I made it out of Paris with Al and Kate but not before seeing an African albino in a Monoprix shopping centre. He looked a bit like Harpo but with a bigger nose. Weird but cool.
The three of us took a speedy train to Bordeaux which only took 3 hours. We downed a few bottles of low-alcohol cider and munched on lollies, arriving on a sugar high. The rush was required in order for me to carry my 3 tonne bag from the station to Al’s share house without passing out from exhaustion, as I’d already lugged it around Paris trying to find their hotel and then to the train station.
Bordeaux’s a student town and it has a much more relaxed atmosphere than Paris, probably due to the abundance of young adults and the lack of tourists who seem to fill all the Parisien restaurants. We spent the evening relaxing on the banks of the Garonne and listened to Clemént (I think it’s spelt), one of Al’s housemates, playing guitar and singing songs in English, French and even Japanese.
Our little trio took time out for lunch the following day as none of us had had a proper sit-down meal since being in the country. I managed to fluke myself a nice turkey curry (odd, I know) even though it was overpriced like everything else around there. Al suggested we get some chips to share so I bravely went off to order some from the most popular kebab shop in town. Eight people pushed in front of me and the staff working there didn’t really care, then ignored my order of large chips and gave me a kebab with chips in it (which is common in these parts). Too frustrated and impatient and lacking in French linguistical ability to argue, I returned to our table with my head down and tail between my legs before cutting the chip-kebab in half and sharing it with Al.
That night Jibby arrived on a delayed train and brought some violent rain with her. We walked back in the soaking rain, arriving back at the house looking like four drowned rats. I looked more like a drowned rat in extreme agony, as I had previously drank about 600mL of Yop, a yoghurt drink, in about 2 minutes and it didn’t want to sit peacefully in my stomach. It took about an hour in the bathroom and two rolls of toilet paper before I’d recovered enough to be able to return to the lounge room.
The next day I was feeling rejuvenated enough to participate in the organising of our train tickets to Nice. We wanted to have everything sorted out before the party that was being held that evening (Saturday). God knows how many people showed up, but I’ve never seen so many individuals crammed into a house! I don’t know how I ended up doing it (it was probably the beer) but I managed to mingle with the partygoers until the wee hours of the morning when I finally got too tired to attempt speaking in slow, clear and concise English and went to bed.
Sunday was (as is the tradition) a day of rest. We spent most of our day bumming around waiting for the Brazil vs Australia game in the world cup. There were some outdoor restaurants set up down the road, housed in tents, with big screen televisions broadcasting the games so we went to one called The Frog and Rosbif (“rosbif” is apparently a French bastardisation of “roast beef” applied to the English, in the same way we call them “poms”). One of Al’s friends was working there, a guy called John. We chatted to him for a while but we couldn’t get any free or cheap beer so we decided to leave not long after Australia lost.
On the way back we were confronted by a proud Brazilian draped in his national flag (there seems to be a lot of them around France at the moment) who laughed at us when we told him we were Australian then ran off, singing to himself. That night I had a horrible sleep due to the army of mosquitoes that decided to pillage my ankles but I didn’t really mind as I knew I’d need to be tired if I was going to get any sleep on the night train to Nice the following evening.
The night train was certainly interesting. We had food with us to eat and kill some time as it wound its way slowly to the south east of the country. I eventually dozed off but awoke when it was reported that the train had broken down and that it’d take an hour or two to repair. The four of us sat at the train station we’d pulled up at and ate biscuits while we drank cheap sangria after I walked barefoot onto jagged rocks and a bit of train roadkill (wait for the photo). Eventually we got back underway and I managed to sleep in the most uncomfortable positions imaginable for the remainder of the trip until we pulled up in Nice at 10am the following morning.