When I returned from Vienna, I landed in Nice, hoping to spend one final night in my bed. After the encounter with Scarface and the other Romanian mafia-mate, all I wanted was the comfort of my warm apartment. I walked from the airport to the train station, suitcase in hand, to catch a late-night train to Antibes. I quickly discovered that on one side of the tracks the timetable had been punched out by a hood-rat, and on the other track, there was a display that due to electrical problems, trains were not running for the night.
I made my way back to the airport, shit out of luck, and was told that a taxi ride from Nice to Antibes – a 15 minute trip – would cost me 70 €. Too frugal to pay and too drowsy to care, I decided to rough it for the night and channel my inner homeless person. You know that bearded homeless man in the corner of the airport? The one who seemed like a reasonable man at one point but quickly lost his way? Well, he’s not homeless. He’s just a broke college student. Actually, he’s me.
I spent the next 10 hours in Terminal 1, attempting various sleeping positions and dietary options. Sleeping upright on the airport benches didn’t seem appealing, nor did fetal pose by the vending machines, so I settled for a rock-like couch in the Visitor’s Lounge. I took off my shoes, threw my jacket over my head to block out the blinding neons overhead, and tried to get comfortable. But with an announcement every few minutes telling passengers not to pack knives in their luggage, and an actual homeless man walking around, I gave up on sleep around 4 a.m.
The next few hours were spent deliriously watching the cleaning lady mop the floors and pretending like I was owner of the bathroom. My suitcase became my darling puppy, obediently following me wherever I went. By the time airport shops started opening around 8 a.m., I quickly huddled into a bookstore at the site of civilization. Mmm, Snickers for breakfast.
When morning rolled around, I made it to my lair in the bathroom, washed up, and headed back to the train station. That morning I was to catch a 7-hour carpool to my aunt’s house in central France, Auvergne. By 11 a.m. and after almost 30 hours of no sleep, my motor and verbal skills were shot. I met the driver, Simon, and the other 3 French carpoolers in a dazed and confused state. My foreign language skills began to deteriorate and I accidentally told one carpooler that he could sit in the front seat because he was the fattest (“le plus gros”), rather than the tallest (“le plus grand”). And when asked where I stayed in Vienna, I replied that I stayed in an eggplant (“aubergine”); I meant a hostel (“auberge”). During the 7-hour car ride, we talked about American and French fast food, films, European travel, and Frenchwomen’s tendency to not shave.
One long car ride and a homeless night later, I made it to Brioude, where my aunt picked me up from the train station. It was so good to see her and my cousins when I finally arrived, even if their kisses were slobbery.