Having received the exciting news that my flat in Paris had finally been arranged, I proceeded to leave work early, about 19:00, so I could meet the landlord to have a good look at the place before moving in. With the meeting arranged for 20:00, this should have left plenty of time to travel there on the underground system. Unless of course someone sets fire to the train you are on. That phenomenon has been known to cause delays on trains from time to time. Not always of course, I remember one story a few years back where there was a fire in the freight train tunnel underneath the English Channel. The fire was started by a lorry that was already on fire as it entered the tunnel. This does not speak well for French customs officials. I can just imagine the exchange:
“‘Ave you anysing to declare?”
“Oui, c’est bon. Move along.”
But anyway, back to the night in question. Having the journey interrupted by an inconsiderate pyromaniac, I was pleasantly surprised by the response of my fellow travellers. The news was greeted with shrugs, gallic of course, jokes and a general movement toward creating car pools and taxi shares for everyone to get into town. No anger, no screaming at officials, merely acceptance. This does beg the question of how often this kind of things happens of course.
I ended up getting a lift from complete strangers who had been driving past and heard the news on the radio that there were problems. So they stopped by, picked up some people and took them to the centre of Paris, even offering an evening meal to my co-passengers and myself.
The apartment itself is lovely and I will be spending my first night there on Wednesday. I shall be sharing it with a colleague from Poland and one from Germany, so I’m sure it’ll be… amusing.