Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Guingampian adventure

On Monday I had to go to Rennes for my medical checkup for the titre de séjour. It was a little more than an adventure...

I awoke Monday morning to the sun...I jolted up in bed, knowing that it was well past 8am, and as my train left at 8h35, I was royally fucked. I raced to the bathroom, and midpiss I realized that even if I ran, there would be no way to make it. I started to panic, but I remembered that there was another train that left at 11h38 and arrived in Rennes 30 minutes before my appointment. I knew I would probably be late to the appointment, but it was better than missing it altogether.

Turns out I ran into another American doing the same thing and we actually made it to the office on time. I got a chest x ray, and I don't have tuberculosis. Huzzah! Everything checked out OK...hung out with Alexa for an hour or so drinking beer (it is cheaper than soda) and talking about our respective problems with men. It was great to talk to a girl who isn't very high-strung, like my roommate (that I really like, but can sometimes be....difficult) and the Irish assistant Krissy who adolescent.

We get on the train in Rennes and everything is cool. I talk to Alexa about books; we decide to do an exchange when we can. She is in a tiny town too, and we plan on doing fun stuff together.

Adolfo and I arrive in Guingamp, and we have 40 minutes before our train to Carhaix. We decide to promenade a bit...aaaand he gets us lost. I thought the train station was one direction; he insisted it was another. As I sometimes am way off with directions and realize that sometimes men are just better at those things, I let him lead the way. I know we are in deep shit when we turn into a residential area...there is no semblance of downtown, the police station we had passed earlier, or the train station. Our train leaves in 10 minutes. We are royally fucked-me for the second time that day.

Adolfo sees two men walking and asks them for directions to the train station. They laugh and say "You're 3 km from there....When is your train?....oh merde, you have no chance in hell of making it...let me drive you there." So this amazingly nice old man takes us to the train station, all the while in the car yelling "bouge! bouge!" to the cars that are going too slow. We get to the station one minute too late...there are no more trains to Carhaix for the night.

We are royally, completely, 100 percent fucked. (Redundancy for emphasis is not encouraged...)

This old man proposes to us:
I am hungry. Let me go home and have a bite. I will then take you in my car to Carhaix.

We insist that it is too much. Too nice.

I want to do it. I am a Muslim and we help our neighbors whenever we can. Let me go inside and tell my family what has happened and that we have guests for dinner.

We insist that we do not need to eat. That feeding us is too much.

You will eat some of my wife's delicious Moroccan soup. I insist.

So we ate Moroccan cuisine, met his family, and talked about how much we want peace in the world. It was beautiful. He and his son then took us back to Carhaix and refused payment. I have never encountered such generosity. In the United States, I don't know of any perfect stranger that would offer to drive an hour and feed two foreigners who missed a train or a flight. Never.

France is alright, I suppose.