Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Brest of Me

I could feel with my eyes closed that the train was slowing, and pulled down my headphones to hear "terminus."

I had only 30 minutes to wait before my friend's arrival in Brest, and then our hosts would arrive to collect us. The first leg of this journey had seemed to pass without incident, and I was looking forward to some time outside of Paris.

I trundled out of the train and was surprised to find a party. A band was screeching some traditional music and a cidre was placed in my hand. A sturdy Breton gal shoved some sort of finger-glistening dessert at me and I wondered if perhaps I was dreaming.

"What is all this?" was the first question that entered my mind.

"Where the hell am I?" was the second.

These festivities, you see, on the eve of Ascension, had been organized for visitors to Lannion.


Had I not boarded a train for Brest? Had the conductor not punched my ticket? Was I maybe just a little bit drunk?

I considered these possibilities while the party moved off toward the exit. I looked back and forth between my bag and the sign, and before long was alone on the platform. My watch read nearly 11pm.

The conductor whistled past me. "Excusez-moi" I mewed, and explained my total confusion.

He put his hand in his pocket and then passed me some chocolates.


This was intended to soften the blow, I suppose, that I'd be stuck overnight in Lannion. Brest was two hours away, he said, and there would be no more trains before morning.


My train, it seems, had separated while I slept. Train A, which included my assigned strapontin, broke off and went to Brest. Train B, which contained the all-important bar car, had continued on to Lannion.

And I, after downing a beer near Rennes, had found the first available seat and passed out.

I could picture my friend Andy, as I checked into a hotel, just shaking his head and muttering "Mahgan, Mahgan, Mahgan..." Which is exactly what he did when I recounted the story yesterday.

"Did they know that you... y'know... do this sort of thing?"
"They do now," I said, and we shook our heads together.

The bathtub, it turns out, was all I saw of the hotel. My rescue team insisted upon arriving that very night, and then promptly got a flat in the parking lot.

"It couldn't get any worse!" said our cheerful host, who clearly imagined that these would be my only antics. I didn't have the heart to argue as he changed the tire in the dark.

His naive optimism was shattered en route to the Ile d'Ouessant, on what will now be referred to as "the pizza boat."

"You threw up on the ferry - what are you, ten?" Andy teased.
"It was choppy!" I protested.

"Mahgan, Mahgan, Mahgan..."
*TGV photo swiped from the dishy and talented Rion


Edvard Moonke said...

you're one of a kind, le meg. and I mean that in a good way...

Adrian said...

Someone say breast??

Maik said...

Seems like you are the perfect travel companion...never a dull day en route :)

jchevais said...

This ALMOST happened to me in Genoa, Italy.

Anonymous said...

I said, "You 'ralphed' on the ferry, not'threw up.'"