Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the merde hitting the fan

Sorry for the delay in posting! This past weekend and the mad mess that immediately followed have left me completely zapped of energy. I know you want to hear all about Le Cordon Bleu and I want to tell you all about it. But first, I'm going to start with a mini rant.

I just have to laugh when I think about how I used to miss using public transportation. When I moved to France I was actually looking forward to using it. Then, as you well remember, I was immediately greeted with a transportation strike in Lyon. Create a crazy scenario concerning planes, trains, and automobiles and, I promise you, I've experienced it during this program. Buses will say they make certain stops when they don't. The first time I was at the halfway point between Lyon and Trévoux I had to talk to four people before I found out that the bus I wanted no longer stopped where it said it was. Oh no, I had to cross the bridge and catch it on the other side. In another town. I can't tell you the number of times I ran full speed across that bridge, caught the bus by flailing my arms frantically on the bridge, or lost my shoe Cinderella style en-route to said bridge. Or in Bourg-en-Bresse you just "have to know" to stand in this certain unmarked spot in hopes that your bus will show up. The French transportation system... it's not pretty! And I got a full dose of just how dysfunctional it is last Friday on my to Paris.

I woke up around 5:30 am to catch the very first bus out of Trévoux. I waited... and waited... and waited... It just didn't show up! So I had to run up the hill to the Bomb Shelter to exchange my ticket online because it was absolutely impossible for me to catch my train from Lyon to Paris. I give myself some time and book the 9:46, thinking when I get to Lyon on time at 8:15 I'll just exchange my ticket again for the one at 8:46. Bus #2 comes around and I take it to a different halfway point where I can take a fast regional train into Lyon. And as luck would have it... there was a strike. The next train to Lyon wasn't coming until 8:45, which would put me in at 9:15. Good thing I booked the later ticket! Well, at 9:10 the train finally arrives and I spent the entire half hour ride giving myself a motivational speech that I could get my ticket out of the machine and board the train with only 6 minutes. Not three minutes outside of my station, our train gets stopped in a tunnel. Great. At this point I'm thinking I won't even be able to exchange my ticket because it will have already left by the time I got there...

I got off at the station with two minutes to go till my train left for Paris. I race upstairs and print off my ticket with one minute to go. Then I look up at the timetable. My train was still there... But where is there? It didn't say what platform it was on! In a total panic, I scoured out which train was the longest and went racing down the escalator, my bags flying everywhere, practically running into the conductors, and frantically asked, "Is this the train to Paris?!?!" It was! They told me to get on immediately! And then... we had a ten minute delay. That would have been nice to know!

I met Sarah in Paris and a minute later we had made it on the next train to Versailles. We dropped our bags off at the Chauchat's and then turned around to go back... to Le Cordon Bleu.

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