Monday, January 5, 2009

Taking the crazy train home along the French Riviera (12/31/08)

Our last day in Nice was rainy and cold. Despite the weather, Chris & I went for a walk on the beach after breakfast and collected more sea glass. He also found a marble and a ceramic bead for me.

We met up with his parents for lunch at Le Bistro. We wanted to get the plat du jour, which was steak with gorganzola cheese sauce and potatoes. Since we got to the restaurant later (1:30pm), they were out of the special. David and I ordered steak and french fries with onion soup, Carolyn and a salade nicoise, and Chris the carpaccio (he really wanted to see what the fuss was about). The food was good, but we were disappointed about not getting the special.

We went back to the condo to pack, and Jean was nice enough to pick us up and give us a ride to the train station. Getting there an hour early was no advantage to us. After waiting for about 20 minutes, the trains started showing delays, and eventually, ours was also delayed "indefinitely". They announced over the intercom that there was an electrical outage in Abergine that was affecting all trains heading West. We sat in the waiting room, thinking that we may end up having our New Year's celebration at the station this year.

A track was announced for our train later, but the boards still said delayed. Chris figured it would be better to go sit on the train instead of the waiting room. We were on the train with two other guys, one guy was quite drunk, the other just smiled.

We figured we had time to kill, so we started playing Hearts. Afer a few games, a crowd of people started running like mad to our train and hopping on board. They took whatever seats they could find. We had asigned seats since we had first class tickets, but everyone else just took what they could. We couldn't figure what was going on. Chris was worried that they had changed the train, but when he asked the others who were on board, they all said we were heading in the right direction.

The announcement said that we would be leaving soon, and everyone cheered. There was a group of teenagers in the back of our train car acting up and playing in the bathroom.

The next announcement said we were waiting on the police. We couldn't figure out what was going on, but we were ready to get home. We were already an hour and a half behind schedule, and we had not had dinner yet.

The police hopped on and continually walked up and down the train. They seemed to be looking for something or someone.

The train started moving and everyone cheered again. It was crawling, and stopped off and on with announcements for people to stay away from the doors, and to stay in their seats. It seemed to take forever to even get to our first real stop.

The rest of the trip was slow and annoying. The kids in the back were driving us nuts with their antics, and I was getting hungrier (I'm always hungry). The police continued walking back and forth through the train. Chris needed to use the restroom, and I told him to go further up the train and not go to the one next to the kids in the back. He came back from the restroom saying it was awful, and that it seemed people were taking out their hostilities by messing up the bathroom. That told the rest of us that we would just have to wait until we got home (whenever that would be).

At one point, we saw a train controller walk briskly through our train car towards the front. After a few minutes, he returned with 13 cops following him! They were running now and some were hurridly getting on their jackets.

The next thing we knew, they were escorting two guys in handcuffs to our train car (of course) to the area by the door. The 2 guys had to sit on their knees for the rest of the trip. The other cops kept going back and forth still, so maybe there were other guys in another train car. It was absolute craziness!

We never did find out what those guys did, but it sure made the trip intersting to say the least. I was ready to jump off the crazy train when we hit Marseille. I was tired, hungry, and ready to get away from stupid kids.

Unfortunately, we ran into more stupid kids down at the metro station. There was a group of boys trying to jump the turn stiles without paying and a controller was telling them they couldn't do it. We had to push through the hooligans to put our tickets in and get down to the metro.

I was SO HAPPY to get home at 10pm last night. We made some soup and waited to ring in the new year with some sparkling wine. We were all exhausted from our trip and ready to go to bed. We stood by the kitchen and counted down the time by looking at our wall clock. We said our BONNEE ANNEE's and then we looked outside to see if there was any fireworks. We only saw a few flares go up.

In an apartment across the way from us, there was a group at the window looking for fireworks too, and they started waving at us. So we waved back and forth and raised our glasses. Marseille, being the 2nd largest city in France, really doesn't go all out for New Year's.

We said goodbye to 2008 and said BONNE ANNEE to 2009 and then went right to sleep.

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