The alarm went off today, my big day of travel, as it does every morning — much too early. I will never understand why I am not a morning person, but it is a severe handicap on my part, having to live in a world where people require you to have half of your day finished by noon. So, I stayed in bed until seven twenty-five.
When I was finally up, I wasn’t very hungry and had only a half hour to leave, so I ate a few bites of stale Cheerios before straightening up the apartment. With that finished, I put my dried jeans in my bag and headed off for the train.
I reached Gare du Nord in plenty of time, but only to find that the ticket office of the RER was not yet open for some reason, so I had to go to one of the self-service machines, which are, honestly, retarded. The ticket to the airport is ridiculously overpriced at 8€40, and the machines don’t accept paper money. I don’t know about you, but I don’t regularly carry around eight dollars in change, so, I had to wander around the massive complex for a while until I came across an open window. With ticket in hand, I quickly found the train, hopped on and had a pleasant half hour trip to the Charles de Gaulle airport. It always surprises me how smooth the RER is after riding the bumpy Metro, which seems as if it is out to kill.
I enjoyed the ride, too, because it was neat to see the tiny villages outside of Paris. I had never thought of going to see them, and now I have the smallest regret in not seeing small town life, but, oh well. It’s not as if it would have been overly entertaining, I’m sure.
Soon, the train pulled to a graceful halt inside the airport’s train station and all the passengers hopped aboard the escalator, only to try and push everybody else out of the way on their mad dash to catch their planes.
I was very surprised by how easy it was to find Terminal 2F. I had assured myself and assumed that it would be difficult to track down this singular spot in the massive monster of a building, so I was rather relieved. The self check-in was simple too. I just popped in my passport and it had me verify my destination. With that, it wished me happy travels and printed my boarding pass. I was tickled by how smooth and easy it was. I remember leaving for Paris when that stupid machine wouldn’t work for Mother, very frustrating. The check-in machine didn’t print my return ticket, though, so I assume I’ll have to do that on Monday.
The next hurdle to leap was security. I stumbled upon a line that nobody was using, so, I took advantage of that and pushed my things through. Going through the metal detector set me off and everybody began to think that I was a very white, American, terrorist. I wasn’t transporting any liquids, toothpaste, or worse, nail clippers, so I had no idea why I had angrily set off the alarm. That was, until I realized what pants I was wearing — the accursed Old Navy Jeans. For some reason, whenever I wear these pants they set off alarms in stores. I can’t leave Barnes & Nobles without setting off the stupid thing. It is very frustrating. So, after being roughly frisked, I was cleared for boarding.
I made my way to Gate 30, where I had an hour to wait. I sat there for probably thirty minutes, working on some documents, before I looked up and noticed that the sign said that Gate 30 was going to Marseilles. My ticket to Nice also said Gate 30. So, I had to go ask what the issue was. My gate had been changed to 26 for some reason. They also hadn’t bothered to tell anybody.
So, I grabbed my bags and made my way down to Gate 26. On my way there, I saw my first Kindle 2 and salivated with jealousy. It is so pretty and white and thin and technologically advanced. I have to have one!
After a few minutes, it was time to board. I had the second to last row, which initially annoyed me since that meant I would be the last off, but once I had my seat, I was overjoyed. Nobody else sat down in my row of three! I had three chairs to myself! So, I put up the armrests, crossed my legs, and prepared to enjoy a rather comfortable flight.
I did too, even though we were delayed on the runway for about twenty minutes and during that time the cabin smelled of burning rubber. Soon, though, we had left Earth behind and raced up into the clouds. The clouds were very thick, so, you couldn’t see anything on the ground, so I read some more of my book. After an hour, the clouds had evanesced and I could see something peculiar. It took me a minute to realize that I was looking at the Alps! They were so beautiful with their nonsensical organization and snow capped peaks. In the valleys, you could make out tiny villages, and I wanted nothing more than to go exploring in one of those little places, followed by climbing a mountain — even though I wouldn’t probably survive.
Soon after, the people on the other side of the plane began to “ooh” and “ahh” with excitement. It turns out that the sea was on their side of the plane, and I was wrought with jealousy, they hadn’t seen the mountains though, so I felt vindicated. But, soon, we were flying over the open sea and I could see the marvelously blue water for myself. At one point, I thought we were about to crash into the ocean, sparking my subconscious fears, but the runway starts at the ocean’s edge, and we were soon safe on land, even if the landing was rough and whiplash inducing.
The sun was blinding as I exited the airport and there were palm trees everywhere. I stripped off my jacket in able to better appreciate the sun. It was so nice to be away from the constant clouds and rain and lack of sun that seems to linger in Paris. I was quickly at the buses, but was rather annoyed by them. They weren’t the buses advertised on the airport’s website. I was supposed to take the 23 public bus for 1€, but those were gone, only to be replaced by private buses at the cost of 4€. I was bothered, but what was I supposed to do? I waited for twenty minutes before the bus came and eagerly hopped on.
The driver took off soon after to Terminal 1, where he waited for awhile, before grabbing his coat and leaving the bus running with only me in it. I sat there for probably fifteen minutes as the bus burned up its petrol. He finally came back, and took off for the train station. It was a beautiful ride along the sea. It was so blue. The water here is so exceptionally clear compared to the oceans of home, even the Gulf of Mexico. It looks more like the Caribbean, even though I’ve never been there, but from the pictures I’ve seen, it seems pretty comparable.
As we drove along, I saw the hotel I had stayed at with Ma when we were here two years ago and the spot where a dirty beggar had yelled at me and the sex shops we had walked by. Then, finally, we were at the dilapidated old train station. Once inside, I had no problem getting a reasonably priced ticket for only 1€50. The ticket had no dock assignment, so, I had no idea if I had to go to Voie A, B, C, D, E, F, or G. I asked some people, but they didn’t know. I finally found an employee and she told me I needed E.
The train came and I was quickly in beautiful Villefranche-sur-Mer. This place is astonishingly good-looking. It’s no wonder that the Côte d’Azur is one of the dream vacation destinations for people all around the world — it’s perfect and still feels as if it were in the 1940s. That is great, but I still can’t find a grocery store, which only annoys me slightly.
I stood around the bay for awhile soaking up the sun and trying to imagine what it would look like when McFarland lived here. I assumed it would look very much the same, just without all the restaurants. My bags were getting heavy, so, I walked along the water’s edge until I found the Hotel Welcome. I was impressed by the Art Deco look and feel of the place and all the artwork done by Jean Cocteau, who I’ve always liked. It turns out he used to live in this hotel, which I found unceasingly fascinating.
I stood around for about ten minutes before anybody showed up to check me in, which irritated me. Finally, a woman appeared and upon realizing who I was, began to gently tease me about all the emails mother had sent with various questions. I hadn’t liked the woman on first seeing her, but this solidified my opinion. Then, she wouldn’t let me have any documents in English because I needed to practice my French according to her. I knew this was just more teasing, but after traveling all day, I was in no mood for this crap, so I made my answers as brief as I could, and before long I had my key. The key was ridiculous, it has a giant iron ball on the end of it and I don’t know why. It wouldn’t fit in my pocket, so once up in my room, I forcibly slipped the electronic key off of the keyring.
The room was on the very top floor on the sixth floor and has a lovely sweeping view of the whole bay. The room itself is decorated to make it look as if it is in a boat, and it really does! The terrace is lovely, but the ledge is so high, that you can’t see the sea from the bed, just the sky, which is alright.
I went downstairs to use the Internet, but the Wi-Fi wanted information I didn’t have to log on, so I used the provided computer instead. It said it was free for the first ten minutes, but then 2€50 for each additional ten minutes. This annoyed me to no end…there is nothing that irritates or offends me more than charging to use the Internet. I used it quickly to update my Facebook and email and then left the hotel.
When I came here before, it was only for an hour, and I wanted to scout the sights, so I was excited to look around all the streets and such. The streets are very vertical and twisty and old and charming — tiring, but charming. There was an underground walkway for some reason that was very creepy and Pirates of the Caribbean-esque which I enjoyed. Then, graffitied cacti, which were sad looking, but interesting, nonetheless.
I made my way down to the rocky beach and sat down. The warm sun forced me to fall asleep, which I couldn’t help. When I woke up, I realized that I could have been robbed, so, I decided not to do that again. I went back to the hotel for my nap instead and slept until seven.
At that point, I was very hungry and ready for dinner, so I chose a place just behind the hotel that I had seen on my walk. I had ricotta stuffed ravioli with parmesan sauce and it was very good, but there was too much and I felt kind of sick from all the rich cheese.
It took forever to get the check, so, I lounged about reading about Abraham Lincoln on my iPod Kindle application. After some time, I had paid and went back to the hotel where I checked my email.
I watched some shows on TV, then went to bed so that I would be able to wake up in time for breakfast.