Remember that when last we left our heroine she was on the penultimate leg of her personal Amazing Race. She had a tight five-minute connection in Arras, France or she would not make it to Paris and her flight home.
(No lie–this was the weather: gathering clouds.)
So, that was stressful. On the first train I found a nice conductor who said five minutes was not very much time to catch the next train in that particular train station. Turns out the Arras station is quite large. But he took a personal interest in me and promised to be with me when the train stopped to point me in the right direction. Then, after the stop before mine, in the middle of wheat fields, for no apparent reason the train stopped for three minutes. This reduced my new connection to two minutes. The conductor took out his phone and talked very fast in French. I heard the words “États Unis” and “Charles DeGaulle”, and when he got off the phone he said “Do you have a flight out tonight you are trying to make?”
“No, tomorrow morning.”
“OK, well, you can take the next train to Paris, the metro to the little bus, and the little bus to your airport hotel.”
“I won’t make the TGV?”
“No, I’m sorry. I really tried. They won’t hold the train.”
Great sadness. Three minutes, people. THREE MINUTES.
We pulled into the station three minutes late and the TGV was nowhere in sight. It should have been there for another minute. “Run to platform 8!!” the conductor shouted. “Go down those stairs! FAST!!” (Tense music plays.)
I made it to Platform 8 just as the TGV arrived in the station. Five minutes late. I got on the train and fell apart. SO TIRED OF train station stress!!!
Now I’m in Paris at an airport hotel that is possibly the strangest place I’ve ever stayed. It’s super high tech. For instance, there’s no concierge–I checked in on an iPad in the lobby, and made my own key. Everything in the room is operated by tablet–lights, blinds, TV, temperature. Which is fine until it’s dark, you want to find your phone to check the time and you can’t find your tablet. BECAUSE IT’S DARK! But it has the most expensive sheets, and the thickest towels and the internet is fast. There are, seriously, no exaggeration, eight really nice pillows on the bed. If this is the future, my generation and older are doomed because they just aren’t open to using tech. But for a gique (French for “geek”) like me, it’s fun.
Goodbye French class friends.
Goodbye cool French teacher.
Goodbye Paul’s Bakery. Sniff.
Au revoir, France. (Literally–To the seeing you again, France.)