Bad luck is said to come in three’s or if you walk beneath a ladder or break a mirror, but as bad luck may have it, it is because i am male, because I am English and because I was in France.
A few hours pass and Gerrit has not arrived. I pull out my phone which I have used sparingly as for the necessity to contacting people on occasions like this. The red juice indicator flashes and turns immediately off. Great. Inside the café I sit myself down by the plug and according to me the adapter I have is for use in france, but after half hour ive put it down to French electricity that doesn’t so much like my phone. The phone wouldn’t charge. Without means to contact Gerrit, my choice was made, the city centre would have to be my next stop.
The lure of coffee and food Is always a good point to park yourself as drivers are always in need of sustenance, however if one’s point of parking is overcrowded with other thumb wranglers who have boobs and nice smiles, I’m automatically sent to the back of the que.
Two polish girls join my station, two nice girls who offered me food and vodka, which they had just persuaded a trucker to gift them with. Two Swedish girls then join the party, who just had to be the very stereotype of Swedish nationals, beautiful and blonde. The que that I started, which I should have priority over unfortunately doesn’t quite work on first come first serve when scavenging a lift and now that beauty and boobs are more prevalent than a lone man, you can sense my frustration when I notice that two different men who i kindly ask for help, deny my offer, only to offer their free seats to the very girls that joined after me.
Yes, men will obviously prefer boobs and beauty for company, I can’t deny that and in contrast to a mans logic my next lift after waiting four hours was with a young lady, perhaps unlike men, she saw kindness and good conversation in me, she even indirectly complimented me when she said she ‘couldn’t believe how it took so long for me to get a lift’. I like this girl.
The girl took me as far as the university she was attending, just on the outskirts of the city centre where there was a tram stop. Normally I get ticket machines, you know, select your destination and pay, but this is France. I did the usual thing when you walk up to a machine. Press buttons, see what comes up and put some money in. I did and I just couldn’t make sense of it. So I do the next most logical thing. I wait for others to use the machine. Okay, watch….and no one….no one used the machine, they all must have had a seasons pass or something because no one came and I missed two trams already trying to obtain a ticket. So I did the next most logical thing. Get on the next tram without a ticket.
These small acts of crime, moments of rebellion, at least somehow awaken the senses of a tired body. Everyone that got on the train was some undercover ticket inspector. My heart jumped at each stop on all fourteen stops into the centre. Every moment of eye contact I thought I was in trouble and right beside my slapped on the window was a sign, evidently stating the price to pay for travelling without a ticket. A price I did no wish to pay.
With that minor matter of bad luck redeemed, once plans were being made a few hours after arriving, the third pattern in the bad luck riddle offered itself.
Once in the centre, walking around narrow streets bustling with diners and drinkers a small computer shop was still open. Opening my email, the newest addition is from Gerrit. Gerrit did not stop near Montpellier. Gerrit stayed in the truck which was now heading all the way back into Germany, which for him was a good decision, unfortunate for me one could say as the German driver who took me to Montpellier was also heading to Germany. But now I’m in Montpellier city centre. The time is now 9pm. Not very ideal for finding another ride.
Google search hostels. There is one hostel. Google hotels. There are lots of hotels. Check first hostel, there are no rooms. Check hotel, there are lots of rooms. Price of hotel, too much, price of hostel was also too much. I was indeed in France. The cost of a flight to Athens was the price of a somewhat basic hostel here. Now I don’t know what you would do in this situation. I messaged people on Couchsurfing, but it was now around 10pm and gave up expecting a reply. I tried my cheek in some nearby hotels only to be told 50 percent off the cost of the room was not possible. Do I pay huge sums of money so I can place my head on a pillow or do i find a busy park in the centre of the city and wait for some homeless people to take their beds and then why not lie myself down next to them and take their cover as a homeless brother. Safety in numbers right.
Tucking myself into a sleeping bag with my jacket strewn over my backpack I try to nod off. But this park being the centre of Montpellier and not being of the grandest size, people and atmospheric music from surrounding venues only died out once the clocks hand was heading south.
A few hours later, after I did eventually nod off I abruptly become conscious, creasing open my eyes a Labrador’s nose had muzzled its way into the head section of my sleeping bag. A whistle later and the mornings alarm saunters off to a nearby tree and with my homeless compadres leaving me behind I got to my feet to leave.