Sunday, 19 June 2011

Beer at 08.15am

Did you ever have a beer at a quarter past eight in the morning? And I don't mean it being one in a long line of..., but starting at? Well, I did. This morning to be precise. And number two followed twenty minutes later. Now, before you start planning an intervention and sign me up for AA, don't worry, I needed and even felt I deserved them. Which of course doesn't sound that good, but I had been up since eight in the morning. Yesterday morning to be precise!!

Last Friday I left with a coach load of Iranians and friends from the Netherlands and headed to Paris. A town I've only ever visited by train and had never driven a coach in. Let alone a much longer than normal coach. During rush hour! Did I tell you last year I loved Paris? I stand corrected: I hated it!!! Well, the traffic anyway. I have driven in Rome and the South of Italy and I've driven in Ireland, both countries that aren't that well known for their driving prowess. Paris was worse! There were about a gazillion lanes on this massive roundabout and people were trying to get from one end to the other, occasionally scraping past each other or even facing each other.

Mind you, the look of the Eiffel Tower made up a bit for it again, but after our hour stay near said tower, I had to face the whole thing again! I was not a happy bunny I can tell you! When I finally made it to my hotel (which was different from theirs), I just wanted a drink and something hot.

Saturday morning I picked them up and we went to a massive exposition place north of Paris. There must have been about a thousand coaches filled with Iranians there: from the Netherlands (about 60), Germany (over 200 at least), Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Britain and of course France. I dropped my people off at midday and then I had to wait for several other drivers so we could go to our day hotel for our nine hours rest. After I had finally gathered everybody we drove up to the hotel where we would stay until about 10pm. We ordered 15 pizzas and drinks and at a quarter past ten at night we were back at the exposition halls. Most coaches had already left, the only ones still there were the Dutch ones!

I could leave at eleven and decided to make a straight line to the Dutch border, not bothering to stop anywhere along the way! Tiredness permitting of course, because even though we had been at that hotel for several hours, I had not slept a wink and had ended up watching (first) a programme about the 'Bois de Boulogne' and then the French Countdown (cijfers en letters) with some Pink Panther thrown in for good measure.

Well, tiredness permitted and at 3am I had made it to the border, where it was absolute mayhem, since the normally one way traffic was now two-way, because of roadworks and the detour after leaving the service area was well sign-posted, if you saw all the signs that is! I didn't and several others (coaches and articulated lorries) didn't and we would be send back into this system of detours, one way streets, blocked roads and what have you! But I made it back to the lot at around half past seven having only yawned once. Perhaps it was the smell emanating from the toilet that kept me awake, because that thing smelt something awful! Instead of using service station toilets, everybody had decided the on board toilet was best! Yergh...

By the time I had finished clearing the coach and parked it, it was just past eight in the morning and I felt I deserved a beer. Or two! Cheers!


PS: after I came home I didn't want to go to bed, but I was nearly asleep standing up, so I gave up and went to bed for a few hours. I feel a lot better now.

9 comments:

jabblog said...

I'm intrigued by the international gathering of Iranians . . .

Carolina said...

I think you deserved a sixpack. Minimum! Sounds like a nightmarish trip. And, like Jabblog, I'd like to know what kind of gathering this was. I'm tempted to say something about terrorism, but I won't ;-)

pepperfly said...

I sooo totally agree with Carolina: you certainly deserved a sixpack! Maybe two! I think you are the coolest bus driver I've ever met!

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, that was certainly an experience I wouldn't want to have, especially staying awake that long.
Congratulations on driving in Paris. We were so glad we didn't try.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Anvilcloud said...

Driving in any city is the pits. I don't even enjoy driving in relatively little Ottawa. I've spent too much time in smaller places, it seems.

CRY said...

I will only drink after 5 PM on a friday or saturday

Cindy said...

WOW, what a day....or two! Yes, I would've had those beers too! Glad you got some rest.

Gattina said...

I can only comment on this one due to my lazy internet connection ! Of course I had already beer or even wine very early mornings. It depends in which circumstances. My MIL used to give us a Thermos with wine and coffee (half and half) for driving back from Italy to Belgium !!
I don't like Paris either, I have been there several times and it gets worse and worse. People are just impossible and this rusty Eiffel tower is ready for the bin. If I am not forced to go there I will never return, that's for sure. Poor girl !
With little once it's certainly easier.

Reading the comments I suppose these Iranians were all political refuges and not terrorists.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Let me say that even though I did not drive in Paris I was in many taxis, cars & busses. On guy that drove us out to Versailles told us that the car on the right always has the right away. We were actually amazed when he drove around the Arc de Triomphe! The roads are so narrow, at least compared to the US. My husband drove from Paris to Italy. We had many laughs. One thing we noticed in France was all the rest areas they had however we came across several that were these stand up ones that I would not use either!
Yes you did deserve those beers.