What a lazy month it has been on the blogging front! For every word not written though, a thousand adventures… all lived too quickly to spare time for black and white text. I’d like to quote the old familiar adage and just post pictures rather than words… but unfortunately my photography hasnt been expressive enough lately. No image on this little chip here will tell of rainbows over oceans, of 100km winds with no one in sight, of the feeling of the sun shining warmth on my cheek while a waterfall’s spray tickled my back. Assembled letters might not do the trick either, but i’ll give it a shot.
More than 30 days ago now I headed out from Amsterdam, thumbing it to Paris. It was a cold but clear night when I met up with Xavier, a Toulousian hobo who had just hopped his first freight and ridden the wind of a gondola 10 hours North. Crouching in a stretch of long grass just out of the French capital’s yards, we watched silently as three autoracks lined up in front of us. Considering the size of this ‘triage’, there didnt seem to be much traffic, and a strike (famous in this countrys transport system) wasn’t out of the question.
In any case, you only need one train to take you somewhere and there was one staring us right in the face. A nice, warm, relatively cachèd autorack none the less. A hop, skip and a jump and we were on our way. This night riding beauty would take us SOMEWHERE tonight, that much was certain. Had i paid for a ticket though, and allocated my destination… I’d have put this one down as last.
We rolled slowly and easily inter the dead centre of the Parisian railway freigth yards.
Unfortunately for us, it was very much alive. No strike tonight! Men in bright yellow heavy jackets marched past us. We were at a stand still. The air (brakes) hadn’t been broken yet, so there was a chance we’d get out of here if we sat tight… but where and when was anybody’s guess.
Eventually of course, the inhevitable happened. A crackle of a radio close to my ear and a french voice: “There’s two people hiding here in between the cars.”
Rather than wait to be flashlighted out, we stood up and denounced ourselves. Hopping off the train my heart was beating fast and the cold night air froze my breath. After he’d established who we were, that is two crazy kids without a clue, our escort got to chatting and cheerily accompanied us up into the tower. Seats were cleared and we sat down. Everytime someone walked in, they’d shake our hands and mumble “bonsoir”. The way everyone was acting, I half expected someone to offer a cup of tea.
While we waited nervously for ‘someone’ to arrive to remove us from the yards, our new friend got to rambling about all the freigth systems, directions and opporating procedures. You’d ask one question, and he’d give you the reply to ten.
In the end our car arrived and it was with a little hiccup that I noticed it was the police. Mostly joking, but semi serious I said: “They’re not going to lock us up are they!?” The man who’d found us revealed his missing teeth with a grin and with eyes sparkling patted me on the shoulder, telling me not to worry. Assuring the police that we meant no harm and were really just adventurous silly kids, he wished us a goodnight and bid us fairwell.
The cops dropped us at the nearest metro station and that was that. Sometimes being a white, frenchspeaking female from Australia goes a damn long way. I’m still thanking my lucky stars!