Europe: Zurich, trains, Paris
Published 08-14-2009 on my old wordpress blog.

Seat 122, first class, train to Basel, Switzerland, 9:48

I just got accosted by the cops on the train. He blasted me with some German and then said “passport.” I presented it to him, he stared at it for a while, and then he said, “Have a nice day.” and gave it back. Damn cops. Oh, and it’s my brother’s birthday today.

It seems like every day I wake up, I feel more tired. Maybe that’s just because I walked five hundred miles yesterday. Today I’ll probably walk five hundred more. Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to show up at your door. At any rate, I don’t know what I’m going to do in Paris this afternoon. Tomorrow is my attempt to go to the Louvre on a Saturday (I’ll get there early, don’t worry), but today I get there at 2 and have no plans. I guess we’ll see what happens!

Seat 58, carriage 16, TGV train to Paris, 10:48

This is a fancy train. I haven’t got to ride the TGV trains yet, so this is new to me. There’s LED reading lights and 1990s purple and orange and all kinds of automatic doors and magic devices. People are piling in and I got assigned a seat next to another iPod girl. She’s reading an English language book, but is clearly a student and a yuppie. I got my own headphones out. I am going to listen to something awesome for an hour or two. Then I’m going to eat this gruyere sandwich I bought.

TGV, France, 13:42

Hundreds of kilometers an hour across the French countryside and I’m glad I’m not the engineer because all I can think about is declining chemotherapy if I ever got diagnosed with cancer. Who I’d see in my last days. What I’d want from them. A reassurance that they’ll be happy when I’m gone. Where I’d go to breathe my last breath. Out alone by the ocean like a sick animal, preventing the pack from seeing me suffer. Normal people think like this, right?

Room 205, Hotel de Rocroy, Paris, France, 15:07

Holy crap, this is definitely the fanciest hotel room I’ve had. The biggest TV, the most soaps in the bathroom, the nicest colors and design, a little co-driver’s map light sticking out of the wall right by the bed, air conditioning, polished wood desk and bed frame, fancy translucent orange plastic desk chair. Too bad I’m just going to go back outside and have no reason to stay in here all day.

Hotel Rocroy Lounge, Paris, 21:55

I’ve been having a lazy day. I walked around Paris so much the first time that I don’t want to walk here again. I sat in the hotel room and watched an amazing investigative report on the youth in Afghanistan and Palestine. After my conversation with the Palestinian gentleman on the way to the ferry in Rostock, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Mideast. This show mad the point that the best way to end the conflict is through education and nonviolent protest. I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to control my anger if I was a member of the oppressed Palestinians, so if they are capable of this, I am in great awe of them. I think I should do some volunteer work in this area somehow. I’m welcome to suggestions.

After my TV watching, I decided I should go to a concert. I used the interweb to attempt to find concert listings, but the only thing I could find was Blink-182. I saw them once a long time ago and don’t need to again. So, I looked up movies. A student told me I should see a movie in a different language. I already saw Harry Potter with BFF in England, so seeing a secon movie feels a little like not actually being in Europe. But I saw one anyways. In English, but with French subtitles!

I walked over to the metro station and as I was figuring out how to buy a ticket, a young guy came over and sold me two one way tickets, probably at inflated prices, but I wanted to reward his entrepeneurship. I think I spelled that wrong. At any rate, the tickets worked just fine an no cops harrassed me for using them, so I win. On closer inspection, I think he sold me a kid’s ticket at the adult price. Adventure!

I got to my stop and wandered around until I found a street with restaurants on it. I wanted vegetarian kebab, but could only settle for pizza. Horrible pizza. Not good at all.

Th movie theater is in this crazy underground mall. I got there and attempted to buy a ticket (after asking if the movie was in English), but my American, chipless card didn’t work in the fancy ticket machines. So I had to go get one from the dudes behind glass and ended up missing all the previews. Shucks.

I saw “La-Haut” (I even asked for it by this Fench name!), otherwise known as “Up.” I almost cried several times. Several. All movies really do is serve to tell me I’m not healed yet. After all this time. Not healed. If you’ve seen Up, I liked to think I’m a lot like the old guy. No, I should stop talking about this. Just go see it and you’ll probably imagine what I’m talking about. I’m glad I didn’t go to this movie with a date. I went on a date or two to a movie that affected me like this during the first apocalypse. That was probably not fair to my dates. Then again, one of those dates told me she tried to kill herself in front of her ex-boyfriend, so that one was probably fair.

Okay, enough of this nonsense. I’m in Paris in a fancy hotel I paid half price for. Drinking cola and using free Internet in the lobby. Tomorrow, I’m going to eat free breakfast and then spend all day in the Louvre. Tonight, I’m going to clean up and enjoy air conditioning and sort my laundry by smell. I guess I’m glad no girl took this trip with me. Or at least they are.

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Keywords: europe, paris, trains, travel

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