“You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best,
I’ve been gone for a month, I’ve been drunk since I left.
These so-called vacations will soon be my death,
I’m so sick from the drink, I need home for a rest…”
I planned to be in Parisian boutique hotel for seven whole days and—I was really looking forward to it. After all, it would be my last bit of vacation before I returned to Vancouver.
I had wanted to travel across France slowly, so I managed to get a 8 Euro bus fare from Bordeaux to Paris aboard Eurolines’ new affiliate, isilines. And far from cut-rate, the nine-hour journey was one of the most luxurious bus rides in my life: a brand new bus, free WiFi, electric and USB plug-ins, fully wheelchair accessible, clean toilets, and a friendly driver.
I used the WiFi to turn my smartphone into a guide book and map. Everytime we approached an interesting-looking place, I would look it up on my phone, read its history on Wikipedia, browse photos on Google Images, and explore the surrounding terrain on Google Maps.
I read that the city of Tours boasts the purest form of spoken French, that the town of Poitiers has a huge multi-media theme park called Futuroscope, and that those smoke stacks that resemble nuclear power plants near the highway are—nuclear power plants.
I arrived in Paris on a busy, rainy Sunday evening and arrived at the Hotel Jeanne d’Arc a little frazzled.
“Where can I buy a bottle of wine?” I asked the desk staff in French as soon as I’d dropped my bags in my room. He looked at me kindly.
“It is Sunday, Madam, and most of the small stores are closed but,” he smiled, “There are many places here in Paris where you can find a glass of wine.”
You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best,
I’ve been gone for two months, I’ve drunk wine since I left.
The patés and pastries will soon be my death,
I crave steamed rice and broccoli, I need home for a rest…”
Art and nature, I reminded myself. Art and nature.