We arrive to de Gare Perpignan as expected and head out to the front of the station to meet Julia our BnB host as planned. She has said its no problem to collect us. We wait and wait. Lots of people have come out with us and walked or been collected. We wait some more. We are looking for a small blue car. A phone call and we get her answer phone. We wait some more. Then she calls us. Gilbert picks up and I can hear her. It sounded a bit like “where the bloody hell are you? I came and waited and waited and you didn’t come!”
Gilbert tells her we are out the front. Straight out the door and where the pillars are. She says she will come back to get us. We wait and wait. Gilbert phones her again and she tells him ” YES! I and waiting but you not come. Where are you?”
Gilbert hands the phone to me and she is fair screaming. I can hardly get a word in. So I match her decibels. I can shout too lady! I decide to keep it simple so I say…
“I can see Hôtel de Paris Barcelone. I can see Hôtel de Terminus. I can see….” She stops mid sentence and finally listens as I keep repeating…
“What Hôtel de Paris Barcelone? Oh this is verrrry bard! You are at de RONG stazion!” she shouts. She has now gone up a gear with a lot, a lot of french. I’m thinking shit. Either we are at the wrong town or maybe we need to get a side train like from Auckland to Mt Wellington. I look around for a young French girl. These are the best to ask when you need help. I will give her the phone. She can figure it out. I’m a bit over listening to this screaming and I’ve waited an hour after seven hours on the train and I just might go and stay in Hôtel de Paris Barcelone myself.
Gilbert brings an elderly gentleman back to help me who is talking into my ear. I hold the phone out and listen to him but there isn’t really a word he says that I understand. What the hell. I can usually pick up something but the whole lot is different. I don’t think he’s speaking French I say to Gilbert. It might be Italian or something. Then two woman come up and I ask if they can help. I ask If they can speak to this man he is trying to tell us there is another station nearby where Julia may be. Julia is still screaming into the phone at my ear. I tell her to wait as people are helping but she doesn’t let up. OMG I can’t believe her!
Turns out the guy is speaking Spanish which one of the women can speak. So get this. I tell the lady who speaks English and French the problem. She tells her friend in French. Her friend, who speaks French and Spanish tells the guy, who only speaks Spanish and he tells her the station has an old side and a new side. We have to walk around the block to get to the new station. Salvador Dali. She tells the other lady in French and that lady tells me in English. Wow! I love the co operation. I yell at Julia “YOU. WAIT. Nous allons.” We come. We start to walk around the block and finally locate her. She’s red headed and does she fire up when she sees us.
We listen to the tirade and it appears we walked out the door to the left. The ‘ancien side’ when we should’ve come out to the right. How the blimmin hell are we to know this. I tell her we get off train and follow the crowd. They all go that way. “Nooooo she says shaking her head and looking at me as if I am making this up. Normalllly people not go zhis way. Normally zay go zhis way.” After five minutes of this I turn to Gilbert “Gilbert. Put my bag in the boot…” and start to walk to the door and open it. I’ve had enough of you lady. I just wanna go home. She’s full on all the way home which is ten minutes tops and we get into her apartment and she’s still going off. I put my hand up and say. “Ok. I am tired. I want a cup of tea.” And just stand there silent. She stops talking and says, “ok. Water here, coffee here, tea here” …and finally it ends. Jaysus. She’s a talker. She makes me look like a wall flower.
This is her cat. He gets up and starts to play with my pen. We both laugh. She tells me it is better to live with a cat than a man. I laugh and say I understand. “You do?” she asks. Yep. I’m pretty sure you are better to live with a cat than a man Julia!
Later on she tells me she has a very bad back. So bad she has to take strong medication. So strong she cannot drive and she is waiting in her car 1 hour for us and her back is verrrry bard. I understand and nod. I tell her I’m sorry she had to wait so long. She doesn’t tell me she is sorry for me, but hey. She’s got the bad back not me. All is good and we are smiling happy friends now. She asks if we want to go to the beach tomorrow . She will drive us. Yes! She has nothing to do all day. She can do whatever we want.