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Ca me manque... - Nobody wears a white coat any more... — LiveJournal
...a tribute to becoming a doctor.
ayradyss
ayradyss
Ca me manque...
Went to see "l'auberge espagnole" tonight. Was good - part of the best bit of it was that it was mostly in French, and it was all about living in a foreign country, and it reminded me of France.
I miss France. I miss the French, as odd and quirky as they are, even if they don't shower and don't see why we do. And I spent the evening telling stories about France, including one of my favourites of all time: The train story, here excerpted from my journal there.

12 November:

I eat my döner</span> (always count an hour for lunch; I'm right on time) and walk up to the gare</span>. This is why I'm a good girl. I'm going to go make reservations for </span> Rome</span> . The bad part is that I'm shooting for a sleeper…for the two of us, my Matthew and I. Go figure. </span>

Someone in his 30's comments on my cloak.</span></span> I respond, keep walking. I've been told that my cold act rivals a Frenchwoman's. It's a compliment indeed. I practice. He catches my accent, the hesitations over words. Sprechen</span> Sie</span> Deutsch? No, I say. I'm not German. English? American. Going somewhere this fine afternoon? I don't answer. School?</span> Home?</span> Lunch?</span> Grandmother's house?</span> I love my cloak. Nowhere?</span> The train station, I give in. I'm making reservations for winter vacation. You're a tourist? A student.</span> Want to get a coffee? No. I'm in a hurry. See you later. He vanishes. I love it. It's only when you're in full-Goth at midnight-thirty that people try to convince you to go eat/drink/sleep/stay with them. The rest of the time, they bugger off.</span>

I get to the gare, wander around. Can't do what I want to with the automated machines. Dang. Going to have to talk to a human. I get in line. I wait for about 15-20 minutes before it's my turn. I explain to the kind gentleman behind the counter that I'll have a europass, and that I want to make reservations to </span> Rome</span> . He tappitas. I don't have a direct train to </span>Rome</span> . I take a deep breath. The train changes at </span> Basel</span> . Without touching a key, he looks at the screen. Oh, he says. That train. D'accord. I bite back a sarcastic comment. What day? The 18th December. La nuit samedi-dimanche? [The night Saturday-Sunday?] Non. La nuit vendredi-samedi. [No. The night Friday-Saturdy.] D'accord. Quel train ? [OK. Which train?] I whip out the Strasbourg-Rome schedule. Minuit vingt. Ici. [</span> 12:20</span> . Right here.] He points out that the hours are only valid until 29 novembre. La dame à la boutique SNCF m'a dit qu'ils ne changent pas. [The lady at the SNCF (Société National de Chemin de Fer; the French rail system) said they wouldn't change.] Pas beaucoup. Un moment. [Not much. Just a second.] He thwaps some keys, looks confused. Un moment. Je reviens en cinq minutes. [Hang on. I'll be back in 5 minutes] I wait. He reviens with a big book, pages through it. Il roule tous les jours? [It goes every day?] Oui. He checks his computer. Il roule tous les jours, mais pas la nuit 17-18 décembre. Je ne </span> sais</span> pas pourquoi. [It rolls every day, but not the night 17-18 December. I don't know why.] I bite my tongue. Mon petit ami va arriver l'après-midi du 17 décembre. Nous voudrions partit aussitôt que possible. [My boyfriend arrives the afternoon of the 17th. We want to leave as soon as possible.] He pages. Le jeudi ? [Thursday?] Le vendredi. [Friday.] D'accord. He writes. J'ai ce train ici, à 17h47 le samedi. [I have this train here, at </span> 5:47 PM</span> Saturday.] He demonstrates. It gets into </span> Rome</span> at something like </span> 9 AM</span> . Works for me. Mais je voudrais partir vendredi soir, [But I want to leave Friday night] I repeat for the tenth time. Tappita tappita. Vous pouvez aussi faire ça le vendredi. [You can do that Friday too.] Bon, I agree. Ça </span> marche</span> . Est-ce qu'il y a des voitures-lits ? [Great. That works. Are there sleeper cars?] I've been frantically seeking how to say " sleeper " in French, found it in the horaires. Oui, he says, slowly, which means that this is going to take some more time. Un moment. Tappita tappita. Je reviens en cinq minutes. He reviens, parles with another mec, the girl next to him, and I can neither hear nor understand the conversation. He has another stack of books. Page page. I have now been standing in the gare centrale at the guichet for something like half an hour, trying to make a reservation. I thought that if you knew what you wanted, it got easier. Enfin, he looks up from the books, and the computer that's giving me hives being too near it, it's so old, and shakes his head. Je vois les voitures-lits, mais je peux pas les trouver. S'il vous plait…. [I see the sleeper cars, but I can't find them. If you please…] I give him name, address, and phone number, he promises the gare will call when they find the voiture-lits for the train to Rome. I tell him one man, one woman. he writes it down. I don't mention (and I only think of it later) that I should mention that we want to travel together if possible.</span>

I'm exhausted. I troop over to CIARUS anyway, like a good little nykkit</span>. Matt'll</span> have to write them. No problem. He's twenty years old…he can handle his own auberge</span> reservations. They've got pleine</span> de places. I go home. I go to escrime</span>. I come home. Juliette's</span> friend Michelle is there, and I realise I'm not going out tonight. At least I'm not washing Lego's for Juliette</span>, who wanted to take some jouets</span> to </span> Viet Nam</span> with her, and bought them at the French Salvation Army. That was a riot-Nicole, qu'est-ce</span> que</span> tu</span> fais</span>? [What are you doing?] Je</span> suis</span></span> Lego- medecin</span>; je</span> rassemble</span> les corps. [I'm a Lego-doctor; I'm putting the bodies back together] Moi</span></span>, j'ai</span> pleine</span> de têtes</span>.</span> [I've got lots of heads] Moi</span>, ja'i</span> pleine</span> de corps.</span> [I've got lots of bodies] Non</span>, j'ai</span> au moins</span> soixante</span> têtes</span>. [No, I've got at least sixty heads] As- tu des mains?</span> [Do you have hands?] Oui</span>… ils</span></span> sont</span> pas propres</span>. [Yes…they're not clean] Laves-les! [Wash them!] But the Lego's are gone from the salle</span> de bains</span>, and good thing too- Juliette</span> leaves Tuesday. It's</span> dinner until 11, a bottle of Cabernet-something interesting that looks half-melted and tastes smooth as anything, to accompany chilli con carne à</span> la Michelle. Fantastic, and at midnight- ish</span>, I crawl into bed and fall asleep.</span>

13 November-14 November</span>

I crawl out of bed. I realise I've been doing a lot of crawling out of bed. Oh, well. I get dressed, remembering that today's the soiree halloween</span></span> at CJRS. In honour, I put on my black bodysuit and my black collar, and wish my laundry were dry so I could go in all black. I have to wear jeans. Sux</span>, that. I leave a note for Juliette</span>, counting on dinner late with Ko</span></span> and hanging out for a while, and head out. I take time to argue with the France Telecom people, who finally, a month after I dropped off my little request, get around to inscribing me to the service I need to be inscribed to: Primaliste</span> Pays, which is 25% off my calls to one country. Allemagne</span>, he says, oui</span>? Non</span>, I contradict him. Etats-Unis</span>. He gives me a funny look and corrects it. I haul tail to the bus stop, buy lunch at Quick. Cheeseburgers with white cheese are another thing I'll miss. They use Emmenthal</span>, I think. Ko</span></span> isn't there. I wait 15 minutes past the appointed time and hop a bus by myself. Weird, that, but I pass the time in making up a character for the heckofit</span>. I make the stats up on the spot; they're neither sterling nor bad, but a good exercise in character balance.</span>

I hop off, hit the club. Nicolas is the only one there, sleeping across three chairs and listening to French metal. He hops up, kiss-kiss, goes back to sleep. I settle down and do a little light work on the maps for the campaign. Eventually people arrive, we play baby foot, which is table-soccer, and Dominique and I lose a close game. It's a mélange of French and English, mostly French. Dominique runs to kill time, since the signs say soiree and Nicolas was thinking afternoon-evening. It's a silly campaign, full of cog gnomes (the pronunciation is hilarious: g- nome</span>) and light-heartedness and fun. Luc floats in and out; Thibault</span> plays. I'm beginning to recognise people with ease now. Séb</span> is dressed like a mummy, and we make fun of him. It's wonderful. We play, XP's are handed out, someone comes with a few jack-o-lanterns, and Guillaume asks where's Ko</span></span>? I tell the story. Everyone laughs, speculates a little. Apparently at least a few of them were under the impression that we were a couple, and I only find the chance to disabuse them of that occasionally. </span>

Are you staying tonight? It's a ritual question, to which I ritually answer no. I say yes. I've a free evening. They ask what I want to eat. Someone pays and never tells me what I owe. I don't know how to ask. It's McDonalds, a Royal combo. I eat someone's potatoes. Luc hovers, vanishes, hovers, and vanishes. Don't know. I stay, I stay, I participate in the decision-making for Hallowe'en</span>, it doesn't work out, and at last we wind up as a table of 6 with Manu as DM. We start at about 11. We finish at </span> 7:30</span> . Séb</span> drops me off at home at about 8. I crawl into bed.</span>

The phone rings at </span> 9:30</span> . I forget I'm in </span> France</span> . A confused voice asks for me, asks if I speak French. I remember I'm in </span> France</span> , and try to wake up enough to comprehend. It's the SNCF people. They've found a place, and can I come in tomorrow. Sure. Anything.</span> I forget to tell them I want the places together. They sound separate right now. Mental note.</span> I talk to Matt. It's no big, he says. We'll have a hotel room in </span> Rome</span> . We can sleep on the train. I'll be jetlagged anyway. I'll see. </span>

I go back to sleep, wake up at 3, clean the room top to bottom, do a little homework, marvel that I've not cashed a traveller's cheque yet this month, talk to Matt a little, find out that the ATM rates are excellent, and that the fee is only a dollar. Love it. I feel productive. I kill time, trying to reset my sleep schedule. It's </span> 2 AM</span> when I crawl into bed, still awake. Class at </span> 9 AM</span> .</span></span> Havens forfend</span>.</span>

15 November</span>

I make it to class, on time and all, somehow. I hate language block, anyway, and labo's</span> worse. But it's out at </span> noon</span> . I hit the Döner</span> place on my way back to the gare</span>. I'm skipping Logique</span> for the second week in a row, only last week it was because Ko</span> and I found a really cool parc</span> and wandered around it for an hour and a half, guessing which parts were original and which were reconstructed on this gigantic citadel wall. The big game was whether we were inside or outside, since it meandered something awful. Today, I'm going to the gare</span> encore. I get my döner</span> to go and keep hiking. I polish it off somewhere around les Halles</span> and take my jacket off. It's too nice out…I cram the winter coat that I needed this morning into my backpack. I look like a backpacker. I don't care. I get to the gare</span> and present myself at guichet</span> 15, like I was told. It's occupied. I wait. There's a fermé</span> sign but the guy appears to be working anyway. I wait till he's done, say Excuse me. He extends a finger, points to the fermé</span> sign. I explain that I was to present myself at guichet</span> 15. He motions to guichet</span> 14. Bemused, I present myself at guichet</span> 14. </span>

The guy there is great. It's a good French day, too. I'm whipping out responses and comprehending everything he says. He's not slowing down either. I explain that I had trouble reserving a voiture</span>-lit, and that I want to go to </span> Rome</span> the night of the 17th December. Friday night to Saturday, he says. Yes, I agree. He hits a few keys. A night train, he confirms. Yes, I say. He assumes I want the only extant night train. Smart man.</span> Travelling with a man or a woman? A man.</span> What class is your Europass</span>, he asks. Second, I reply. All youth railpasses</span> are second class. We have voiture-lits</span>, he says, but the problem is that in second class, we only have tourist ones. They're three people to a car, single sex. Or a family.</span> So I need to borrow a child, I muse. Exactly, he answers. I say the problem is that my fiancé-I'm about to continue, but he gets a look on his face. I understand. For the next five minutes I watch a flurry of French activity. He tries everything. He finally says there are voiture-lits</span> for two, but they're in first class. The fee to reserve them is 395 francs per person. Per person. Yes. And you'd have to buy a first-class supplement to your pass. I wince. He pauses. Do you know what sleeping cars are like? No, not really, I admit. He produces the super-cool binder of all the European trains and their toys. I get a crash course in how to sleep while travelling on a train. We finally decide that on our limited budget, it's going to be easiest to go with couchettes, which are 6 to a room, mixed gender, total strangers, but Matt can sleep. He goes to reserve. He mutters. He tries seven or eight different things. He turns to me. There's a problem. He turns his monitor so I can see. It flickers and goes all purple. I react. He says it's normal. I say it's not normal at all. He says no, really, and flicks it with his finger. It returns to normal. He shows me where the column with voiture-lits</span> is, the couchettes column, all that. There are these letters and question marks under them. I say what does that mean? He explains that the computer's confused. He can't reserve, even. I say why not. He picks up the phone. I'll check with </span> Switzerland</span> . It's a Swiss train. He chats with the guy on the other end. He turns back to me. The Swiss have put some sort of embargo on reservations from other countries. What? Why? They're Swiss. It might work tomorrow. Listen, I say. I have these other trajets</span>. Will I have this sort of trouble with all of them? No, he says. We usually don't have trouble with </span> Spain</span> . </span> Italy</span> ? Yes. Especially during the season change. Do you know your travel dates? Yes. Bring them in when you come back and we'll do them all here. Good. What do I do now? You call and see whether reservations can be made. Here's the number. I leave, bemused to say the least. </span>

18 November</span>

No luck yet on the tickets. Tuesday they were on grève</span>, which is what French professionals do when they get bored, I guess. Today, no answer at the station.</span> Tomorrow, maybe…The day passes quietly. Juliette</span> is gone. I'm forced to cook creatively. Tuesday it was veggie-shrimp spaghetti, Wednesday two pre-bible-study döners</span> (bible Study on Gideon. Pauvre</span> Erin, who got the hideous Hebrew place names for her section to read out loud, and stumbled over them. She didn't get it later when the leader stumbled over the same names, said something to the effect of those are hideous. I'm so sorry. We all laughed. She thought it was at her expense...) and the half-pitcher of Kronenbourg</span> and raspberry syrup I split with Harry while eyeing the garçon</span> at Route 66 and flirting with Benoit, who's a French med student in his first year and came with Harry and Jesse. Today was a potato-tuna-veggie-rice casserole with leftovers for the lazy. I go out with Michelle the evening, drink castillo</span></span> rosé and chat. It's a good day, even if I'm going to be up too late again and Matt goes home for a week tomorrow.</span>

24 November</span>

I crawl out of bed, refusing to accept that the apartment is so cold my nose is forming icicles. I'm supposed to meet Michelle at </span> noon</span> , and I don't want to. We're going to the Gare to get hours for the train to Bonneval-sur-arc</span>, my chosen cute lil</span>' village.</span> I plan to go there and study a couple things, take pictures, go home. I check my e-mail, check ICQ. There's a message from Watson. It turns out to be from Watson's girlfriend, who wants me to send her a postcard. I'm not sure how to take this, or what to write. I mean, it's great that this girl doesn't hate me for being some sort of psycho, but what do you write to your ex-boyfriend's first girlfriend in three years? I note the address, decide to deal with it when my brain thaws out-it is cold in this building-and head out. I hit the cathédrale</span> for a while, act like a Catholic and cross myself, pray at the saints' statues, look</span> at the preparations. The whole place de la cathédrale</span> is full of little wooden boxes, the stands for the Marché de Noël, the Christkindelmarkt</span>, the</span> Christmas Market, which was explained to me as one of the oldest in </span> Europe</span> . It's a big deal. People are prepping their boxes, stringing lights, taking up all the space. I can't wait. The beggar-woman at the cathédrale</span> asks for money. I'm cold and ignore her. I feel French today. </span>

I grab a Döner</span> at the place I always go to. My carte de fidelité</span> is pleine</span>, I get the döner</span> free. Woohoo</span>! The guy hops up when I enter at </span> 11:30</span></span> ,</span> he's been eating lunch with the family. I bonjour, they bonjour, I ça</span> va</span></span>, they ça</span> va</span>. I apologise for disturbing their lunch. They say it's okay. I order my döner</span>, he completes the order for me, says have a seat. I say I've got to get it to go. No problem, he says. Have a seat. I sit. He stuffs a piece of bread into his mouth, starts making the sandwich. I love French hygienic practises. The board of health would hurt these people. I take my döner</span> and go, wander past the New Sex sex</span> shop, hang out outside Michelle's workplace until </span> noon</span> . We faire our bise</span> and head up to the gare</span>. We decide to walk, since it's</span> warm enough to have melted all the snow that used to be all over the city. We hike up to the gare</span> and nip in. I sit down at guichet</span> 15. The guy asks if I'm doing train-hotel. I say no, but the other guy said I could be here. He says fine at last, after a bit more back-and- forthing</span>. I say all I have is a question. Can you make couchette reservations for the Basel-Rome night train? He taps some, says what day? The 17th-18th, I say. Yes, he says. I can. Good, I say. Make them. He does. They cost a little more than I expected, but I can deal with that. It's not too bad, about $22/person. Couchette tickets in hand, I verify five times that I've got the right day, the right train. I hand over my credit card, watch it go through. I'm ecstatic. I decide to try the rest of the trip now that I'm in a good mood.</span>

Bad decision.</span></span> It is crucial to be in a bad mood when one goes to the gare</span> to buy billets for anything. The people at the gare</span>, contrary to the idea that they are there to serve and help, are not actually there to work. They are there to look helpful and block you in every way possible from travelling anywhere. I explain to the nice young lady that I know where I want to go, but that I don't have the horaires</span>. She says, give me the dates and I'll look them up. I give her the dates: </span> Rome</span> to </span> Avignon</span> the 20-21 Dec, </span> Avignon</span></span> to </span> Madrid</span> the 22-23 Dec, </span> Madrid</span></span> to </span> Paris</span> the 28-29 Dec. I figure </span> Paris</span> to </span> Strasbourg</span> I can do later. She writes them down. I read upside-down so I can correct her. She writes them all correctly. She takes them back to a little computer, one of the kind</span> that give me hives, and tappitas</span> for a while. She comes back with schedules. We start with Rome- Avignon</span>. There are two options, she explains, handing me an 8 ½ by 11" sheet of paper. They call it A4 here, which is a name I don't understand at all, but that's irrelevant. I notice the little DB in a box in the upper right hand corner, don't think anything of it. It's later that Michelle and I figure out that it means Deutsche Bahn</span>, the German rail system. That explains why the price unit is DM. I love this. The trip will last approximately </span> 13:25</span> , about what I expected. Option 1 takes me Roma Ostiense</span> to Nice, Nice to </span> Avignon</span></span> . I like that. Option 2 takes me Roma Termini to Milano</span> Centrale</span>, Milano</span> Centrale</span> to Lyon Part Dieu</span>, Lyon</span> Part Dieu</span> to </span> Avignon</span></span> . Plus, it's all day, not all night. I go for option 1. Make the reservations, I say. For two, for couchettes.</span> Do you want couchettes? Yes. I maintain a reasonable tone of voice. I hate repeating myself every time. You need tickets? she</span> asks. We have Europasses</span>, I say. You just need the reservation, then, she says. I said reservation, didn't I? I agree with her. She tries it. I can't, she says. You can't. Now it's me repeating her words. No, she says. I can't. You'll have to go to </span> Italy</span> to do that. </span> Italy</span> . </span> Italy</span> . Why. This is not a question. They're Italian, she says. Right.</span> I'll do that in </span> Italy</span> . </span>

Next train: </span> Avignon</span> to </span> Madrid</span> . There aren't any, she says. I repeat her words, carefully. There aren't any. I refrain from mentioning that there is no way that trains can go into </span> Avignon</span></span> and out of </span> Madrid</span> and not do the inverse, and that they must meet somewhere. I don't feel like arguing with this woman. I simply stare stupidly at her for a long moment. She stares back with the patented French- gare</span>-worker stare, which says "I'm doing everything I can for you, and it's not my fault you didn't know what train you wanted when you came in, and don't give me that there must be a train between these two cities shit, because there isn't." I say not even one that changes somewhere? I'm hoping it's like the Strasbourg-Rome story. Non</span>, she repeats without even looking back at the computer, aucun</span>. I still don't believe her.</span>

Next train: </span> Madrid</span> to </span> Paris</span> . I have another Deutsche Bahn</span> A4 printout, and a little ticket-sized SNCF printout. The SNCF printout is the Talgo</span>. This is a fabulously expensive hotel-train that goes direct from </span> Madrid</span> to </span> Paris</span> in 13 hours, and will cost 395F each, on top of the Europass</span>. For-get it. She says you've got these two trains. The first thing I notice is that she's printed out the wrong date. I wanted to go the 28th, I say, and this is the 22nd. She checks. It still works, she says. The second thing I notice is that the duration for voyage 1 is 31 hours, and the duration for voyage 2 is 26 hours. This seems strange to me. I mutter about how long it is. She doesn't get the hint. Shall I make those reservations for you, she asks. Non</span>, I say, pas encore. I have to talk about it with my fiancé. I understand, she says. I take the horaires</span>. Thank you, I say. The pleasure's mine, she says. I mutter. She smiles. I walk off. It's only </span> 1 PM</span> . We decide to take the tram out to Auchan</span> (last night, Michelle taught me how to spell Auchan</span>, and I'm thrilled to pieces), to find an answering machine. We go down to the tram stop. They're on grève</span> today. Apparently, this happens often enough that there's a special picture for the monitor. The bus and tram people are on grève</span>, and there's no bus and no tram. We walk back to BCA. I tell my story, examine for the first time the itinerary I was given for the Madrid-Paris trip, and realise why it's so long. The itinerary is reproduced below, for convenience:</span>

Voyage 1
Voyage 2
Madrid - Atocha
9:00
9:00
Valencia Estacio d.N
Ar
12:35
12:35
Valencia Estacio d.N
13:10
13:10
Figueras
Ar
18:14
18:14
Figueras
22:17
22:17
Lausanne
Ar
||
6:41
Lausanne
||
7:41
Torino Porta Susa
Ar
7:30
||
Torino Porta Susa
10:43
||
Paris - Lyon
Ar
16:11
11:10
Durée
31h 11m
26h 10m

Out come the Michelin Guides Vertes</span> for </span> France</span> , </span> Spain</span> , and </span> Europe</span> . I know without looking that </span> Lausanne</span> is in </span> Switzerland</span> , and that Figueras</span> is not in </span> France</span> , wherever it may be. Torino</span> Porta</span> Susa</span> sounds Italian, and I am having a hard time believing that this is all real. I start looking. I finally find all of the cities, and can't believe what I'm seeing.</span>

Geographically, it makes sense to go from </span> Madrid</span> (central </span> Spain</span> ) to </span> Valencia</span> (eastern coast, slightly south of </span> Madrid</span> ) as a first leg. I understand that. I understand that it's faster to go around the Pyrenées</span> than over them. What I would next expect would be going through </span> Barcelona</span> to </span> Paris</span> . No. The train crosses back to the other side of the country. After searching diligently, I find Figueras</span>. It's a little nowhere town on the north coast of </span> Spain</span> . After nine hours of train ride, not only am I still in Spain, I've completely traversed the country one and a half times, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if the train from Valencia to Figueras</span> goes through Madrid, since Valencia is east and slightly south, and Figueras</span> is north and slightly west of Madrid. I have a five-hour layover in Figueras</span>, which hardly even warrants a paragraph in Michelin, and that as a possible side trip from some other city, and that only if you're bored, and then I get on a train again. Option 1: I then go to Torino</span> Porta</span> Susa</span>, which (my suspicions confirmed) is in </span> Italy</span> . I then go from </span> Italy</span> to </span> Paris</span> . Apparently, Spanish trains don't stop in </span> France</span> . Option 2: I then go to </span> Lausanne</span> , which is in </span> Switzerland</span> , and a hefty train ride (says Michelle) from </span> Strasbourg</span> even. I then go to </span> Paris</span> . Every one of the little trains requires a supplement. I can't believe this is going on. </span>

All I can think is that it takes less than twenty-six hours to go from </span> London</span> to </span> Prague</span> , and I'm supposed to take this long to go to </span> Paris</span> from </span> Madrid</span> . I'm bewildered. I go to class, cut out early as always, take a test in Provincial Cultural Studies, discuss</span> the art of the table. There are more rules for how to put things, and they're different from in the States. Like the direction the fork goes. And if you're a vegetarian, don't accept invitations, because it's terribly grave to refuse anything you're offered. It's a mess. I can't believe they care this much. But it's only formal dinners, which, she advises us, it is wise to not eat anything the day before so that you can eat enough at the dinner. </span>

Class ends, we take off, I smoke a Marlboro on the way to meet Ko</span> with Erin and Christy, smoke another on the way up to the highway. Ko</span> nearly has apoplexy at the sight of me with a cigarette. I don't plan to make it a habit, but I think I'll get lung cancer from the second-hand smoke if I spend any more time in bars anyway, so I might as well get some of the thrill. No real buzz, just a non-hungry feeling, and the taste of smoke in my mouth, the smell on my fingers. I don't really get it. Ko</span></span> and I discuss fashion, and what ghetto fabulous means, and skanky</span>, and I learn all about his world, he learns about hard-rock heavy-metal fashion and mine. I leave them at the highway. </span>

I go home, make rice, read a letter from my Matthew which</span> makes the whole day worthwhile, eat dinner (non-inclusive of the rice) and throw the rice in the fridge for another time. I aspirated yesterday, feel clean, read a little of a translated Silverberg and make my way slowly through it. It's hard, but much better than the other was. I hit the net, spend too much time online, and discover the following: There exists a train from </span> Avignon</span></span> to </span> Madrid</span> , and it changes at </span> Barcelona</span> . There is a train from </span> Madrid</span> to </span> Paris</span> that changes at Hendaye</span>. The total travel time is only about 13 or 14 hours. I am vindicated. I call Matt, resolve to pay my phone bill tomorrow if I can find a Poste</span> to pay it at, remember I'm going out tomorrow evening, must put together my exposé over a topic I've not yet chosen for Friday. I wonder, can't think of anything, keep</span> wondering. Thanksgiving dinner followed by Kate's birthday, means I have to come up with something by 1600. I type out my journal, realise it's 2 AM, check my tickets encore to make sure they're the right day, realise that the SNCF has a website, wonder if maybe, just maybe I could do my reservations there, and head off to bed.</span>

 </span></p> </div>

now feeling:: nostalgic nostalgic

2 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word
Comments
goddesspsyche From: goddesspsyche Date: August 1st, 2003 02:10 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Yay, someone else who realizes that France really is an awesome country, even if politically I don't agree with them.
waifofthenorth From: waifofthenorth Date: August 1st, 2003 07:31 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
"Hooray for messed up traveling stories!" Says the girl who likes stories.
2 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word