Saturday, July 21, 2018

one reason to love the internet: purchasing tickets from afar

With the internet, I no longer have to go to a travel agency to find a decent deal on a flight. And since I know French, I can traipse on over to the SNCF website (SNCF = Société nationale des chemins de fer = France's state-owned railroad company) to get train tickets without having to deal with surly employees au comptoir (at the counter). I had been trying to buy un aller-retour (round-trip) ticket from Paris to and from the town of Niort, which is only a few kilometers from my buddy Dominique's B&B; the aller part wasn't a problem, but I kept getting a "train non ouvert" message ("train not open") every time I tried to select a train for the retour to Paris. In the end, I gave up and bought just the aller-simple. I'll worry about the retour once I'm there. And since I'm going to be on vacation, I said "fuck it" and bought a first-class ticket, which was only a few euros more expensive than deuxième classe.

It'll be a bit of a race to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to La Gare de Montparnasse, but I've given myself almost a two-hour window to do it: arrival at Roissy (Charles de Gaulle Airport) at 6:30 p.m., TGV from Gare de Montparnasse departing at 8:22 p.m. Since I won't have any checked baggage, I can spare myself the hassle of waiting at the baggage claim and can simply proceed past passport control and out into France itself, into the wilds of the Paris Metro, which has doubtless evolved over the intervening years.

Dominique and I have been emailing furiously back and forth over the past 24 hours, and he tells me not to bother taking a cab from Niort to Le Vanneau-Irleau: he'll simply drive to Niort to pick me up. So I've got dat goin' for me. Which is nice.

In case you're having trouble picturing Dominique and his lovely family, here's a pic from January of this year.

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