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.