Friday, April 16, 2010

All the forces in the universe are trying to stop me from going to Madrid

And they may succeed. The flight was cancelled due to volcanic eruptions in Iceland. So, I decided that it was no big deal and that I could just get a new flight on Sunday and save a little money. No can do, all flights on Ryan Air are cancelled until Tuesday, apparently. Then, I thought maybe a train. The SNCF goes from Paris Austerlitz (one stop on the RER C from me) to Madrid. I could take an overnight train. I went on the website, found a really great fare (103 euros for first class), but it wouldn't let me book it. So, I went to Austerlitz to find an actual person to book it for me, but due to strikes, a million people were there fighting for a spot in the line. There was a five hour wait to talk to a person, and the machines won't take my American credit card. Finally, I decided to go to an SNCF store. There's one in the Marais, so I stopped by two hours before it was supposed to close, but it was closed. Frustrated, I bought some falafel and only finished half of it, then bought a salted butter caramel crepe, which I spilled all over my new coat, washed my coat off at La Fontaine Saint Michel while waiting to meet up with Alexandra, then went to see her perform on a docked boat. She's been taking dance classes recently. It would be better for her if they all spoke French, though - her teacher's American, and it seemed like all the other students were too. I spoke French with the only French girl (who wasn't performing) and she told me parties on boats are very "a la mode" especially if the boat never leaves the side of the river. I didn't understand, but okay. Actually, when I started talking to her, I did the French thing, but in reverse. She was speaking English because that's what Alexandra and I had been speaking, but her English really wasn't very good. Painful, in fact. Every time she opened her mouth, I'd say: "huh?" and every time I said something, she'd ask me to repeat it. So, I just said that we should speak French instead. To me, that's a very Parisian thing to do, but reverse. Typically (especially with tourists), the Parisians will say (not in so many words, but in the way they look and immediately switch to English): "Listen. You're destroying my language. How about we just speak in yours?" So, that's what I did. I was proud!

Tomorrow, I'm going to an SNCF booth the second it opens to try to get this Madrid thing sorted out. I can't believe that a volcano and a strike are keeping me from going to Spain. This just had to happen during my spring break...

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