Friday, March 18, 2011

My next adventure begins

At the moment, I am sitting against a wall in the corner of Gare Montparnasse, a train station in the middle (more or less) of Paris. I left my house yesterday at 2 pm (EST) with Deidra, made it (eventually, despite some train troubles) to 125th St Station in New York, where Mwanzaa's parents picked us up (Deidra lives near JFK).
Flight over was relatively uneventful; I was in a swanky new A380. Since my last 2 trips each required multiple long flights, this jaunt over to Europe seemed downright quick.

(If you're just joining us, quick rundown: I'll be in France and Europe for about 4 months, mostly WWOOFing (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), working for room and board at various places around France, and occasionally taking trips to visit my boyfriend in Berlin, other people I know in other places in Europe, and the odd ultimate tourney with the team I played with in Paris).

I love Paris. I don't have time to go walk around (plus I have my bags, which, despite my best efforts, are pretty bulky), but it's nice to be back after living here for a semester junior year. It still feels pretty familiar; I may have to spend a week or so here (not farming, of course...)

A dilemma while packing was what kind of clothes to bring. Since I'll be mostly on farms, I opted for mostly practical clothes (synthetic t-shirts, hiking pants, etc.) BUt I do hate being in Paris and having all these well-dressed people around, and knowing that I could easily fit in if I had brought other clothes. But again, I overpacked as it is, so that wasn't really an option.

Plan for today: Get to Sam's place in Vendome, hang out, probably fall asleep early. I'll be visiting Sam for a few days, and then I'm off to my first farm (somewhere in Dordogne) on Thursday!

Side note: Apparent recurring theme: my watch band breaking on the first day of a trip. Happened in Africa (repaired it); happened today on the RER into Paris (different part of the watch band). Tant pis.

Part 2
I'm finally at Sam's place. This seemed like it would not be a big deal: 40-minute TGV ride from Paris to Vendome. What I didn't count on was the massive TGV delays due to some sort of "technical accident," such that we sat on the train in Paris for about an hour and a half (getting updates every 20 minutes or so saying we would be departing in "a few minutes." It got to the point where we would all laugh every time they said this; it was actually a kind of nice, collective, good-natured resignation to the fact that we were going to be quite late). We had to stop a few times on the track for unclear reasons, but the worst was when they announced that we were approaching Vendome, and then the train came to a stop (NOT at the station); we found out there was some unclear issue, and we were again stopped on the tracks for about 15 minutes. Finally, I got to the station to find out that the bus I was supposed to take to Sam's wouldn't get there for an hour. Fortunately, Sam got his friend to drive me (only 10-15 mins), and now I am here, showered, somehow a bit awake (lots of napping on the train), and ready to go!

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