Popping the Bubble

April 16, 2012

For as magical and the first two weeks of my trip has been (great food, wonderful weather, hardly any problems) arriving in Lyon was the opposite. It starts when leaving Obernai. I had been doing some mental calculations and I knew that I was getting close to needing to transfer some money around. I figured no problem. I would do it Sunday morning.

I login to my account and it says, “BECU is conducting maintenance on its website until 3:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Online banking it not available at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience.” 3 a.m. was noon my time. Which was two hours after I need to check out and catch my train. I say a few (okay, many, many) swear words not suitable for print and run through the different scenarios in my head. I ultimately decide that I will just go downstairs, hand him my debit card, and hope for the best. Then, if I need to, I will try to explain the situation with my bank. In English. Thankfully, my mental calculations were off and I had plenty of cash in my account.

My train is a regional train (about five stops before Lyon; the leg from Strasbourg to Lyon took about 4 hours) and I was stuck in the little tiny vestibule that seats 8 people, has two sets of sliding doors, and is located right before the bathrooms and the bar car. Needless to say, there were a lot of people walking back and forth.

I arrive in Lyon, after about 7 hours of travel, I step onto the platform and it is pouring down rain. More than half the train are departing from it and about that many people are rushing to get on and to get out of the tsunami. It is a crowded, wet, mess.

My hosts in Lyon had told me if I hurried I could catch the 5:10 bus to their place. I shuffle and push my way to the entrance and I have about 5 minutes to catch the bus. I sprint in the rain (with my rolling bag behind me) to the stop, which was about 50 meters from the station. I get there, I pull out my phone and look at the email again. And I realize that I was on the wrong side of the street. I look up just in time to see my bus pulling away from the stop.

I walk in the rain (mind you, it is still pouring. Not like the rain in Seattle. This was a deluge and I stupidly were wearing my nice shoes) until I spot a taxi, wave him down and get in. I ask him if he spoke English. No. I show him my handwritten address. He looks confused. I show him my iPhone next. He stares at it for a while and then he said, “Ah, rue Laurent Carle!” And we are off.

I devour the other half of my sandwich from lunch with a few crackers. I change clothes. And pull out my rainproof, REI jacket, which had been in my suitcase the entire time until now. And I decide to walk out to the grocery store and get some supplies (my place in Lyon is a mother-in-law apartment) for snacking and breakfast. The grocery store is about a half mile away. It is still pouring down rain. My glasses are a complete mess. My shoes are soaked. And I am unbelievably cold. And the wind was blowing like nothing else.

Welcome to Lyon.

I make it to the supermarché. And it is dark. And it is closed. It closes on Sundays at 12:30. More obscenities were said. And again, not fit for print.

I am dejected. I walk back. I make some tea. I strip out of my wet clothes. I pull out my iPhone and check the weather — partly cloudy on Tuesday and Wednesday.


One comment

  1. You would have thought that day to have been Friday the 13th!! Good lord!! Now continue on with a great trip.

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