Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Travel is Hell; Let's Stay Home and Watch TV!

When we got home from sailing to the Bahamas and back, I was tired. All I wanted to do was stay put and watch the Travel Channel. I should have listened to my instinct!

But no. A whole bunch of little gremlins conspired to make me leap up from a sensible nap on the sofa and suffer through a long overseas flight, headed for  La France:

1) We don't get the Travel Channel.
2) Pope had agreed to go to Europe with me the following year if I stuck with him on the boat; I knew there would not be a second chance.
3) I had always wanted to learn French better, one of my biggest failures to date. I even brought one book with me.
4) I had not seen my friend in France for 18 years.
5) There is no other place in the world to get proper croissantes amandes.

Today, I have an equally long list of gremlins conspiring to drive me out of the land of foie gras and escargot and onto a train for England:

1) Foie gras, produced by cramming a foot-long metal tube down the duck's  gullet to engorge its liver with corn. In contrast, when I saw peaceful, content ("free-range") ducks on the island of Jersey, I wanted to stay.

2) Failure (again) to learn the language. On the ferry returning from English-speaking Jersey, my stomach got tied up in knots in anticipation of returning to the prison of non-comprehension.
3) Getting off the ferry in Saint Malo, every passenger got into a car or tour bus except Pope and me, and an English couple. Not a single taxi showed up for the next 45 minutes. Nor a city bus. The terminal was Deserted with a capital D. Where else in the world would you NOT have taxi drivers meeting every plane, train, bus, or boat, clamoring for your business? It was 9 pm, not 2 am. How did they know there would only be four passengers in need of a lift?
4) The four of us walked the three kilometers--Pope and me with a broken foot, mildly sprained ankle (Pope), two inflamed and painful Morton's neuromas (nerve damage in the forefoot), and 80 pounds of luggage. Ouch.
4) After that horrible walk, in need of a sandwich and a beer, we found the city of Sait Malo equally deserted, dismal, dead as a doornail, closed up tight--on a Tuesday night at 10 pm, despite the fact that most hotels and AirBnB apartments were fully booked when I tried to reserve. What gives??? This is supposedly a tourist trap!
5) Finally arriving at our hotel, where I knew reception would be closed, we struggled for 10 minutes getting the door code to work...while two men sitting on the other side of the glass door TOTALLY IGNORED US! Or, to be completey accurate, they did not look up, acknowledge us, or open the door. I had to restrain Pope from punching them when we finally got in.
5) Both of our iPhones are kaput from software issues--maybe due to French wifi? Pope's bit the dust today after calling our hotel (thank our lucky stars!). Nothing can be accomplished in France without calling ahead, and there are no pay phones. (If I had not called ahead to the hotel--which doesn't use email--we would have been locked out of our room tonight.)

I'll sleep on it tonight--since there's nothing else in this town to do!--and in the morning consider again whether to take a loss on our many deposits and head to a friendlier venue.

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