Friday, May 15, 2009

using my fav french word...

well yesterday saw another dawn to dusk travel day, beginning at half five when i was woken by my roomates who monopoliwed the bathroom until i left an hour later, thank goodness there was a backup downstairs, until arriving finally at a bit past nine that evening. after the bathroom debacle i walked leisurly like to the train station and remembered to validate my ticket, and got on my train and made it to genova just fine where i had almost two hours of inbetween time. i decided to use that to check and see if i could possible get the nice to montpellier tickets there, instead of upon arriving in nice like i had been told in florence. it turns out i could buy them but it would be a few euro more thn buying them in france, but since there was only half an hour inbetween trains i decided to buy the nice to marsailles ticket ahead of time and boy was i pleased about that. because i got the train to nice just fine, but it was ten minutes late and waited a good long while before taking off, and then even though it was so behind schedule, still paused at the italian boarder for what seemed like forever so two politzia officers could peer into each compartment, searching faces for suspision before moving on. at this point i knew that the train would be very late and so two stops ahead i hauled my backpack down from the overhead storage bin, nearly knocking myself unconsious in the process, and readied my things by the door, preparing for amad dash for some sort of departures board in the nice station.
and still the train lagged and when it finally pulled into the station the corridors were crammed with people desperatly jostling their enormous luggage and pushing to get out the door. i had at this point four minutes before my train was scheduled to depart and not much hope of reaching it in time but i ran out the door and scrambled down the stairs to find signs displaying arrival/departure times and destinations at every set of platforms, and there, right next to where i had just disembarked from my very very late train, was exactly the one i was looking for. so i dashed up the steps accompanied by several other harrwed looking travelers obviously bound for the same place, and mananged to make the trainwith over two minutes to spare, though i spent the first hour seated next to a rotund elderly chap who insisted on coughing, sneezing, breathing loudly through his mouth and producing projectiles of spit, at fairly regular intervals. thankfully when a forward facing seat became available he moved, as i am unsure i would have survived the entire journey next to such a pungent health hazard. unfortunatly this train appeared to be running a bit behing schedule as well as it was almost seven and it was still no where near my station, and to top it all it had grown dark and begun to rain and i was wearing flip flops and my rainjacket was foolishly located near the bottem of my bag.
and when the train finally meandered it's way into the station it was rather seriously pouring and i had four minutes before the only train of the evening was scheduled to depart for montpellier qnd i was in the furthest train car from the station and had to walk towards the covered safety of the station getting steadily soaked and terrified that i was missing my only connection, only to realize that there were just three ticket windows open and an impossibly long line ahead of me. well what could i do but try,or cry or both.but i decided an attemt was a good way to stave of stranded panic, and i was slightly heartened to discover the train was delayed by ten minutes, and thankfully reached an available ticket seller after much nervous toe tapping and knuckle popping to discover that the hour and a half journey cost as much as the entire florence to nice leg but again, as there was not really another option i bought my ticket and again dashed against time to the train minutes before it left the station. thankfully i had two seats and was able to lay my pack down and zip it open in order to have more room to dig in the bottem for my raincoat, sneakers, socks and another sweater which i was so very thankful for upon FINALLY reaching montpellier where the rain was still determined not to relent.
i bought a phone card to call suzanne (who i was set to stay with here) since the payphones don't accept change, and got directions but unfortunatly ended up on a bus instead of a tram (but it was blue with birds and said mosson as it's destination and remember i had been awake and going full out since six or earlier and it was now nine thirty) and ended up in completely the wrong place and began to wak back towards where i believed the train station to be, looking for a phone on which to call suzanne, and getting soaked and a bit distressed, and i felt so terrible for getting lost but really not to suprised. if it is possible to, i will, seems to be a rule with this journey. and i found a phone box and called but it was difficult to get directions without knowing where i was and there were no street signs and i asked a man passing by what street i was on but he only spoke french. so i gave him the phone and he spoke to suzanne with alarming rapidity and it was determined that he would point me in the direction of the station and she would meet me there. and he was so sweet, and walked with me instead of just showing me the way, holding his umbrella up over my head even though he was quite a bit shorter and had to fully extend his arm to do so. and he asked my name and i told him and he nodded his head gravely and replied that he was called armond, or at least i think that is what he said. and we spoke, mostly through hand gestures, about the rain; and he said i should call me if i got lost again and we parted ways when i could see the station up ahead. and i met suzanne and it was al fine. but really i couldn't help but marvel at how kind and helpful a stranger was, and after everyone griped in hostels about the rudeness of the french, i found the exact opposite. so thank you armond for rescuing me. i probubly looked like a drown cat on the verge of tears. i suppose i would have stopped and helped me to.
ps. the french word i found myself muttering all day, begins with an 'm' and is not merci nor is it at all polite.

1 comment:

  1. random acts of kindness are the fabric of life that binds us all together jj