It’s day 4 of the Ketchup With Us numbered post a day challenge, hosted by Mel at According to Mags and Michele at ODNT. You can read my first 3 posts here: Five Fantastic Flicks from the 1980s, Five Feats Completed, and Six Books I Loved Reading to My Child. Today I decided to write about some things that happened to me and my friends while we were vacationing in France in the summer of 2001. We divided our time between the south of France – most specifically Nice – and Paris. However, it was while we were in Nice and other spots in the south that we ran into some “situations”. I would even call them…
Four Freaky and Frightening French Experiences
1) “Is This Seat Taken? Hey, like my knife?” While on the train to a small town called Aix-en-Provence, my friends (Sarah and Sarah) and I noticed a dude who seemed to be looking at us strangely. After a short time, he started walking towards us. And then he sat down in the 4th seat in our little area, across from me. I remember him holding a knife, rubbing the blade, and looking at us with a creepy smile on his face. Wisely, we got up and walked to another spot on the train, and tried to “lose him”. My Irish friend Sarah had a GIGANTIC hockey bag that she had to manoeuvre through the skinny train aisle, and so it wasn’t too easy to lose him. Luckily, when we got to the train station and off the train, there were “authorities” (AKA guys in uniform) there who grabbed him as he approached them. We guessed he was a known creep or something to them. We were relieved that he couldn’t continue to follow us…or so we thought…
Irish Sarah and me on the train, before the knife-wielding maniac came on!
2) “Open the —-ing Door!” Once we got to the town, after our train “incident”, we found a hotel and checked in. We decided to get comfy and have a nap. All three of us were sound asleep when we heard a pounding on our room door. We were jolted awake. Just then our phone rang. My Canadian friend Sarah answered, and it was the person working in the lobby. She was warning us that a former guest, who’d had our room the night before, was upset because he’d left something in there. We were, by no means, to answer the door. As she was taking this call, my Irish friend Sarah was getting up to answer the door. Canadian Sarah was yelling to stop, I was yelling – probably with a hesitant voice and confused look on my face, because I didn’t know what Canadian Sarah was being told on the phone – to keep the door closed, and poor Irish Sarah heard us just in time. We let the pounding continue, and were scared to death. We wondered if that creep from the train station had found us! What the heck was going on? Why would this former guest be so upset? What exactly was left in that room? Would he be able to break the door down? And then what? The pounding eventually stopped, we eventually calmed down, but we only stayed that one night there. From then on, we referred to this event not-so-lovingly as “the time when the killer came to our door”.
The view from our room at the hotel, taken before the irate former guest almost broke our door down!
3) “Didn’t Grace Kelly Die This Way?” We had a great idea to rent a car in Nice, and drive along the French Riviera. However, once we got to the car dealership, we realized that our choices were limited: rent a standard that neither I nor Canadian Sarah could drive, or don’t rent a vehicle at all. No worries. Irish Sarah could drive a stick. Poor, poor Sarah. She was put through the ringer that day. Yes, we only had the car out on the road for a day, despite renting it for several. I am, well, a control freak, and I’m cautious. And if you’ve ever been on one of those windy roads in the French Riviera, you’ll know they’re scary as hell! I mean, Grace Kelly died on one of these roads. Anyway, after feeling like I was going to die a number of times, I asked poor Irish Sarah to pull over. I got out of the car, I think I cried a bit, and I insisted on walking to the next town and catching a bus back to Nice. I was, in all honestly, scared poopless. I’m used to the wide lanes on our Canadian highways. I’m not used to teeny tiny lanes, tight corners, sharp curves, and water all around. Both Sarahs talked me back into the car after some time, and Irish Sarah drove as slow as possible on an alternate route back to Nice.
The view from the spot where I had a little breakdown, fearing for my life!
4) “Can You Tell Me Where…? —-You!” On one of our nights in Nice, when Canadian Sarah’s cousin came to visit, we decided to get dressed up and go out on the town. We did a little walking here and there, and while on our travels, we got a little lost. We stopped to look at a map. At that time, another traveller approached us, and asked a question. None of us understood him. He was frustrated, and then what he did next shocked me and my friends. They turned away, but I was still facing him, with a “Sorry, I don’t know” look on my face. He then spit into it. Disgusting, especially for a germ freak like I am, but also frightening. If the guy didn’t hesitate to spit in my face, would he be violent? He wasn’t…at least toward us. We walked away and that was the end of it. But GROSS.
Me after having someone spit in my face! Not happy!
Yep, I had some freaky and frightening experiences while in France. And, come to think of it, that’s the last time I was there. I haven’t dared to go back since. Is it any wonder?