Thursday, December 23, 2010
For those who thought we were taking a swanky, jetset holiday, about half our Parisian trip felt something like this. Not very Parisian, innit?
Seriously, anyone else here get stranded in the bumfuck blizzard that befuddled Heathrow over the last four days?
I mean, it was bad, but we were not just stranded, no sirree, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. I mean, apparently it snows in Paris on the twelfth of never, but while we were there, it snowed every. Single. Day.
It started when the bus to take us to London didn't show because the lorry on the highway in front of it exploded. I know, I didn't believe it either. From there, we missed our Eurostar train and things went downhill.
Let's just say people lost their wallets, phones died, flights were cancelled and we stayed two days in the middle of nowhere before finally getting a flight (delayed, of course), missing our bus from Bristol, and then staying another night in the airport like refugees.
At one point last night as I was lying on the freezing floor in front of an instant photo booth surrounded by other refugees, buried under a pile of dirty clothes because I was so cold and watching the dust and dirt on the floor swirl in little tornadoes all over my black coat, I completely wondered what I was doing.
So yes, it was a bit of a nonsense, but I have to say, the company made it a joy. I got to meet some deeply treasured old friends after a long time, and got to travel with some new ones.
And Anjuly and Shriya were the best travelling companions a girl could ever ask for. They slept everywhere without complaining, laughed and joked about every little hitch and we all killed time by playing writing games that only nerds like us would understand. It was wonderful.
Anyroad, as apparently the human eye is attracted to graphics and will completely ignore everything I'm actually going to write:
We spent a day at the Louvre, looking at beautiful and bizarre things including a statue of a woman breastfeeding a grown man and learning that the ancient Greeks had long toes and short penises.
We walked along the Seine in the freezing weather, looking for Ile Saint Louis so we could stuff our faces with crepes.
We wandered around the Notre Dame. Anybody else fondly remember the scene in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame where Clopin (Oh! Clopin!) sings about Judge Claude Frollo being judged by "the very eyes of Notre Dame"? Right there, people! Right there!
We did touristy things...
And got invited to an awesome house party where my friend, Marie, celebrated her birthday with mojitos, amazing french food and a house full of great people.
In the end it was pretty damn crazy, but we all kept our heads. Shriya and Anjuly could've broken down and cried, or threw tantrums, or had a fit (certainly the situation was bad enough), but they didn't and we laughed our way through every disaster.
I got to meet with old friends...
And make (squiffy) memories with new ones.
And when we finally, finally made it to Coventry and my cab driver brought me to a stop outside my hostel and I took a breath of the clean, quiet, white countryside, my heart grew still.
"When are ya going home for Christmas?" He asked me, as he counted coins into my palm.
"I'm not," I replied, trying to sound cheery about it. He looked at me pityingly and wished me a Merry Christmas anyway. I got out, stepped into the unblemished snow and walked to my dorm slowly, a smile growing on my face with every step.
For three days, we'd struggled to get back, and here I was, key in hand, come to sleep in my own bed.
I did a little soft shoe in the snow, thought of my amazing mates, and realised that oddly enough, I was sort of home.