Thursday, 29 December 2011

Station to Station

I've never been a gypsy, a rover, someone with itchy feet, or any other of those vaguely romantic things.  But this is my last few days in the city in which I was born and in which I have always lived.  And I'm ready - in spirit if not in boxes.

Also tired, post-viral, post-Eurostar.  I thank whatever small gods that have dominion over Paris-Nord that I won't have to exit via that terminal again.  If something works, why not change it?  It used to be possible to drift into check-in, drift through security, drift into the departure lounge.  They have now instituted a queuing system which starts in the main concourse of Paris-Nord, stretching right across the main doors of the station.  Passengers are allowed up the escalator in small bites.  To join another queue in front of locked doors.  I looked somewhat longingly down at the "normal" Thalys train to Brux.

Check-in was like a milling crowd of sheep at an abattoir.  And thence to another queue, and another, and another.  Soon, people were panic-queuing and there was a long line to board the train in the lounge.  So early was the line that boarding was never even announced, we just went.

A strange kind of passenger seemed to be on board - the sort that would move one's suitcase, not just to another shelf, but about 10 feet away.  I wasn't best pleased when I couldn't find it.  The panic-queuing formed again in the train aisle after Ebbsfleet.  I looked out the window at Rainham as if to disassociate myself.  My aloofness was rather spoiled by the racking cough.

I am having a breakfast picnic of olive bread and hummus.

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