May 2005

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Just had a shower, a really nice HOT shower. I had a pretty amazing day after I dumped my stuff at the hostel. He started to show me the sights around Aix’s main city area and then I ended up waiting for him to meet this son to pass him some ravioli. We chatted a bit and I found out that he was a chef and he invited me to dinner. I was little hesitant at first, and then he told me that a Chinese student rents a room from him and we would have dinner together. I thought, oh what the heck, and decided to risk it and see how it goes. We dropped by the supermarket and picked up a bottle of pink wine which I paid for (€4, and well worth every single cent) in exchange for dinner. We then carried the groceries back to his place and true to his word, I met his Chinese tenant 王榀 and her friend and four of us had a good dinner and a long chat. The old gentleman, Francis then dropped off at the youth hostel because it was too late and the buses weren’t running anymore. It was all in all a great experience, one which will probably never happen in Paris.

I’m sitting on a bench outside the hostel in Aix, waiting for the reception to open. Yeah, some hostels have lock-out periods and the reception is also closed for part of those hours.

Getting out of Lyon this morning was a bit of a pain because the metro lines that ran to the train station weren’t running (technical failure or strike I couldn’t tell) and so after running around and waiting fruitlessly for almost an hour, the friendly guy at one of the metro stops told me to walk (after I told him the tramway which ran to the train station was also closed) from another station. Luckily it was only about a 20+ mins or so walk. Good thing that I left the hostel first thing in the morning because I wanted to change my reservation to Aix instead of Marseille. It is yet another sunny day today. I think I’m getting a tan on my face and am considering buying a pair of shorts here. I haven’t seen the main town of Aix yet but it seems to be one of those small towns that I’m pretty fond of. There’s supposed to be at least 2 open-air food markets tomorrow morning and I’m looking forward to to that and also the flea market too. I started reading the book that my friend lent me last night. It’s a pretty good book and quite scary to read when you’re alone at night in a dorm surrounded by strangers, in a foreign city far away from home. Bad news is that I’m reading the book too quickly and I’m more than two-thirds through already. I decided to write more in the notebook but I think I will be running out of pages soon. It’s going to be a tough fight; a new book to read or a new notebook to write in. If I’m lucky, I mean really lucky, I might find both tomorrow and hopefully cheaply too.

Found the local hostel after a very steep walk up a road. Even for one used to walking uphill, it was still a feat to walk up that road with a backpack. First impressions of Lyon is that it’s cleaner and less crowded place than Paris. The metro is newer but of course not as comprehensive as the one in Paris.

I’m sitting in the small little pretty courtyard of the Musee de Beaux Arts, munching on my choc chip cookies after getting scolded by my friend for not eating properly. *grin*

Managed to get the night view from the Eiffel last night , but I had to wait till almost 11pm to finally see it. The day is very long now, I don’t even know what time the sun rises because it’s up before I wake. It rained while I was making my way back to the hotel and luckily I had my umbrella. It was cold nonetheless. I figure it was about 13-14C. I only managed to reach hostel at about 11.45pm. It sounds late but it doesn’t feel like it physically except that there were less people on the streets and metro.

I’m writing this on the train to Lyon from Paris. It’s the first time I’m taking the French TGV rail service I must confess it’s better than I expected. It’s much better than the Italian trains, but just a notch below the German ones. I didn’t make reservations for Lyon although I did call to check.

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