I wrote this as one very long, very delayed blog along with my Amsterdam adventures, but to make it easy on you TV-generation kids I’ve split it into 2. So here’s St Etienne and AmDam’s below.
After a brief stopover chez moi (having had to explain to Elodie what a spacecake was…..), I headed to Saint Etienne on Tuesday to visit mon meilleur ami, Daniel. Arrived in Paris where I had the comfort of an hour to change trains, but naturally I’d done no research on where the other train station in Paris was, assuming it would be on a map somewhere. Helpfully it was and even more helpfully it even had the number of the bus I needed to take on it! So stood dutifully at my stop, whilst a woman talking to herself and with no regard for personal space came and stood next to me. Since the buses had a frequency of 10 minutes I began to think after 25 minutes the bus was not coming at all. Had to take one of Paris’ overpriced taxis, out of fear of missing trains. Explained to the driver that I was in a bit of a hurry, and could he step on it. This was definitely a mistake, as telling a Parisian taxi driver to drive quickly is a bit like telling Charlie Sheen to enjoy himself on a night out. He bemoaned getting 4 points and a fine the week before and seemed to be saying that this was unreasonable….I feel it may have been justly deserved. He also began telling me a story that was essentially “I had ‘a gay’ in my taxi last week”, and when I encouraged him to continue, that was it. Apparently the town John Galliano calls home is still shocked by this. He then asked me if I was gay and if it bothered me that men were gay. I asked why it would and he told me that because ‘almost all men’ were gay now, women like me would be fighting over men like him. I’m not sure anyone will be fighting over him. Anyway, he provided a minutely countdown to my train, which was 2 minutes away when we arrived, then conveniently didn’t have change of a 20, I can’t imagine he was taking advantage of my predicament!
Ended up missing my train which I was raging about, until I walked out the station and realised this meant I had another hour in the delicious Parisian sunshine. Phoned Daniel to let him know I’d be late and told me he was feeling rough, but that he’d explain later….thought this was a bit of an odd way to say ‘hungover’. When you have an hour to kill in Paris, you find a bakery. Did just that. I’m such a pie here, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted sweet or savoury so got myself a pistachio pain au chocolat and a salmon quiche, then when got the counter, spied some lovely bread with mozarella, so naturally had to sample that. I’ve honestly felt less about some guys I’ve been into than I do about Paris, I walk about that city feeling like I’m in love and just so fucking happy my face might break from smiling.
After an uneventful train-journey, I arrived in St Etienne and was met by Danny, who was at this point sporting a hat concealing 11 stitches he’d recieved the night before, explaining why he felt rough. Just another day in St Etienne when you get in an altercation with a Swiss neo-nazi. Very impressed though, he got jumped and managed to explain what happened to the police, whilst taking on board what the doctors were saying, whilst being wrecked and in shock. Anyway, arrvied chez Daniel, after a walk through St Etienne. I was constantly shocked by the landscape being mountains, up north it’s so flat, I’d got used to just seeing buildings when I looked up. After a quick tour of his (massive) flat, I was presented with a can of Irn Bru. At this point it should be reiterated. A boy wearing a celtic shirt (ahem, sellic tap), trackies and a hat to hide the 11 stitches he received the night before handed me a can of Irn Bru. Welcome to France. We headed for some drinks with some other assistants who were all good craic, he’s landed on his feet down there. So after a few jars, headed to a Pulp Fiction themed bar and installed ourselves there till like 4. They just don’t seem to have licensing laws the way we do, they close whenever they damn well please.
The next day, we decided to tackle Daniel’s injury. £20 lighter after a trip to the pharmacy (god bless the NHS) the two least responsible people in the world tackled a head injury. I didn’t envision my holiday to involve showering dried blood out his hair and cleaning a head wound, but that’s what friendship does for you. We were meant to be heading to Firminy, the town nearby where Daniel teaches, but after we left the house we managed to miss the bus, so returned, then missed the next bus. Very reminiscent of our uni days, I must say. Instead we saw the sights of St Etienne, I think Daniel was worried about keeping me entertained but I was happy just to be seeing a different area of France and to see him obviously. We even found a bar called Le Glasgow where we naturally boired. That night we had a few drinks, watched the inevitably-eventful Old Firm then headed to an Erasmus night at a cocktail bar, which had inexplicably cheap cocktails, that came complete with sweets on the straws and a door which warned “risque de sodomie”. The list of cocktails was written on the wall, but since it was just their names, you basically just guessed what would be good. They had some clever word play that I geekily enjoyed. The bar was called Vol de Nuit (Night Flight) so naturally there was a cocktail called this, and the cocktail below was called Viol de Nu (which means, essentially, Naked Rape). Danny, John from uni and I managed to be the last ones in the bar, and also very tipsy. For some reason when exiting you have to use a different door, which you have to go up a steep set of stairs to access, then go down other stairs and you’re in a close. The door was locked and for some reason in my drunken head I was A. good enough at psychics B. fearless and C. strong enough, to work out the weakest point of the door and kick it in. Thankfully it did not come to this. Inexplicably found a large block of ice on the way home, and
The next day was Firminy day. We had a jaunt through the town, again taking in the local market, and basking in the unseasonable sunshine. Whilst trying to find a restaurant for lunch I happened to notice a sign with the date on it, and pointed out to Daniel that it was wrong and that it had tomorrow’s date. He told me I was a daft cunt and at this point I realised that I was going home the next day and not the Saturday as I’d previously thought, so unfortunately didn’t have time to visit nearby Lyon. I text Mickael to tell him this, since he was picking me up from the station and he told me he already knew that. I’m now stupid to the point that everyone else knows what’s going on in my life but I don’t. I digress, we spent a nice day in Firminy, and went to see both of Daniel’s schools. I never thought about it till I left, but there’s actually like no trees in Pas de Calais, so it was nice to see a bit more naturey-France. It was stunning and very typically French whereas I don’t think the north looks particularly stripey-top-and-bicycle-pass-the-baguette French.
Had to go to John’s place on the way home to pick up Danny’s laptop and 2 bottles of wine later decided we should head for some drinks. Returned to the scene of the crime where Daniel recieved his nazi-donated head injury and had a few beers. Naturally like the child I am, I chose Duff since I like the Simpson’s.
Since returning, I have returned to school, where I have now had my classes moved to a meeting room, which whilst the chairs are exceptionally comfy and there’s Salvador Dali prints, I now have no blackboard, which makes teaching rather tricky. In other news, after a night on the vino-vodka cocktails, I was so stupid the next day I managed to leave money I’d just taken out, right at the cash machine. Whilst being overdrawn, in debt to my mammy and trying to save money for coming home to Glasgow, I feel I need to stop being so blonde. Remedied this the next day by walking into a metal street sign, which, when I saw the other side, ironically stated “attention!”………c’est la vie!