Day 25 - October 25, 2013
I get up at 4:45 so I can have coffee, read up on the sports from the night before and then take care of the 3 S's. Off to the bus station to catch the 5:50 bus to SS. Normally the bus comes by every 6-10 minutes. I realize that I have been sitting there for 15 minutes and I have not seen any buses at all. You can't walk anywhere in SS without constantly seeing a bus. Something doesn't seem right. I wait another 5 minutes and nothing. Are they on strike?
I start to walk back to the apt and then think, what the hell, I'll walk. I am walking at a good clip and notice that if I kick it up a notch, I might still catch the original 6:45 metro to Hendeye. I pick up the pace again. I can see the station and marvel at the fact that it took only 22 minutes to arrive. I have 8 minutes until it leaves, I'm Happy :) The machine excepts real money and I get my ticket and head for the train when I see over 100 teenagers milling around, some drunk, some stoned and it's only
6:40 AM? I look up at the displays to see which track the 6:45 is on and there isn't one listed. I rub my eyes and look again. The next train to Hendeye is listed at 7:15, WHAT? We took the 6:45 2 days ago, why isn't it running today??? Here we go, walk up to the conductor dude and in my best Spanish, I ask, Habla Ingles? He says no, figures! He calls over another guy and I ask him why no 6:45. He says it's a festive, WHAT? He can tell by the dumb look on my face that I don't understand so he says. Sunday schedule, WHAT? It's Friday. Turns out it is some kind of holiday here and that will mean that everything is closed, more on that later.
I'm watching all the teens milling around and am realizing that if they are going to Hendeye, I will have to beat them to the exit and into the line ahead of them to purchase tickets to SJDL. I'll show them!
Every stop the metro makes I hope they all get off. Where could they be going at this hour? They should be in school or sleeping. A couple get on and sit across from me and after a while they ask me if I speak English, WHAT? I say yes and we start to talk and I ask where are they from and he answers Nigeria, Cool! I tell them how I always wanted a Cheetah cub and they laugh, at me? Anyway, we pull into Irun (last stop in Spain) and all the teens head for the exits, Yeah!
Finally we get to Hendeye and I am right at the exit for the race to the ticket line. I jump off and beat everyone and then get another surprise. The next train to SJDL doesn't leave until 9:30, it's 8:00, SHIT! Must be the Sunday schedule. Tickets in hand I decide to across the street to a Boulangerie (now in France) and get a croissant. I look in the window and they are setting up so I assume they aren't open yet. A local passes by and walks right in, DOH! Get my goodies and head back to the train station for my long wait.
While sitting on a bench along the tracks I notice a cop coming my way. I look around and I am the only one sitting outside. I say "Bon Jour" and he starts talking to me as if I have a clue as to what he is saying. He makes some hand gestures and I ask him "Parlez vous, englais"? He says no and radios someone and gestures for me to stay seated. What the hell is going on? I'm eating my croissant and not bothering anyone. Another cop comes up and talks to the first guy and then asks me for my passport. I freeze, SHIT! I didn't bring it with. I pull out my drivers license and explain that my passport is in the apt in SS. He lectures me on having my passport with me at all times and then proceeds to ask what seemed like 82 questions. Finally he says it's OK and they leave. I laugh because I know that when I tell Julie this story I will get a very big "I TOLD YOU SO"!!!! Felt like I was grilled for an hour but only 10 minutes has passed.
Board the train to SJDL and 12 minutes later I'm off and in the Avis office to retrieve my GPS mount that we left attached to the windshield in the rental car. Half hour later and I am back on the train to Hendeye when 4 other guys sit around me. I am the only person in the front car, why are they sitting right next to me? 3 of them have uniforms from SNCF, a train company in Europe and the other guy boarded the train with me. They all know each other and as the train pulls out for our 10 minute journey, one of them starts to tell a story, in French, so I have no idea what they are talking about. They all laugh which causes me to laugh, nods all around and the story teller makes a gesture and I assume tells the punchline and they all laugh, I laugh too! The guy next to me slaps my thigh and shakes his head and we both laugh. They think I was listening and could understand them, NOT! They have no idea that I am just playing along. We come to the only stop between SJDL and Hendeye and 2 get off. The other 3 are still talking and laughing so I keep laughing with them only I am laughing at the situation, not a joke that I can't understand. Hendeye arrives and we all nod and say our goodbyes, Au Revoir!
Catch the bus which is now running and head back home to realize that all the stores are closed and we have very little liquor in the house. I panic and go searching. I remember a little ma and pa store that I passed yesterday while looking for the Cassis and they are open. I stock up and tell them how much I appreciate the fact that they are open to blank stares because they can't understand a word I say. Hasta Luego!
I am going to sit on my Ass after my 6 hour trip that should have taken 3. Time for cocktails, seems like the theme of our vacation :)