pseydtonne: Behold the Operator, speaking into a 1930s headset with its large mouthpiece. (Default)
I don't know why everyone says Marseilles is so unsafe. Sure, I've seen pickpocket assholes. They transmit their intentions like I do when I drive. It's wicked easy to avoid them. If you've spent more than two weeks of your life in New York or Philly, Marseilles is a beautiful cake walk. Lyon is significantly prettier from downtown but Marseilles is gorgeous when the fog is clearing from the mountains while you're standing on the beach.

I liked Lyon for the exercise. It's wicked fscking gorgeous and full of steep hills to examine. I met a couple mothers from Leipzig (one a native, the other a DA originally from just outside Bavaria) while I was in Lyon who wound up in the hostel here as well. We drink during the evening until they put their ten-year-old daughters to sleep. The available one doesn't speak English let alone French but the DA and I could talk all night. I like them a lot, but I should move on if I'm going to focus on my French in my waning days. I wish I could find a German phrase book because the single one shaves her entire body except top hair and that's the tip of the iceberg. I have a thing for hair but the utter contrast intrigues me...

Did I mention how much weight I've lost since this trip began? I'm two notches tighter on my belt, meaning two inches of weight. I haven't seen a scale so I can't compare but I can see the difference in my face.

I return on Wednesday around... uhhh, 7 or 8 p.m. but I don't recall the details. Anyone wanting to pick me up from Terminal A at Logan would be a good friend.

My drag duffel inches closer to death with each TGV ride. Samsonite used to be a name I trusted but they're full of shit now. Don't buy their stuff.

I don't want to go home -- at least until I get to kiss a European. I'm falling asleep, so I'll catch you all later.
pseydtonne: Behold the Operator, speaking into a 1930s headset with its large mouthpiece. (bright-blessings)
[Originally written on Saturday the 18th, 16:45, on the TGV from Paris to Lyon.]

It's nice to have a working Qwerty keyboard again. One can only get partially accustomed to space bars that look like they've been through muggings. It turns out I really can touch-type: I usually glance a lot, even though I've been typing at a decent speed for more than a decade. On an Azerty keyboard the M key is a comma, the shift key ("majescule") the you have to hit shift to use the top row numbers (that's where they stash the accented characters in lower case) and the frickin' period.

I didn't use my laptop a lot after my first week of school. Surfing the Internet was only possible from the Internet Room and from certain parts of the chateau. I'd unlock my laptop from its chain, drag it up the hill to the Net Room and plug in the ethernet. They had wifi but I only used it when I had to so I could save battery power. I realized surfing was keeping me from French, so I stopped surfing most of the time. I'd still go to the Net Room because it was the school's equivalent of a water cooler.

I want to steal a glass-smashing hammer. Every train car has this special hammer that sits in an emergency case. Many of the windows have stickers with step-by-step drawings to explain how to use the funky hammer to smash the window safely. I'd take a picture so you could see the almost pornographic nature of these instructions for ruining a train window, but that brings me to my next topic.

My camera died. Correction: it up and died, just like the dog in the song "Mister Bojangles". I was taking pictures of my classmates on Friday. I turned it off, then attempted to turn it on when the teacher arrived. It wasn't interested in this On thing the kids are into. I tried changing the batteries, removing the memory card -- no change. I didn't even get a partial response: it just acted like the power button was decoration.

This is the second time I've had to buy a camera in a foreign nation. They're so much cheaper in America, but I need one if I want a visual record of events. I haven't tested the card yet, but I suspect it's fine. This means I'll have to buy another Sony or risk buying a memory card as well.

Why the fuck is everyone in the North of France bundled up on a mildly cool day? Does everyone get a call from mommy insisting that they wear scarves and parkas. The kid sitting across from me just put his sweater around him like a blanket, as if he were convalescing. We're on the train, which is barely ventilated and the sun is glaring through the window! I'm walking around in a T shirt and over shirt this afternoon. It was a lot colder at eight this morning: I put on my sweater, a jacket and my hat when I went to the post office. By the time I'd finished at the post office, I didn't need the hat.

The view outside is strangely similar to that of the upper Catskills from the New York Thruway: the distant hills give off a vibe that they're mountains but they're working on something at the moment and will call back. The big difference? The farm houses with smoke coming out the chimneys.

I'm already feeling the closure just by riding the train away from Paris. I can start a new chapter, even though I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I'm going to avoid the English language as much as possible, now that it's easier for me to function in French.

August 2016

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