After I really hadn’t slept well, I decided to get an early start – so was at breakfast by 8 and at Cambridge station by about 25 past. I was scheduled to catch the 9.20 train, arriving in Kings Cross at 10.12 for the 11.05 Eurostar service, but figured I’d ask whether there was an earlier train I could catch. They pointed me to the 8.45, arriving London at 9.42 or so. As it turned out, this was lucky.
Transferring from Kings Cross to St Pancras station (walking across the road), I was a bit worried to see that my train was not listed on the departure boards. Regular followers of this blog will remember that there was a rather frantic call to my travel agent last week to sort this out, at which time I was reassured that everything was OK and the train was operating as usual.
Turns out, my train was leaving FORTY MINUTES EARLY, at 10.23 instead of 11.05. Check in is 30 minutes before departure. I reckon you could do it in 20, but if I had arrived at Kings Cross at 10.12 there is no way I would have made it to St Pancras and onto the train in 11 minutes. So much for my plans to kick back and read internet in the first class lounge! So much for my plans to post postcards to my kids! So much for … well, you get the idea.
Anyway, they screwed up my booking a little bit, as I am in a double seat instead of a single, and not at a table. Fortunately, the carriage is mostly empty, so it doesn’t really matter. I could transfer to a single if I wanted but kind of enjoyed having 2 seats all to myself.
Speaking of which – I saw a woman with an interesting trick on one of the trains yesterday. She’d booked a window seat but the aisle seat beside her was empty – so she sat there, leaving the reserved seat empty except for her bag and other things she’d spread out. Cheeky, but clever.
When I got on the train, I managed to log in very briefly to the St Pancras Station wireless network. It let me read a couple of emails (some radio show wants someone to talk about the history of Monopoly), chat with William and – most importantly – establish that the train will be getting in at 13:58 instead of 14:20 (and tell him that). I also uploaded one of yesterday’s blog posts.
OMG I got frisked again! This time my fault – I’d forgotten to take my mobile phone out of my pocket. Also more thoroughly than at Singapore.
Meal cart coming round. excusez-moi, et au revoir.
*** (later) ***
Survived going under with only a very small, hmmm, this is not a place where people are meant to be moment. It helped that they brought round the meal while we were under the ocean, giving us something else to think about. I even managed to speak French (OK, speak is an exaggeration – I said a couple of things in French but I can’t really call it anything as effective as “speaking”.)
E met my train and we found our way back to his place, aftter I managed to get my biiig suitcase stuck in the ticket turnstile things at the station. These things are sent to try us. I then lugged the beast up 2 flights of stairs. I like to think that was my exercise for the day. Actually, I’d like to think it was my exercise for the week, but that might be pushing things a little.
We chatted for a while and discovered that he has a truly outstanding Hungarian dictionary which includes such terms as capital punishment, executioner, heavy machine gun, rectal injection, puppy and whipped cream. Given that it only has 4000 words, that seems to be an impressive array of terms. There are also a frightening number of farming terms in there. We briefly contemplated translating Agricola into pidgin Hungarian. Konda is a herd of swine and kondás is a swine herd. I reckon we could get 50 or so Occupations but the Minor Improvements might be a challenge.
Instead of starting a new translation project, E did some work and I went out for a walk, with directions to la poste. OMG!!! I bought 3 postcards and 10 stamps in OMGFrench! I was surprisingly nervous and had to really psyche myself into giving it a try, especially as I didn’t know what the French word for ‘stamp’ is. Just as I got to the counter, I saw a poster that seemed to have the right word on it, and I tried it and it worked. Otherwise I was going to say, “I need to send 10 postcards to australia, how much does that cost?” – or try, at least.
Then I went and sat on the banks of the Seine watching the traffic go by and writing postcards. Not a bad way to spend a part of my first afternoon in Paris.
Later, there were games (French Time’s Up and Around the World in 80 Days), chatting and dinner (Moroccan takeaway). Good way to end a good day. 🙂