left sneaker, and about 100 € in the right one (I hoped they wouldn’t take my shoes), 50 € in my pocket (they were much more difficult to reach), and 20 € in my wallet (it would be suspicious if there was nothing in it). Unfortunately, I had nowhere to hide my phones. I checked in with Foursquare and shared it on Twitter. Just in case.
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 02:10
I ran back to the hotel but neither the reception nor the bar worked. I seemed to be running out of options, so I decided get to the station and hope everything would be fine. However, on my way back I could see some black men with hoods sneaking around the bikes in the parking area and I was pretty sure they were not just admiring them.
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 02:30
Standing by the entrance of the station seemed a good idea – there was a surveillance camera covering the area, a few taxis (with their drivers chit-chatting and listening to seemingly Turkish music), and… I could break the glass door in a case of emergency.
My plan seemed to work – the CCTV kept those criminals away from where I was standing but unfortunately neither the drunkards nor the stoned people who tended to come nearby from time to time. Moreover, at some point there were no more taxis around and I was starting to feel anxious about the situation.
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 02:40
A weird guy, Ay Guy, showed up out of nowhere. He headed towards the side door of the station but found out it was locked. However, I thought there was something wrong with him and avoided talking to him. Just a few moments later three beautiful girls came out of a taxi and tried to enter the station – unsuccessfully. They seemed like lost tourists just like me so I asked them if they were waiting for the station to open. Affirmative. Surprisingly, they decided to go to the only nearby bench in a much darker area right in front of two extremely drunk guys laying on the pavement. Of course, some of the suspicious guys I had seen earlier went by the girls and tried to talk to them right away. One of the girls came and asked me to join them (as I probably seemed relatively normal). As soon as we got to the other girls I saw a drunkard on a bike, let’s call him Bee Guy, who seemed to be trying to convince them to give them a lift… with the bike? to the three of them?! and their luggage?!?! to Latvia?!?!?!… where they turned out to be from after I took them with me to the lit spot before the station doors.
So what I learnt about my new comrades was they are from Latvia, their language has nothing to do with Russian, they were about to fly to Riga with a early WizzAir flight and therefore had got into the same situation I was.
Despite the fact we were in the CCTV range and criminals avoided being around us, the drunk and/or insane guys did not. Bee Guy came along and kept cycling around all night long. Soon another one, let’s call him See Guy, leaned on a wall near the entrance and started mumbling something to us repeatedly as well as pissing on himself (that’s right, pissing!). However, оn Survival Mode, I don’t usually share such enthusiasm, so we deflected the attack. A better looking local guy, we’ll call him Dee Guy, came along. He seemed really talkative and friendly but still too insisting on discussing our origin, destinations, etc. with him. Besides, I caught him in a lie a few times (including about his own name) so I clearly refused to tell him anything personal and hinted the girls do so. Nevertheless I was trying to keep the conversation going as we all felt better with someone sane and local round. So we spent an hour of guessing, joking and lying about our origin.
At some point a police car came by the station but they didn’t even stop to ask us if everything was OK. It was a huge disappointment as the Netherlands is one of the most developed European countries and they obviously didn’t find it disturbing that during the small hours a few travelers near the station are surrounded by a number of… suspicious-looking people (some of them criminals indeed)!
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 03:30
After all Dee Guy decided he was sober enough to drive back home safely. Of course he blamed us for not being open-minded and seriously endangering his healthy sleep that night by not telling him where we were from. Personally, I didn’t care much – our only concern at that time was that we had a whole hour to kill without any normal local guy, with no taxis or police around.
Meanwhile I was in an adrenaline rush from the inside. I was discreetly looking around for taxi or police cars. I was also trying to be close enough to the doors so I could break a glass or anything just to trigger an alarm or at least alert any security personnel in the station in case things go really messy. Nevertheless, I tried to look calm and be talkative because the girls seemed anxious enough. I felt for them having to listen to all that crap but we were talking about our stay in the Netherlands and our trips to here and there.. Moreover they were freezing!
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 04:30
IMPOSSIBRU! A security car parked right in front of us and a guy came out to unlock the doors! We entered the station right away but we still had more than an hour until the first bus to the airport. We were moving from one place to another trying to warm up a bit… and so was See Guy. He made a few more attempts to talk to us but failed and soon he disappeared. It seemed the best time for me to leave the girls for a while and collect my luggage from the locker. However as soon as I got back to them, an obviously disabled, seemingly drunk and homeless guy in a wheel-chair, Eee Guy, had already got to them. OK, I was definitely pissed so I went like this:
– Hey, what’s going on?
– Could you buy me a beer from that Kiosk over there? Here’s 5 €.
– Couldn’t you do it by yourself? We are having a conversation here…
– They don’t allow me in.
– Dogh… OK. What kind of beer?|
– Two 500 ml cans of Bavaria.
I hurried to the Kiosk a few meters away, took the beer and asked the saleswoman:
– There’s a disabled guy out there who claims he was not allowed to get in and get a beer. Is that true?
– No, of course not. He can come and buy a beer.
– Thank you!
He was still trying to start a conversation with the girls but I asked him to leave us alone. However he insisted on me wrapping him a cigarette. OK, he was disabled but I can’t wrap cigarettes with my legs either. I replied to him that I can’t do that and asked him extremely impolitely to GTFO. And so he left… until a few minutes later when he tried to ask me to buy him beer and/or wrap him a cigarette once again. GTFO… once again.
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 05:41
Finally, we got on the bus, paid our tickets and sat in the back. We were discussing what had gone through. I noticed one of the girls still shaking nervously (despite the vodka shots on the station :P). They said they were afraid we wouldn’t make it that night. Me too. Anyway, no more drunkards, thieves, drug dealers, cripples, retards, etc.! Quite an achievement!
Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 08:45
Latvian girls were so kind to wait for my check-in so that we could calm down and chit-chat a bit in the departure lounge, have some coffee, share some stories and photos, and say “Bye!”. Damn, I should have asked them for their Facebook contacts! :P
Anyway… there are a few lessons I learnt about/in Eindhoven – read carefully:
- Streets of Eindhoven are not the safest place to spend a night;
- Eindhoven Airport doesn’t work at night. More information on their working hours can be found on their website;
- Eindhoven Central Station doesn’t work at night either. Working hours seem to be 04:30 – 01:30;
- The first bus from Eindhoven Central Station to Eindhoven Airport is at 05:41 as seen on 9292’s website;
- Eindhoven pubs & restaurants don’t work whole night. Workings hours depending on the “night” of the week generally look like this:
- Sunday-Thursday: 12:00 – 02:00;
- Friday-Saturday: 12:00 – 04:00;
- Latvian girls are really nice! :D
So.. I am back to Bulgaria whole and alive (I believe those Latvian girls are too :)). I should blog about what happened last night…
— Valery Dachev (@vdachev) June 14, 2012