Friday, September 21, 2012

The "Hotel Train"

Sorry to leave you hanging like that, but... Well, OK, I'm not all that sorry.


I boarded the Hotel Train first and got into my car. Soon enough there were two more women who arrived in the car and I was quite relieved that they both spoke English! I was really worried that no one would speak English and I would be alone the whole trip but we had fun talking about our horrible conditions.

As the train began to move, a conductor stopped by to see our tickets and he took our passports telling us we would get them back in the morning. I wasn't expecting that and I didn't know how to feel that he took it but what could I do?

A bit later, another man stopped by to offer reservations for dinner, which of course we had to pay for and a plain omelet cost 7 Euros. The restaurant only had openings at 10 PM and 10:30 PM, he told us that the beds couldn't be put down before 9:30 PM and the whole time he had an annoyingly sinister smile plastered to his face. I think he got enjoyment from our pain and thought that anyone stupid enough to take this train was, well, just that, stupid! We all decided against dinner and sat in our chairs for a while.

The British woman found another worker in the train and had him take our beds down early so we could lay down at 8 PM. We all laid down on our suspended prison cots to "relax" and the slight rocking of the train slowly lulled us to sleep.

Of course, the bliss of sleep can only last so long when traveling and at 10:30 PM, there was someone trying to break into our... OK, so I found out soon enough that they were supposed to be in our room too but jeez, can't you knock?

This was only the beginning of this rude awakening.

I was yelled at that I was in her bed by her and the conductor but they both (acted like) they didn't understand  me and only spoke French even though this was the same conductor that took our passports and he spoke English earlier.

Let me tell you. Being woken up in the middle of the night by someone screaming at you in a language you don't know is not really an experience for the bucket list. I was half awake and honestly scared. Of course, I can't sleep with full clothing on and even on this train, with a locking door and all, I had stripped down quitee a bit. Stop judging me!

I told the woman I would move to the other bed, even though this was my bed in the first place, but asked her to close the door since there was people in the hallway and I wasn't exactly fully clothed. The woman, the conductor, and who I can only assume was the woman's husband all screamed at me when I reached for the door. It's like they thought I was going to do something unthinkable withthe door shut. What did they think we were going to do when we shut the door? Beat her up? OK so I didn't honestly consider it... I swear...

Finally I just had to pull off the covers and show her that I was indicent before she would shut the door and even then the men were still yelling. She had to open the door and tell them I was indecent then she shut it again. Even after I got into the other bed, she was quite rude. She kept the light on, moved my bag and handed it up to me in bed... What was I supposed to do with it up there? Then stripped down and got in bed. And to think, people are always asking me why I so dislike the Persians.

After than and my fear of bunkbeds after my knee incident, I had a hard time falling back asleep so I read some and finally fell asleep again.


I woke up on the train, not quite so rudely this time, and just laid in my bed. The train would arrive in Paris around 10:30 AM and it  was nearly 9 AM already. Everyone was already awake but at 9:30 AM a loud beeping noise happened in the room and I'm assuming it was the very rude way of waking up all the passengers. Jeez, this train sucks!

Once everyone in the room was awake, the conductor returned our tickets and passports and we put up one of the beds so we could sit on one bed while the French woman laid across a whole bed herself looking quite smug. We just sat in silence for the rest of the trip except when the woman left the room and then we could all fume over her stupidity and rudeness.

I got off the train and went toward the Metro station inside the greater train station where I had to get to Gare du Nord for my next train. Quite suprisingly, the transfer was seamless and I got on the train to Köln without issues.

I was sitting in my seat when a boy dropped his things in the seat next to me and said something in English and I swore he was American with his accent but when I asked, he's actually German, speaks fluent French, and speaks English with an Ameican accent. Crazy! He's studying law in Hamburg and invited me to visit him if I'd like. I have no idea when I would find the time for that but we exchanged numbers anyways.

From Köln, I got onto a train to Hamm (Westf) where I would change to a train to Paderborn but looking at the train schedule, I found that I could take a direct train which only added a few extra minutes on from across the platform only a minute later. I hopped on the other train and sat down. I even asked a conductor if it went to Paderborn and he said yes.

Long story short, I wound up in Papenburg, no idea how or where that is even, but I digress. I had to catch the next train back to Münster then got a train to Paderborn. I arrived in Paderborn at 11 PM. Hey, I saw the countryside but added an extra 5+ hours to my trip.

I looked for my bike at the train station but it wasn't there. I figured it was just dark so I didn't see it and went to catch a bus. The last bus to my apartment was already gone so I took another bus that only took me half way there and then walked the rest of the way.

As if things couldn't get worse, I tried taking a shower and only had cold water. Great. I washed my hair but kept my body out of the cold water and went to pass out in bed.

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