Danimal and I arrive at Gare de l'Est in the afternoon, immediately greeted with muggy air and a blazing sun. Figure out how to get to our Airbnb alright but once again, my o2 sim does not work. (Eventually I get myself a local sim a few days after, people tell me that they changed the regulations and do not allow roaming as of last week. Lovely timing.) So we get to the front of the building after a healthy walk from the station, but no way to get in touch with the host. Try to look for her in the list of residence but no luck. Tension amounts as we stand helpless, drenched in sweat. Quiet of the neighborhood contrasts the inner frustrations. After walking around for about an hour I finally see a vaguely familiar face coming out of the building, looking rather concerned. Ines, our lovely host was patient enough to wait for my dumbass before heading out for the Father's Day. I feel deeply ashamed.
Upon taking advantage of wifi while Danimal snores, I find out about Fete de la Musique, the international day of music which is a day after we leave Paris. Now my plan to go back to Ams seems less attractive; if I stayed here till the day the streets fill with guerilla performances of all kind, I can head straight to Switzerland in 4 hours instead of 8. As much as I would love to reunite with some faces in Ams, I have to do this - make a Skype call to NS Intl. This comes back to haunt me later.
We wake next morning miraculously on time (alcoholic level = Bavarian) to pack and clean Ines' place, give ourselves enough time to secure Danimal's return ride to Amsterdam at Gare du Nord. I'm pretty confident that Danimal's reservation is intact but I don't wanna risk it. Also, not so sure about my updated itinerary to Zürich, sice the E-ticket says it's for 20/7/2017. We wander around a bit to find a window with a SNCF representative, needless to say that proves to be the least of our worries. I show him the confirmation email, but he doesn't see our reservation in the system. #facepalm. But here's the confirmation email! Do we have tickets or not? Do you recognize, and/or accept tickets you yourself sell online?
I try my hardest to be patient, then a guy I assume to be a supervisor stands inappropriately close to my face and starts yelling to our guy behind the window, like a bully ordering a skinny kid to go fetch him lunch. The breath, the smell, the heat. A true test of my patience. Remember to pack a sweatband next time. I'll be rocking it like Dirk Diggler circa You've Got the Touch session. Or C. Riley. Eventually this Bully with bad breath takes us both to the platform, and talks to a dreadlocked black guy standing by TGVs who says "No, Thalys does not deal with E-tickets. You just have to show us your email." I show him the email and he goes, "Yes, he's good to go." Then the TGV points at me and goes "YOU, I have a big problem, but him we have no problem with." Relieved, Danimal almost goes for a hug, me not so much. Well at least one guy who travels today gets on a train. Guess I'll have to spend another hour or two on a phone with NS Intl.
I turn to my D'Animal and say farewell as this is the end of #danimalandshinja - I regret that I feel annoyed and frustrated but it does not concern him. Thanks to him, we explored the borders that I hadn't planned to, ate and drank more than ever in quality and quantity, met people that taught me the true meaning of #zerofucksgiven. I will cherish the night spent air guitaring to Rust In Peace in our boat after the bar hop in Amsterdam, re-establishing that it is THE BEST METAL ALBUM EVER. It's been a true adventure, my friend. See you back in beautiful South Bay.