Paris Night Train: Your Worst Nightmare

Oh my lord, this is the SKETCHIEST thing I’ve ever been on. So this is the “night train” to Paris. I imaged a nice little room like on the ferry, some modest but comfy enough beds. It’s just a tiny room, smaller than the compartment on the train I took from Rome to Venice. And SIX PEOPLE supposedly will sleep here tonight. Six. People.

I’m so scared. I will let you know how it goes.

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I just tried to make my bed on the top bunk. If I were elderly, I would have absolutely died.

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Imagine stuffing six people, each with a huge piece of luggage, into a train compartment no bigger than a modest bathroom. Then try to imagine how the seating would foldout to make six beds (three bunks on each side). Then imagine that three of your roommates for the night are Nigerian, with one reeking of smoke, and another one on her cell phone the ENTIRE night. The last one I’m pretty sure was a prostitute. It was a hysterical night. You know when something is so ridiculously terrible that it’s hilarious? Well this was one of those! Unfortunately, one of the setbacks of traveling alone is not having friends to share such memories and laugh about them later with. That’s OK though, I’ll hoard this terrible night for myself.

One of the other girls in my compartment was Australian. She was older- 33 I think. She explained to me that she had been in Italy trying to make things work with her husband, and was now leaving because it was over and they realized it wouldn’t work. She wore a tired and sad expression most of the trip. I’m sure our situation didn’t help her weariness. She would look at me and sigh, mumble something like, “I can’t do this, I need to get out of here,” and I would just laugh and cover my face in my hands.

We escaped to the dinning car for a snack, and met a hilarious young Iranian couple. The husband owned his own business, and the two of them traveled often and all over together. The wife was a sweet, smiling girl who told me about where they visited and where they would go next. We talked a bit about why they haven’t been to America yet. The husband said he was afraid, believing everyone carried guns everywhere. This is a common perception of Americans worldwide. I tried to explain that it’s not like that everywhere in the states. Then the wife leaned over towards me and whispered, although loudly enough that everyone could hear, “He does not like the black people though, and there are many of them in America, yes?”.

The Australian girl and I looked at each other and chocked up an awkward laugh. “No, no,” said the husband, “I do not hate them, I just…” then the wife cut in, “Well, OK, no, but the homosexuals you definitely do not like,” to which the husband simply gave a weak shrug. They were actually an incredibly friendly couple, and we exchanged contact info before parting ways.

Just as a note: This is what everyone thinks about Americans. They think we all carry around guns everywhere we go and are nuts. I tried to explain how it’s not like that in all parts of the country, and even where it is common to have a gun, it’s not as if you are really in danger ever… but then I realize- hey, that does sound scary! No wonder they don’t want to come here.

Meeting them was the one glimmer of light in the hell that was the night train. I got no sleep, someone left the lights on all night, and people were talking and hollering all night outside our door. Never again night train, never again.

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