Sunday, 21 December 2014

Day XIII, Part II: Abandoning my Seagull (Saint Malo to Paris to CDG)

Play THIS SONG when you read this post and look at the pictures. That should explain the mood I'm in.   It is the day on which I have to leave this place. Again.
The evolution of man?

10:30 am. Because of the vicinity of Christmas, the supermarket is (as an exception) open today, Sunday.  I make use of that to buy a demi-bouteille de Rose (OK, 2 demi-bouteilles, but one is for the train ride ;-)

My train will leave at 12:15; My seagull sits on the railing again, looking at me with that look.

Even after I have fed it the last of myleft-over food, it doesn't leave.

I take two last pictures of the beach, and even refuse to go down there again (What's the point?; I'd just want to stay).

I take one last sad look back at Seagull, assuring it that I will be back when it has grown up a bit.

I will miss this bird !

I go down to reception, check out (my credit card miraculously works; oh right; they gave me a leniency period until Tuesday), and walk the 14 minute walk to the train station.  A note to wine drinkers:  Avoid sipping just before departure and then walking in cold weather.  I make it to les toilettes at the train station just in time!

Having my mind no longer occupied by my bladder, I finally notice what’s in my pant’s pocket.  I have taken my room key with me and no-one has noticed.  Not enough time to go back to the hotel.  Now the fact that my French cell phone from June 2013 still works pays off big time ! (Thank you Orange Mobile ;-). The hotel’s phone number is on the key and with my usual French/English Pidgin lingo, I tell them that I am chambre deux cent quinze and that I still have le cle de la chambre in my pocket.  They are quite non-aggravated by this and agree to my plan of mailing the key to them from Paris tomorrow.  

As soon as I’m in my train seat, I fall asleep again and don’t wake until Rennes, where the train stops for a few minutes. 
Every minute takes me further away from Saint Malo and I’m already thinking how I could find my way back there again.  Where’s a will, there’s a way, they say.  Yesterday I already thought about the most prudent ways to improve my almost non-existing French.  There must be some French classes available in Vancouver.  Maybe if I spoke French I would uncover the unpleasant sides of Saint Malo and I would not like it anymore?  Let’s not kid ourselves, it is much more likely that I would just REFUSE to EVER LEAVE AGAIN if I spoke the language !

 My train ends at Gare Montparnasse and I take the Metro to Gare de Chatelet - Les Halles. 

Believe it or not, this is the LARGEST Underground station in the world. 750,000 people pass through here every workday (!!) and there are some shady characters visible on the security monitors.  
For example, WHAT is this guy DOING?

I'm fortunate to get there 3 minutes before an express train (Look for RER B) leaves for Charles de Gaulle Airport. 
Note: I had read somewhere that one needs a 6 zone metro ticket for this trip.  By accident, I bought six 1-zone tickets.  I warily swipe one ticket to get to the trains, hope for the best during the journey, and experience a moment of panic at CDG airport, because here one actually has to swipe one's ticket to get OUT of the system (everywhere else one only has to swipe to get INTO the system).   For a moment I imagine that the gates won't let me out unless I swipe a 6-zone ticket, but when I insert one 1-zone ticket (it might have been the same one that I swiped to get in), the gates open and release me from the system.  So take it from the cheap horse's mouth:  1 or 2 SINGLE Metro tickets got me from central Paris to CDG!
Hotel Ghetto in Roissy
I go for dinner at Campanile Restaurant, a place in the HOTEL GHETTO of Roissy close to CDG.  I ward off the person seating me with the usual "Je ne parles pas de Francais", and he just smiles at me a gorgeous smile and asks "Mais pourquoi Non?". 

Not the first time I hear that reply.  The funny thing is: I'm starting to agree with them;  BUT WHY NOT ?  

Their sometimes odd English would only be part for learning the language ;-) 

I order a burger.  Live and Learn ;-)  I had ordered my burger with Basmati rice.  The Basmati tastes divine.  So does the Burger; maybe because it's cooked medium rare (yes, you read that correctly, but rest assured, the French are very particular about their beef. In the supermarket a sign will tell you where exactly the cow lived that you're going to eat). The patty does not rest upon even a single minuscule piece of pickle, tomato, lettuce,  relish, mayonnaise, or ANYTHING that you'd expect under or over a burger patty, but IT DOES have a piece of STINKY CHEESE on top.  And the whole combo goes down rather well, but that probably is also due to the demi-litre of Rose that accompanies it ;-)  Then I discover it has another piece of STINKY CHEESE below it.  

No humans were harmed in the cutting of this cheese (not my pic)
It's a CHEESEBURGER, but unlike any cheeseburger I've ever seen or eaten !  
But it's GOOOOOD!  
Unfortunately I can smell the cheese when I break wind the next morning ;-(

The demi-litre is having its effect and I stumble back to my hotel to find my room and my bed. 

 Bon nuit, tout le monde !

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