Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Do You Mean My Ticket's No Good?!?

Busted: On a train near Rotterdam.

Sonya keeps talking about Mercury  being in “retrograde,” an astrological reference with an ill wind connotation. It means traveling will be a problem until about Oct. 24 and electronics could cause a headache, as well. I’m becoming a believer.

Today’s adventure involves train tickets that we discovered are two days out of date, some kind of glitch in making the reservations online. In short, they were no good. We got to pay the full price for those, then pay again in order to get to Paris. Doesn’t look like a refund is in the stars. We were sent to one place for a solution, then another and finally got a phone number. 

The bad tickets were an interesting discovery. A 30-something couple came on the train and had tickets for our seats, for which we also had tickets. Only ours were dated Oct. 12 and theirs Oct. 14. Today's the 14th. We were in their seats. 

The conductor was direct, though a smidge confusing. Sonya thought he was throwing us off the train, but he actually gave us a choice of staying on—albeit in an alcove where comfort was not an option—or getting off in Rotterdam. We chose to wait in the “tipper, “ a couple of jump seats next to the baggage until Brussels, where we got to pick out real seats through to Paris.

I’ve been impressed with the train, which travels at upwards of 200mph through the lowlands and French bread basket. The wind turbine farms show France to be far ahead of us in that statement about wind power, and the farms are simply lovely in this flat country with few distinguishing marks.

As we entered France, the heavy overcast broke in favor of scattered clouds and a bright sky. Paris should be stunning in the late afternoon October light.

The bottom line for all the problems is that we’ll get to Paris pretty much on time and I got to see some windmills, both modern and ancient. I like the old ones best. Still, this little glitch will cost us double, somewhere in the neighborhood of what a plane ride would cost. The adventure continues.

A LITTLE LATER: We caught a cab from the train station to our apartment in what at one time could have been an upscale section. That was long ago, but it has a certain charm of its own and the apartment is just fine, owned by an exotic-looking Parisian. Sonya staked out the bed and I get a comfy sofa in the living room. I like this place.

We'll venture out in a bit and see just how hospitable this place is. As we arrived at this apartment complex--with a heavy gate--a couple of cops were trying to calm a domestic dispute. It was more comic than threatening, but the gathered young men didn't look innocent. We also encountered one con man at the airport and I thought we had another one with the cab, but he turned out to be OK. Guess we gotta be on the lookout while looking out.

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