Monday, February 21, 2005

London

I got the most amazing surprise on Friday afternoon. My best friend Emily phoines to say that she is back in South Africa from London. Was a huge shock, because although she has a Britich passport and can come and go as she likes, she was only meant to come back in November. Emily is one of the most adaptable, positive and make-a-go-of-it people I know, and yet she said she was back because she had "had enough." She's certainly not paranoid.

I asked her why.

SA percieves the UK as a greener pastures sort of place, because of wonderful things like public transport, less poverty, the exchange rate and earning pounds, and of course, the Brits.

So why is she back 9 whole months early?

Well, for someone with work experience, and she's actually British, she could only get a shitty job doing something she hated, which couldn't pay for rent. She slept on a couch for 3 months in Wimbledon without even unpacking her suitcase. Now maybe that's her fault, who knows, but it didn't sound fab.

She also said she felt unsafe a lot of the time. I found this odd, because Johannesburg is DEFINATELY less safe than London. Thing is, most of the crime happens in the city and in the townships, due to poverty. Whereas, in London, people that are poor or that have babies can just live off the dole. She said she felt unsafe, especially on the tube. Then the final straw happened, and she packed her bags and came back home. This story is crazy. It gives me goosebumps whenever I think about it.

Emily's friend Sarah had to take the last tube home at like 11:45 pm or something like that. She was on her own, and like most girls, thought, "Do I get into a carriage that's empty, or do I get into one with people in it?" She got into one that had two guys and a girl in it.

The two guys sat with the girl in between them, and Sarah felt a little uncomfortable, there was an unmistaken tension in the air, and it felt a little dodgy.

But she sat down, and noticed that the two guys were very much on edge, and the girl just sat and stared at Sarah. She just didn't stop staring.

Just then, an oldish guy climbed on and sat next to Sarah. After a minute, he turned to her andf whispered in her ear, "Get off at the next stop."

Frightened and confused, Sarah panicked and and jumped off at the next stop. The old man ran after her and caught up with her saying, "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm a doctor."

He continued: "That girl had been strangled. She's dead. Those men were holding her up. There were bruises around her neck and she wasn't breathing."

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? If that guy hadn't got into the tube, Sarah probably also wouldv'e died, because those guys had to get rid of the body somehow.

I've heard bad stories about the tube, metro, subway, you name it, but nothing like this.

21 comments:

Christopher said...

Jesus, that is horrible! That really sent a shiver down my spine.

Peas on Toast said...

For sure. I guess you don't expect that sort of thing to happen.

zuzula said...

shit! that is terrifying. Taxis for me from now on... although I once got in a cab and half way home the driver confessed to me that he'd recently stabbed a man to death. Your friend is right. London is evil.

Peas on Toast said...

My God! What did you do when he said that?? I really thought that these sort of things only happened in the movies! Have I been living in a cave my whole life?

zuzula said...

I couldn't believe it either! It was very scary. He was telling me a story about his daughter working in a bar and the owner being a little bit inappropriate. So he stabbed him and the guy died. The daughter doesn't know it was him, so I'm guessing he's never been arrested for it. He pulled the cab over to tell me this story... i was shitting myself... and he insisted on dropping me home and watching me go in to make sure I was okay... so he knows where I live! He also made me promise not to look at the number of the cab (which I didn't). eek.

Peas on Toast said...

So did he actually go, "Don't look at my cab number?" after offering to drop you at home? That is very freaky.
See? There are psychos all around us. Sleep with one eye open Z.

Christopher said...

London scares me anyway. It really fuels my anxiety. I went ot see Woody Allen in Hammersmith last December and I couldn't fully relax because I was so nervous about getting the tube to get back to Victoria Coach station. I ended up grabbing a cab.
I don't know if you're familiar with the area but it's a lot like Shawn of the Dead.

Peas on Toast said...

When hearing these things about London, I must say I am truly shocked. To me it sounds like a relatively-safe [for a city anyway] place, safer than say New York or LA.

Sure some areas are always worse than others, but I wouldnt think TWICE ordinarily to grab a tube at night by myself. I would be scared, but then, I'm one of these people that would compromise my safety for freedom. I took the subway with a girl friend in NYC at 11:30 pm from the airport to Central Park, and was scared, but thought, fuck it, danger can't actually turn me agoraphobic.

Thing is about Joburg, we can't use public transport. Mainly because we have none, but the main train lines to Soweto and other dodgy townships are totaly no-go areas. Commercial minibus taxis can be taken in Cape Town, but not here. Normal taxis can be taken, but people actually dont use them unless they really have to.

I think the only thing we can really do here is hire our own chauffeur. Class and safety rolled into one. :)

Lola said...

Wow, this is kinda funny, in a sick way. I was attacked on the train in Cape Town station on Tuesday on my way home from work by 3 black men. They hit me in the face and almost broke my nose. The whole story is on my blog. I bled all over the train and Im trying to claim damages from Metrorail.Hope they pay out, the buggers! I have the same name as you laurian...just spelt differently. We're cool!

Peas on Toast said...

Wow! Lola, you are DEFINATELY cool. I can't believe you got attacked. Actually, I can believe it. How many times I've been in Cape Town station is scary, and it is a dangerous place. Good luck on getting anything out of Metrorail. Bastards! Crumbs. I'm going to your blog now to check out your story....

Stephanie said...

That would have me packing my bags! I have lived/worked in London for about 6 years now and have never exeperienced anything like that (got my breast grabbed by a teenager on a bike near my old flat once, but that was it), I count myself lucky now.

Peas on Toast said...

Steph, touch wood. I'm also very lucky like that, I haven't been mugged before, or stabbed/violated/witnessed a dead person in the tube.

Touch wood NOW!

wonderful-electric.co.uk said...

Gotta say, I lived in London for five years and that sort of thing never happened to me. And I lived in Tooting ...

London is very much (like most major cities) a make-or-break thing. You either make it. Or you break yourself trying to make it in the process. Quite sad, really.

However, it's definitely not the land of riches where anyone and everyone can easily get a job. Simply because that's where anyone with any talent will gravitate, and you suddenly find yourself competing against the best of the best, as opposed to the best of the pool you were in before.

Oh, and I once woke up at Greyhound bus station in Las Vegas to find everyone behind me, and a guy bleeding to death in front of me.

Roonie said...

My God, no. That story is horrible. And scary. I would like to know if anyone knows how frequently these kinds of things happen...I've never heard of anything like this before. And P.S., LA is a far safer city than most people think.

Blog ho said...

Is that story real? It was spooky, but then I remembered about the guy who woke up in a bathtub full of ice and a note to call 911 immediately because...THEY HAD TAKEN OUT HIS KIDNEY. And then this one time...

Nettie said...

I don't even live in a big city, and I've always been too afraid to take taxis. The idea of being alone in a car with a stranger....urgh! Of course, where I am started off rural and never got a decent public transportation system, so we all have to have cars. I think this is a good thing.

Peas on Toast said...

Badly Dubbed Boy - You're right. Voilence happens in every big city. And I was naive to think that that couldnt happen in London. The stuff that goes on in Joburg though will make your skin crawl. I suppose thats why I expected this story to happen here rather than London

Fayza - I'm sure LA is safer than what people think. Joburg is safer than what people think. It's all relative, and people only listen to media stories unfortunately.

Ho - yes I've heard the kidney story too...urban legend. But this story about the tube is 100% bona fide true.

Nettie - Yes I've decided that having a car is very much a good thing!!! :)

Mafia! said...

Man! Its been a while since ive heard that one!!!! I mean, im not saying it never happened, but its an old urban legend.

Peas on Toast said...

Oh right. So this happens a lot then?

I suppose you know Sarah Grey as well?

You really do get around mafai man. :)

Mafia! said...

im not saying it has/hasn't ever happened. And I'm not saying it didn't happen to her. But it just seems odd that it would be the exact same story that is the urban legend, thats all!

And what d'you mean bout me getting around??????

Peas on Toast said...

I suppose it has happened before that's all. It is very weird. That's what makes it worse that this seems to happen all the time.

And I didn't mean getting around in the aesthetic sense, promise! Just that you've heard the story before...no antagonisms, I swear.