Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Holy Shit....and Paris??

Confused? Let me try to explain!

I received a call on Sunday morning from my wonderful friends, Dan and Pam. It was Dan on the line, which I thought was a little weird for him to be calling me (instead of Pam) and at 8AM Memphis time (3PM Brussels time). Anyway, he asked if I was awake and when I was coming home. I told him I was awake (although not out of the bed) and I was leaving Memphis on Monday evening. He said...."Oh good, we have one more night before you come back". I was thinking....gee, thanks, I love you too!!! I was not prepared for the story he was about to tell me....

Dan said he received a call from Caesar (the guy who cleans my apartment) Sunday morning. Caesar came to my apartment and found a very unpleasant surprise....raw sewage floating in my bedroom. Something happened to the plumbing in my apartment building and everything (and I mean everything) from my upstairs neighbors was coming out of the toilet in my bedroom and covered the floor.

Dan came over to assess the situation and it was BAD! He said it had not gone out of my bedroom (which was nice) but my the floor was covered. He got in touch with the owner of my building who came over to check out the damage. Dan met the first plumber on Monday morning....and the plumber literally RAN out of my apartment after seeing it. They called in a specialist to come Monday afternoon. The specialist came out and fixed the problem and started the clean-up process. Monday night another cleaner came in and by Tuesday (after Caesar cleaned it again) everything was all cleaned up and the smell was gone!

I left Memphis on Monday night heading back to Brussels (with Maxie). The flight was fine and uneventful. Now the story really gets even better....

We flew into Amsterdam where we hopped on a train heading to Brussels. Maxie did great on the flight and slept most of the way! We were both tired and slept some on the train. Upon approaching the stop in Brussels, I got up and organized all of my luggage to be able to get off the train without any problem. The train from Amsterdam to Brussels made several stops in different cities along the way. When we were approaching Brussels and stopped, the sign said Brussels Zuid. I knew I was suppose to get off at Brussels Midi. I was a bit confused and asked a local guy (who was really from Holland) if we would be stopping at Midi. He looked around and yes, I believe so, this sign says Zuid. I said, ok, I will just stand here with all of my luggage until the next stop.

The train started again and was going really fast. I thought it was a bit weird because the Midi stop should have been really close. I turned to the guy and said....we are stopping at Midi, right?? About that time the train conductor came through and we asked him when we would be stopping at the Midi station. He said we just left Midi....I said, no, we just left Brussels Zuid. He said Zuid is Midi and we are on our way to Paris....NON-STOP!!!! I said....PARIS???????? He said, yep and an hour and a half later I found myself in the City of Love...Paris, France!

It was a total misunderstanding of the languages here in Brussels. See, I was on the train from Amsterdam (Dutch country) where when going to Brussels the signs are in Dutch (Brussels Zuid). I have always come into the train station from a French country where all the signs were in French (Brussels Midi). So depending on the country you are coming from makes the difference on the signs and what language they are in. No one ever told me about this nor have I read it in any of the million books I read getting ready to move over here. HUGE detail left out of these preparation books!!!!

All I could do is sit down and laugh. This would happen to me after traveling 12 + hours and ending up in Paris via a 10 minute stop in Brussels where I stood at the opened door and stared at my stop without getting off!

Once in Paris, the train conductor must have felt sorry for me. He walked me right over to another train bound for Brussels and did not make me pay for the ticket back.

Can you believe that story? There is a saying which goes..."That which does not kill you makes you stronger". I should be as strong as nails by now!!

Oh, and one more thing....I got a speeding ticket in the mail today! Yay me!

On a positive note....I did get elite status on Northwest Airlines for another year!!! I am trying to find some good news somewhere!!

1 comment:

  1. Tippa....that made my day to read that. How funny!!!! At least you are back home safe and sound. Nothing like a little detour to Paris. haha!