mardi, novembre 22, 2005

Train Surfing

After dropping Piet at CdG today, I had a slow meal at the Airport McDo, waiting out the strike. I go to the train terminal in Cdg Terminal Two and learn that, yes, the trains are running, they are sending one into Paris every thirty minutes....

Thirty minutes becomes 45 or so before the train shows up. It is gawd-awful cold waiting in the very large, semi-impermeable wind tunnel of a station. I keep pacing back and forth, thankful I wore my lined raincoat.

We're at the actual end of the line, so when the arriving, grateful looking group that stumbles out of the train makes way, we get on, and the engineer moves from one end of the train to the other, the rear end becomes the front, and after another very cold fifteeen minutes or so sitting in a dead train, doors wide open, wind rushing through, we power up and head down the tracks in reverse, toward Paris. There aren't very many of us, and I figure rush hour should be over by now, and what rush there is should be leaving the city, not returning, so I take a comfortable seat and look forward to a quiet ride home.

That lasts about five minutes, until we arrive at CdG Terminal One. I donate my seat to someone in this second wave of riders and stand. We're pretty full, but not insane. I guess these people had been waiting for a while....

The next stop is the Parc des Expositions. A throng of people waiting to get on, a throng of people pressing in. We're at maximum capacity and then some. I have to stand in the aisle, and I'm not alone. From then on, every stop we pass has waves of people waiting to board, few able to squeeze in. Looking at ttheir resigned faces, it feels a little WWII, a little mass evacuation. There are no overhead handholds where I'm standing, no convenient place to grab hold of, so I take this as a challenge and spend the next hour (a long ride) train surfing into the city. Didn't fall once. Glad to get home.

But in bed that night, as soon as I closed my eyes the sensation of the train floor pounding under my feet and driving me forward vibrated to vivid life. Just like with real surfing, the physical memory is uncanny, making me feel like I am rattling headlong while I simply lay in bed.

Great fun!