Send Me On My Way -Rusted Roots

Jul 31, 2013

Accidentally In Switzerland... Wait... What?

July 1st-13th
     Hi. I hope you read the last post because it was an epically crazy one. If you haven’t, feel free to check it out and then come back to this one. Okay. Go. I’ll wait for you. So click away my friend. Right meow.
Cathedral in Milan. Not Hogwarts.
     Look! I told you I’d wait. And here I am. So at this point in my journey, I arrived in Madrid, met Leah and went for midnight food. Though it wasn’t very tasty, I was very glad to see Leah again. I had thought I would visit Madrid a few days later, but since my iPhone was stolen, I had no camera. Well technically I did, but I gave it to Leah to take home when I was in Alicante. Lucky for me, she was stopping in Madrid before she headed back to the US and I could meet with her/get my camera from her. Win win! Sadly, Leah had to leave the next day and I was once again on my own.
Egyptian temple! Featuring my new traveler backpack.
     When Leah left, I went to meet my new host, Nadine. She was from Eqypt and I really liked staying with her. During the days, she had class and work so I went to Plaza Mayor and bought a lot of things. I even bought a new traveler’s backpack for 30 euros! I like it. It’s blue and stuff. Pretty much the first day amounted to wandering, spending money, and arroz con leche (So ridiculously tasty). I ate it at a place called Museo de Jamon which means Ham Museum. There was certainly a lot of ham there. Scarily, Pancho wasn’t there. Hmmm. When I came back for the night, Nadine and one of her friends Merijn were hanging out in the kitchen so I made A LOT of tea and we drank every drop. That’s how you know it’s good company. No empty silences and no full mugs.
Homemade pie and homemade friends. Not sure what that means.
     The second day I tried to go to Toronto, but it didn’t work out so instead I wandered again and got lost. It was great. I wandered directly to a metro and made it back just fine. Nadine’s place was literally right in the center of Madrid by Sol, so it was never difficult to find. Also, there was a Sephora nearby, so I used the testers to make myself up. When night fell, we went to a bar and just hung out with a few other people for about an hour or two. Very chill and enjoyable. Sadly, I was to leave the next day and Nadine left when I woke up. I spent the next morning watching all of my television shows and staying in bed. Don’t be mad though because when I left the house, I visited this really cool Egyptian temple, a palace, and a cathedral. All of this PLUS I made it to my train early. #likeaboss
You may now kiss the bride.
     Back in Barcelona, I met with Antonio and Euodia again. This time they were living in a bigger apartment with about six other people. I’d like to tell you all about the week I spent there, but really all we did was go to the beach, watch Dexter, and just generally have a wonderful time. I think Antonio and Euodia are among my favorite new friends and I really hope to see them again in the future. Maybe at my place? Skip forward and I’m on a train to Milan. Kind of. It was four trains. The one to Paris had a night layover, so I stayed with Guillaume again, met a cool dude name Victor from China, ate G’s fantastic cooking, and learned how to make REAL French toast. The next day I went to Lyon first where my train was delayed two hours. This caused me to miss my connection in Geneva. (Side note, I met a cool New Zealander named Gemma on the train and she said their Christmases are in the Summer. WHAT?!!?! SUMMER CHRISTMAS!?!?!? Also, her last train hit and killed a man. And we sat by a New Zealand celebrity named Tina Cross). So basically I was accidentally in Switzerland. I went to the ticket desk because there were no other trains to Milan that evening and the dude said, ‘Get on the train to Brig and we’ll give you free accommodation.’ Alrighty then.
How dare you ruin my picture!?
     So I’m on a train to Brig, but every stop is a tiny Podunk town with no hotels or anything. Soon I am alone on the train with only one other couple. ‘Okay’ I think. ‘Obviously I’m not the only one to miss the connection, right?’ Surely this couple is doing the same thing as m— wait. Where are they… HEY! COME BACK! DON’T LEAVE ME!!!’ Yeah. So now I was panicking. I’m usually pretty good at this kinda stuff, but the only plan I could think of if things went wrong was: Sleep in the high grass til morning. So yeah. I’m alone on a train heading to Brig and I don’t even know which country it’s in. Bleh. Luckily, everything turned out okay, but I was pretty scared searching an abandoned train station for any signs of life. I did finally find the dude who runs the train traffic lights and he found another dude who found me a hotel room.

Martina and I all dressed up for pizza!
     The next day, I finally made it to Milan and met my host, Sabrina. After dropping my things off at her place, we went to the main square famous for its cathedral and so much shopping my brain hurt. There were Prada stores popping up like McDonalds in Texas! Amidst all this shopping, there was a statue of DaVinci and the Scala theatre. Sadly, the Scala was nothing special to look at, but the pictures I have seen of the shows there are the best I could have ever imagined. Martina, a friend of Sabrina’s, was also with us, and though there wasn’t much going on in Milan, they were really a lot of fun. Back at her house, Sabrina’s mother, Grazia, got confused and cooked a feast fit for a king instead of a normal lunch, but I didn’t mind one bit. There were like 5 courses; three of which were pasta. Seriously. I went full food coma and Sabrina had to roll me to the car to pick up another friend, Darku, and another CSer, Nicole. We then went for gelato. Oh my gosh. More food. What the heck? From there we visited the palace and then a club (they all clubs discos). I hate clubs. I tried to not look horrified, but I failed and as a result, they kindly decided to leave and we went off to bed.
Fat. Delicious. Cheesy. And a pizza.
     We woke up in time for lunch the next day and again it was a feast; with three types of pasta, bruschetta, an eggplant thing that rocked my socks off, and a pie which Darku turned up for. Nicole also tried an alcohol called grappa. Apparently even a Welsh girl couldn’t handle it so I didn’t dare touch it. Gelato happened again. Then we all went shopping (I mean come on, we had to: It’s Milan) and bought dresses for the evening. It was a special occasion. My first Italian pizza!!! Ohhhhh sooooooo good! I can’t explain. Just look at the picture and you will know why I had to be rolled out again. This time in the rain. By the time we returned, Nicole went off with Luigi (hahahahahaha Luigi), Sabrina’s brother, to dance and Martina and Sabrina took me to an abandoned parking lot and taught me how to drive stick! Not only this, but we watched excerpts of Harry Potter in Italian. Pretty much fantastic, except for the part where I only got two hours of sleep and then had to get on a train to Rome. Neddless to say, I slept the ENTIRE way. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. In fact, I better sleep now, so I will post more later! xx


Jul 22, 2013

The Very Bad Week: Shoveling Human Excrement, Almost Being Raped, And My Stolen iPhone

The Workaway house. Totally primitive.
     Hello again. So at this point in my journey, I’m basically headed out to the middle of nowhere, to meet this guy who I have never even seen in a picture nor ever learned his name and I’m on the second and last bus of the day so I’m thinking ‘This better work or I’m sleeping outside.’ When I get to the station, I’m not even sure I’m at the right one and I walk around lugging my rolly backpack back and forth several times in front of a group of rocking chair, card-playing locals who are having a good laugh at my expense. Picture this: There is like one building in this place and a gang of children on bicycles are actively surrounding you and jabbering away in Spanish. Yes. That was my situation. I mean, I may have had three years of Spanish, but that was five years ago and I am super rusty. (Haha. Rusty.) But anyway, some of the kids spoke a little English but it didn’t matter because I didn’t know the name of the dude I was meeting. About seven minutes later, this super dusty (not rusty) jalopy pulled up and a dude with crazy hair and dirty clothes stepped out and introduced himself as Arnau, the guy I was going with.
Arnau's daughter, Clara.
     So I went with him even further away from anything anywhere and eventually got to this place pictured or I hope pictured. It depends on if I remember what I typed. Arnau’s wife, Bibiana, was really nice and their daughter Clara was really cute, but there was work to do even though it was sunset so I didn’t get to talk long. After not working with bees and doing other stupid stuff, I went to bed in my own house/cave place with a nice layer of grime on everything. As I went to sleep, I tried to enjoy the absolute silence, but the sound of my thoughts racing and blood rushing through my veins was too loud, so instead I went to sleep.
     The night before, Arnau said to be ready early, so I woke up at 7:30ish and went to their house as he instructed. I didn’t see anyone, so I just assumed they were already out working on the land. Apparently I assumed wrong, because when I went to wash a peach, oh look. There’s Arnau with his man-meat swaying in the breeze, staring at me from his room. Lovely… Fantastic... SOMEONE GET ME OUT OF HERE. But alas, that didn’t happen, though if it did I could have skipped the shittiest part. Haha. Pun. The rest of the day included weeding in the deathly hot sun, working with bees for one full minute blowing smoke, and no breaks whatsoever. Workaway specifically states 4-6 hours work a day. We worked triple that. I did NOT sign up for this. Other horrors included no WiFi, solar power/no electricity at night, and always feeling like I was covered in Plague. And another day has passed.
I guess the funny looking H is not so H-looking after all...
     The next day, another Workawayer from Germany, Lisa, arrived and I didn’t feel so alone anymore. After another full day of horrible, back-breaking work and medicinal flower picking (don’t ask), I went to take a shower. I learned the hard way that the funny looking H is actually an F meaning Fria in Spanish. So that’s why my shower was cold. C isn’t cold, it’s caliente. Oops. So far the plusses included only getting to babysit inside for a few hours out of the heat and learning to roll candles from the beeswax. The minuses were a long list including shameful sock tan lines, tea made from weeds, an outdoor toilet, and everything else. In the night, Arnau threw ‘parties’ with Lisa and I in his basement. All he did was serve nasty beer and play dub step as loud as his speakers could go. Yes. I know. My circumstances may have seemed dire, but I promise, the worst was yet to come.
Arnau. -_____-
     On the last day, Arnau had me shoveling donkey shit into horse feed bags at the bottom of his property and carrying the shit up his steep-as-a-mountain hill to his house. I got angry and went on strike for an hour or two and only filled four bags instead of six. Maybe because we didn’t get along or because he is the worst person I have ever met, Arnau told me he would “teach me to not fear shit” by forcing me to SHOVEL HUMAN SHIT FROM THE CESTPOOL OF DEATH HE SHAT IN. We will not discuss the smell, nor the sight of what I went through that day. It was highly traumatizing and I am actually not kidding. I cried. Not in front of the asshole Arnau though. You might be laughing right now, but just stop and put yourself in my situation. At the risk of indecency, I will mention that none of this shit was mine. I held it for three days. THREE DAYS. I have intestines of steel. Ugh  Ugh UGHHHHHHH. WORST DAY EVER.
      The next day, I left the house of horrors, but not without incident. Arnau was either going to take me to the bus station I came from or his friend, who was a complete stranger to me, was going to drive me to a town 45 minutes away to catch a train. Arnau never heard from his friend and when I told him I was ready to be driven, he said we were too late and if his friend didn’t contact him, I was to hitchhike to that town or just walk. There was NO WAY I was about to stay there with him, but there was also no way I could walk to that town. It was 45 minutes away by car… It didn’t matter because his friend showed up and took me to the station and everything worked out, but I hated every second.
Terrible week. 
     That was bad right? Okay. No. It’s not over. I arrived in Barcelona late in the afternoon and met my CouchSurfing host, Juan. He seemed pretty nice and relatively normal at first. We went to a bar and ate some sandwiches and split a bottle of wine first so I didn’t get a chance to drop off my bags. After we finished at the bar, I thought that’s where we were headed, but apparently he had other ideas and took me to another bar and bought two rounds of shots. At this point, I am tired of lugging my stuff around and feeling kinda tipsy. All I really want is to go back to his place and go straight to sleep since it is now near or past midnight and all I had done that day was Arnau’s chores and hours of train rides. He still didn’t take me back, but instead to another bar for mojitos. Once we finished the mojitos, he made no move to leave. He grabbed my head and started making out with me. I told him no, that’s not okay, but he continued raping my mouth. Ugh. I feel dirty typing this. He mentioned something about how he wasn’t sick so I shouldn’t worry and at this point, my Ravenclaw-ready mind got to work.
     I pulled out my iPhone and showed him a video I took in Dachau of my tonsils infested with tonsillitis and moldy looking white patches on my throat. This was intended for my doctor, but this was a perfect use as well. Man repellant. I told him it was a disease that ran through my lymphatic systems and could be transferred through bodily fluids. Ha. Perfect. I had his full attention. This is how our conversation went.
Him: So… Can I get this from kissing you…?
Me: No I don’t think so. (pause) But actually, I got it from my ex-boyfriend and all we did was kiss so maybe…
Him: So. If I go to the pharmacy tomorrow, what should I get?
Me: Nothing. Once you have it, you have it for life.
Him: (pause) But if I go to the pharmacy, what would help?
Me: Nothing. Sorry.
Him: (longer pause) Okay. But if I go to the pharmacy, what do I tell them the disease is called?
Me: (I think: He’s Spanish. He doesn’t know diseases in English, so I say) Tonsillitis.
Him: That sounds bad. (He puts a pillow between us on the couch and laughs nervously. Here’s the kicker. He asks) So… does your vagina still work? I mean does… does stuff come out? Or like. Does it smell funny?
Me: Only sometimes (YOU PRICK)
Harry Potter saved my life. Hehehe.
     So that’s the conversation. None of this is elaborated on or made up. While we were walking back to his place to go to sleep, he kept calling me AIDS girl. WOAH WOAH WOAH. Before you go all crazy at me for staying with him, remember that it is like one in the morning in Barcelona. The streets aren’t well lit and I had all of my belongings with me. If I left him, I would have had to wander alone in the dark looking for a hotel or hostel. It was better to take my chances with a dude who thought I was contagious than muggers who only saw a vulnerable young girl with her life on her back. See why I made the choice I did? I was between a rock and a hard place and I chose the one as stupid as a rock.
     Back at his apartment, I asked if I could use his WiFi (to email friends to alert them of the situation and where I was just in case) and he said sure, but I’d like a massage first. He then took off his shirt, lay on his bed , and pointed to a bottle of lotion. With gritted teeth and bared nails, I gave him the damned massage and then accessed the WiFi. After messaging like seven people of the situation, I went to sleep on his stupid couch fully clothed. I barely slept and the next morning I woke up early and tried to sneak out. He caught me but basically shoved me out his door anyway. I promptly went to Subway (free WiFi) and Skyped Pancho, Brendan, and Kacy, telling them about the Workaway and the CouchSurfer. After contacting a couple friends in Barcelona to stay with and orienting my mood once again to positivity, I headed out to La Rambla to do some window shopping. Kinda. There weren’t windows since they were all in tents. I saw a cute pocket watch for 12 euros and slipped my phone into my backpack so I could pay for the watch. That must have been when the pickpocketer struck. Seconds later, my iPhone 5 was gone and the pocketwatch became my only source of time. So ironic, I guess. I went to the police, but there was no point since the people in front and behind of me in line were all victims of theft as well.
     I went back to Subway, Skyped Brendan again and felt a little better. Finally, I left Subway and met Antonio and Euodia (friends from the pyramid on the beach last time in Barcelona) and through iCloud I was able to retrieve all of my photos and contacts. After the worst week of my life and nearly giving up on travelling, I once again saw the silver lining. And then I went to the beach.
If you read all of that, just know that I am okay now and this was all three weeks ago. Aunt Sami and Mom, don’t cry! I’m a Ravenclaw for a reason. Quick thinkers and ready minds are what we’re known for. More soon! Until next time! x


Jul 16, 2013

Spain! Beaches, Castles, and An Old Friend.

June 22nd-25th
Pyramid on the beach.
Leah and I the castle.
     Annnnnnnnd we’re back. So that sleeper train? Yeah. Slept like a baby. It was great. When I made it to Port Bou, Spain, I knew it was going to be great. The ocean was reflecting the sunrise and it was gorgeous. I was staring out the window like a dog stares at anything that moves. Unfortunately, the super long Port Bou-Barcelona train was much longer than expected and I met Michal, my host, about an hour or two after I told him I’d be there. Oops. It was okay though! He was very nice and let me take a shower before taking me to the beach! Yay beach! It was great. Everything you expect it to be. Sun, Sand, Waves, and even beach volleyball. Surprisingly, I wasn’t half bad at that part. Loni must’ve rubbed off on me. Somehow, in conversation, they found out I was a cheerleader before and they enlisted in my help to build a pyramid. Pretty cool, huh?

Leah and I at the festival.
     We met for tapas a few hours later and then proceeded to a rooftop party in the city. Though it was fabulous and the people were great, I was exhausted from my travels and went back to go to sleep. I had an early train the next morning to Alicante, so I was careful not to wake up Michal. On my way to the station, a weird old lady caused me to miss my stop by yelling at me in Spanish when I tried to get off. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me, so I rode the metro until she let me leave and then back tracked to my station. Luckily, this did not make me late and I continued on my merry way to Alicante, Spain where I met Leah!! I found her in the station before she found me and it was great to see a familiar face.
I want a cactus.
     She took me to her host family’s house, pointing out awesome paper sculptures on the way, and when we arrived,  I promptly took my siesta nap like any good, respectable Spanish person would. An hour later, Leah and I bought some ridiculously good ice cream and then began our long trek up a mountain/hill thing to the castle at the top. We chattered and sweated nonstop the entire way and then, when we finally reached the top, we took about a thousand pictures of the views and each other. In this blissful fog of happy, we watched the sun set from atop the roof and probably took a thousand more pictures before eventually clambering back down into the city of Alicante, to our respective showers and beds.
Castle at sunset.
     Every day is beach day in Spain, so who were Leah and I to deny ourselves of that? On the next afternoon, we went to the beach and did beachy things after watching a massive fireworks display in the middle of the day. Leah said it was in the day because during festival (which it was), no one was supposed to sleep, not even for siesta. Back to the beach though, the waves were mean. They knocked me over and pulled off my top. Bad waves. Down boys. Down! They didn’t get down, so Leah and I went to go get a pina colada with her host sister, Kristina. That was funny because she didn’t speak any English which left Leah and I to speak to her in Spanish. She learned about the legend that is Rusty and Kacy through stories such as the water in the purse, fart in the box, and hairbrush on fire stories. Ahhh. The classics. AND I told it entirely in Spanish. With help from Leah. And a lot of sign language.
Spanish girls in cool dresses.
     With the past two days behind us, it was time for me to pack for tomorrow’s journey. Leah’s host mom saw that I had no clean clothes and very generously and sweetly washed and folded all of my laundry. It was so nice of her! She then took us all to the festival to watch more fireworks, this time from the castle, and to watch the sculptures burn. It was sad to see the beautiful pieces burn to the ground, but I know there will be more next year and the next and every year as there has been before, so I guess I shouldn’t be too sad. Before long, it was over and we were back at the house one more time. 
Me gusta la playa.
     I wrote a Google translate postcard for Leah’s host family and gave Leah a few things to take back to Oklahoma with her on her impending flight. Then I finally drifted off to sleep. Before I knew it, I was waking up and Leah was saying good bye to me at the train station. It had all happened so fast. My time in Alicante with Leah was wonderful but way too short. I wanted to stay, but the train was already taking me back to Barcelona and a whole new set of problems.
Seriously. Bad problems. Like worst week ever problems. Tune in for my next post.


Jul 11, 2013

Paris (The Part Where I Am Alone), BJ Novak, and CouchSurfing Central

June 18th-21st
Notre Dame. It's big and not a cartoon.
The inside is like a fine wine. Not really.
I just wanted to sound sophisticated.
     Hi again! Rusty here, checking in for another installment of my adventures. We are now two posts away from what I am currently doing (which is going to Switzerland Italy), and soon I can actually write about what just happened and not what happened two-three weeks ago! Unless I relapse into a state of non-writing. That won’t happen… I hope.
It's weird taking a pic in church.
Look a door and a good hair day.
     I left you as my parents and Loni left me: Alone in Paris. First thing I do after they leave is find a Starbucks and log into the WiFi. Hey now. Don’t judge me. I was waiting for 11 so I could attend mass IN NOTRE DAME! Suck on that. Plus, I had nowhere to sleep that night and needed to send out some Couch Requests. 
I made it to mass just in time for a snooty old hag to yell at me in French for wearing shorts to church. Sorry lady, but I don’t have an abundance of nice clothes in my tiny backpack. Pretty sure Jesus doesn’t care about my bare legs. I even shaved. So there. She shut up in time for the service to begin and I sheepishly covered my bare thighs with my owl purse (which you can see in almost any picture and infer that it totes didn’t cover much). I’m all talk. What can I say?
Shakespeare and Co. LOOK AT ALL THE BOOKS!!!
     After the service that I didn’t understand at all, I wandered through the cathedral, visited the treasury, and then aimlessly wandered about Paris, occasionally finding free WiFi and checking my Couch Requests. Accidentally, I wandered into a really cool looking book store and began browsing. From behind me, a girl was speaking with the cashier, gushing about how she’d always dreamed of visiting since she was a little girl. Wait. What? Where am I? Turns out I had wandered my little ole self into a Shakespeare and Company bookstore; only the most famous English bookstore in the world. Oh. That’s where I am. Hmm. Hell yes! Best place ever. I even played a piano that was upstairs. And embarrassed myself because my hands were shaking so much I couldn’t play. I bought a book and high-tailed it outta there and into the arms of their outdoor WiFi. Yes. Shut up. I NEEDED WIFI. QUIT JUDGING! How else would I have found out that a host named Guillaume, with a lot of positive references, could host me for the next few days?
     I met Guillaume a half hour later and he took me to get some fantastic ice cream. Then we took a train out to his place in the suburbs and he gave me a rundown of the rules. Basically common sense stuff like turn the light off if you aren’t using it, keep your things tidy, tidy up the room immediately after you wake up. Stuff like that. No big deal, however, a couple Californian teens hadn’t respected his rules and were extremely messy and unapologetic. When they got back to his place after a day of whatever they did, Guillaume blew his top at them and started yelling at them to apologize. They did, but in a more scared/stubborn way than sincere and Guillaume kicked them out for a half hour because he was at his boiling point. By now, I’m like ‘Oh shit. WHAT did I get myself into…’ I mean, he’s really nice to me, but damn. The boys came back and told Guillaume they found another place to stay, he said fine, and they packed their bags. The boys held up a sign for me that read: ‘Come with us?’ And I thought about it for a second before deciding not to. After all, I hadn’t broken any rules and G was fine when they weren’t around. It was a nice gesture though, so I thanked them and asked them to Facebook me when they got to where they were going. They never did, so I don’t know what happened.
The love lock bridge! *Forever Alone*
     A little after that, Preston, the other CouchSurfer from the USA, returned from the city and G told him what went down. Preston and I talked a little and we three shared a delicious pasta meal that G made. Another hour and it was time for sleep. I lay on the couch, G turned out the light, and then he kissed me goodnight. That was kinda weird. And I really didn’t like it, but the French are very kissy people, so it was no big deal. Leave it to the French to kiss strangers they met that day. Preston asked if he could have one too. He didn’t get one.
Sean and Chelsea fell asleep in church.
*PLOT TWIST* There was no service going on.
     The following day, Preston left G’s house in hopes of getting a room in the Shakespeare and Co. upstairs quarters, Sean and Chelsea, a couple from California arrived, Noah and Steve, father and ex-step-son from Georgia, arrived, and On, from Korea, arrived. Sean and Chelsea were exhausted from the night before because they didn’t find a place to stay (literally EVERYWHERE was booked because of a festival) and they had to sleep in a hotel lobby. Steve and Noah offered Muse/Paramore tickets to G and his girlfriend, but since they recently broke up, I got the extra ticket. On was quiet. And late. This made G unhappy and he gave On a stern talking to. We spent the day in the rain, walking all over the city and seeing the sights. Noah and Steve decided not to stay with G and to get a hostel, so there went my Muse ticket. Oh well.
Yep. That's me. And BJ. We're engaged now. Sorry Pancho.
     The next day, Sean and Chelsea left and Ana (Mexico), Paco (Mexico), and Francisco (Chile) arrived. Ana and Paco were also sternly spoken to by G for their breaking rules on an Emergency request page. They had posted three times because, like Sean and Chelsea, they couldn’t find any accommodation whatsoever. I think G was impressed with their manners though, because he let them stay two nights. During the day, we visited Notre Dame and then I went to Shakespeare and Co. again for a reading by BJ Novak.
And they lived happily ever after. Unless he doesn't like Harry Potter. 
     There was a crowd milling about outside, but I went inside, found a book and sat down contentedly in a corner. Preston was there, but he didn’t get a room like he had hoped. It was nice to see him again, though! Before long, BJ walked by and I said ‘Bonjour’ to which he replied ‘Bonjour.’ By being sneaky and having tactics, I scored the front and center seat for his reading. This meant that basically, his sweat was falling in my lap and if I moved my foot slightly, I’d kick him. He was THAT close. I mean, cool and all, but the wonderful part was that his short stories were actually good. REALLY good. I sincerely enjoyed his work. He is obviously a good writer since he writes for The Office US show. He had one piece about Elvis and how he used to be spotted everywhere after his death and he asked if we had heard about that because we were a relatively young audience. I nodded my head coolly and he asked ‘Okay cool. How old are you?’ ‘Twenty-One.’ I said in a totally not shrill voice. Moment of fame? Check. There was a brief discussion after and then he went outside for pictures. I asked the bookstore for the poster of the event and they gave it to me.
Reward: 10 bucks if found.
     I went up to BJ and we had a short discussion about his pieces and he said he recognized me from the front row to which I responded that he had favorite my tweet the day before. He remembered and I promised to put up a picture of us that he also favorite later. So after a few more minutes, I told him I didn’t want to monopolize his time and asked for an autograph on the poster and a photo. I got both, said goodbye, and slipped into the crowd for him to never see again until I’m famous and we do a movie together. No but really… I met up with Ana and Paco, showed them the poster, and we went back to G’s.
Sleeper train. 6 beds!
     In the morning, Louise, Emily, and David arrived and then it was time for me to depart, so I grabbed my things and then noticed my poster was missing. I looked all over, but I’m sure someone snitched it. I don’t know who, because they were all seemingly trustworthy, but if you stole it, reader, GIVE IT BACK. Please? It means a lot… You have my address. While waiting for my train, I met a CouchSurfer named Guillaume Peter, yeah. Another Guillaume. And he made fresh apple juice and we talked about our travels. He was a really nice guy and offered to let me stay with him in the middle of Paris next time I visited. Too soon, it was time for my train; an overnight, sleeper train. I met a neat family in my compartment and after a guitar session by the youngest boy, Adrian, we were all off to sleep and off to Spain.
The Notre Dame Damsel.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading that long ass post. The next one is shorter. I just wrote it. See you soon!

Jul 4, 2013

Paris! (The Part Where I Am Not Alone)

June 15th-June 18th
     Hi everybody! I’m catching up slowly but surely to where I actually am in my trip! The next couple of posts will be fast and furious. I literally am furious about some of it, but you won’t get to read about that part just yet as it happened yesterday and all of this happened two weeks ago. Whoops.
Omaha Beach! It's super pretty, but the barbed wire is a clue.
     So the family and I left the beautiful castle in Southern France that I am convinced should belong to me and headed to Paris! We promptly continued from our train into Paris to another train out of Paris. Short lived excitement, I know, but hey. At least there was a piano in the train station. That was neato. From Paris, we headed to another city called Caen which is in Normandy. The only reason why we were there really is because Loni wanted to see the Normandy beaches from World War II. Like the genius I am, I led us to a hotel and booked the last rooms there. Apparently some marathon was going on that weekend so it was tough to find a place with vacancy. I did though. First try.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Me in front of Notre Dame.
     After check-in, we ventured out into this strange new land in search of sustenance and found a creperie. Score. It was only fantastic. Seriously good stuff for relatively cheap. Not that I was paying; That is totes Dad’s job. By this time, we were all super tired, so naturally, I forced the whole family to watch “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in preparation for our upcoming trip to Paris. We all got really into it except Dad who insisted it was a stupid movie and kept complaining, “Ugh. An hour left?!” “Seriously? 45 minutes until it’s over?” “I could be in REM right now but noooooo.” Pfft. Secretly he loved every minute of it, but you know guys. Have to keep up the tough-guy-hate-Disney appearance. It’s working Dad. Nobody knows your inner love for Quasimodo.
This picture has nothing to do with the paragraph next to it,
 but it is super awesome so I put it here.
     I finally let everyone sleep after the movie and the next morning Dad had us all wake up by dark-thirty to catch a non-existent bus that doesn’t even run on Sundays. So we got a taxi. And then waited three hours for the place to open. -__- I don’t like this trend. The place we went to was some museum that led a half-day van tour of the war beaches and after the three hour wait, we were off. Without breakfast. Seriously. The whole time I couldn’t even hear the tour guide over my rumbling stomach. It didn’t really matter anyway though because she had the weirdest accent I have ever heard. That reminds me. My food tasted like fireworks last night. I don’t understand that either.
Me and my friend. I am convinced he is a Decipticon.
     Moving on. Loni enjoyed the tour and we found crepes at the end so everyone ended up mostly content. We boarded another train back to Paris and this time we got to stay! I booked a much nicer apartment for us this time than the shit-hole we stayed at in Lyon. This one had an espresso machine with a milk steamer. YES. I got to practice my craft. Tolli would be proud.
      But we didn’t have much time to lounge about because we wanted to go on a night boat tour. We did and it was nice. The best part had to be when I saw the Eiffel tower. I know. Cliché, but I had not seen it while travelling to our apartment and my goodness. I couldn’t have picked a better time to see it. There was some African celebration going on and the tower was lit in red, blue, and green shining in the night. (I hope those are the right colors. I wrote this before I double checked my picture.) People listen: The Eiffel Tower is HUGE. It is soooo much bigger than tv or movies could ever have portrayed it. It was beautiful, yes, but what took my breath away was the sheer size of the beast. Great first night in Paris! And then I got us lost and was pissed off because we had to take a taxi home. Typical.
The Moulin Rouge! I haven't seen the musical yet, but I'm sure it
will mean alot to me when I do. So here it is. I took a picture.
     Next day! One of the girls in the castle recommended an antique market to my mom so we planned on going there first, then a bus tour, then the Eiffel Tower. Since it was rainy all morning, we didn’t get out of the apartment for a few hours, and when we did, we had to stop and buy and umbrella for me. Immediately, it stopped raining. Of course. Dad bought tickets for a bus tour and after seeing a lot of Paris, we got off at the Moulin Rouge because it was situated near to the antique market. We walked and walked toward this place, but the streets became scarier and scarier. I’m surprised we weren’t mugged. (Apparently I just had to wait for Barcelona on that one.) 
Arc Du Triumphe. See it? It's the triumphant arc over there.
     There were so many people and all of them looked shady. People on the street trying to sell you sunglasses or anything else they could carry and shove in your face. Mom got more and more stressed until she finally made us stop looking and leave. Well then it got worse. We were down in the metro with shady characters pressing up against us to get closer to our bags. To make matters worse, the ticket machines were all out of order except one and the line was out the wazoo and uber slow. There were two American women and their kids in front of us, just as afraid as Mom, with a tall black man standing basically on top of them. Dad didn’t have enough change so we had to go through this awful line twice, but we did finally escape and made our way to the Arc Du Triumphe!
On the second level in the Eiffel Tower. I just can never get my smile right.
     At the Arc, we stopped to eat and then continued to the Eiffel Tower. The tower was everything you expected it to be. Tall, Metal, and a bunch of stairs. I was seriously covered in sweat after the first level (300+ stairs). And then there were more stairs. UGH. But whatever! I succeeded! Look at the sheen of sweat on my face in the pictures though. I totally earned that view. When Loni and I finally reached the top, it was just beginning to rain, but it felt nice on our hot, sweaty skin. I think I walked around the top more than 8 times. It was only about an 80 foot loop, so I kept going round and round until an announcement came on warning that pickpockets were active in the tower. 
On top of the world.

Then we took our pictures and left. Short-lived (kinda. Mom and Dad waited for us for three hours at the bottom), but worth it. After buying Dad some Cherry Garcia ice cream, we headed back to the apartment where I made lattes again and we promptly fell asleep.
     The next morning, it was time for the family to break up once again. Although I had originally planned to accompany them to the airport, it was super pricey and I was not willing to waste that much money. (Money that Dad left for me. Thanks Dad. :)) So we woke up early, said our goodbyes, and that was that. They were gone and I was alone again, in Paris. xx