I was in Paris on a mission to find a bus to get to London. I discovered Eurolines and was hoping to catch a 6pm bus from Paris to London. I get to the station to catch the bus and am told that the 6 pm is sold out. However, if I head to a different station across town, I should be able to make a 9pm departure from there. Unfortunately, they couldn’t book me on it there, so I had to head across town. So I get back on the Metro and get to a different station. There, I’m told that they are sold out, but I can be put on standby. I’m the 4th person on the list. The first guy is an Eastern European (I think he said he was Bulgarian?) who has clearly had some to drink. Then there was a couple, followed by me. So it gets around departure time and the guy at the window lets us know that there are 2 seats on the bus. The drunk guy gets the first one and since the couple didn’t want to split up, I got the last seat. I hopped in a seat right behind the driver and vowed to sleep the entire way so that when I got to London’s Victoria Station, I’d be rearing and ready to go.
Now, if I had still had my iPod, I probably would have slept, but since that had been stolen, I was left to deal with a lot of background noise. The drunk guy is now drunker than when I first saw him. He was situated in a seat in the middle of the bus and he would not shut up. He was going on and on in French and sometimes switch over to his native tongue. I was trying hard to block him out, but it was getting impossible. He was getting louder with each word and the people around him were getting vocally upset as well. Eventually, he got into an argument with one of the passengers. The only thing I understood was when he literally would rattle on and then he’d toss in a, “Blah, blah, blah…” I got a laugh out of that, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one.
We finally get to Calais to catch a ferry across the Channel to Dover. I had been asleep when the custom agents (who were from Belgium, not quite understanding that) ushered us off the bus and into a building. We stood in line where an agent checked our passports, and then they sent us to another building. Now mind you, it’s the middle of the night and most of my travel info for London is in my bag, stored under the bus, and I’m half-asleep. I get my white card and get to the part where it asks the address of the place I’m staying. I ask the line agent what I do if I don’t know the exact address, he tells me that I should be fine w/o it. I get to the front of the line and submit my passport and white card. Apparently, you do need to know exactly where you’re going, so I explain that I don’t have the address, since he had just moved to a new place and that all I have is a phone number, which isn’t accessible at the moment. He tells me that I have to go call my friend and get the address. I wasn’t about to call Jim in the middle of the night, so I stepped out of line and wrote down the address for one of the hostels I had stayed at and then got in line for a different agent. While she was looking at my white card, the agent I had first talked to came over to look my info over and he started questioning why I put a hostel address down. I just told him I planned to stay there as well during my trip and that I knew that address. He let it go and walked away. Then the lady with my white card asked me how much money I had on me. I was like, 10 euro. Yeah, if you have next to nothing in money and need to get out of whatever country you’re in, just lie. She said she couldn’t let me in to England with that little money. I quickly corrected myself and just said that was all I had in cash at the moment, but I had a couple credit cards (I didn’t) and that I was still a bit sleepy and asked for her to forgive me, which she did when she stamped my passport.
Whew…I was going to get to London.
We drive onto the ferry and I promptly try to find some place to sleep. I made space b/t some homeless men and tried to get some rest. I tried, really I did, but I wasn’t used to sleeping on a moving boat. Plus, one of the guys snored and to top it off, you could hear the drunk guy from any part of the ferry! As the ride was coming to an end and you could catch the faint outline of the white cliffs of Dover, they started announcing over the PA that our bus driver needed to report to the captain’s office. They announced it about 10 times and when we get on the bus, there’s are bus driver fast asleep. We let her know that they had been calling for her and she just kept saying that she cleared whatever it was up. Yeah, she failed that lie detector test. Finally, some cops came and asked her to step off the bus. Of course, we all looked out the window to see what was going on. We could see her digging through the luggage under the bus until she pulled a backpack out. It was the drunk guys. I guess he had caused some sort of disturbance on the ferry so he was getting detained in Dover. We cheered when she told us that!
Since it was still really dark out, I kind of saw the White Cliffs, but nothing substantial, they were more gray at that point of the early morning hours. And, since we no longer had a drunk on the bus, I slept all the way to London where I got off at the Victoria Station. I cleaned myself up and headed out to find my friend Jim.
One obstacle down, now I just had to figure out how to get to Scotland w/o calling my father for more money.