I was writing that last post on the bus to Portsmith and as soon as I finished I walked up the front to ask the bus driver if we would get to the ferry terminal if we were late, he shrugged and said that we should. A strapping young Texan chap over heard me and said that he was catching the ferry as well. So I sat down and started chatting to him, and we didn’t stop chatting until 9 hours later when we fell asleep on the benches of the cafeteria on the ferry at 4 in the morning. He was the perfect travel buddy as he was full of stories, intelligent, personable, honest, opinionated and modest. Growing up he and his father were homeless when he was quite young, but they sorted themselves out and he studied very hard and got good grades. He is now studying criminology at the London School of Economics which Mike had told me in New York was a very good university – up there with Cambridge and Oxford. We talked about travel, philosophy, religion, economics, relationships and family – the whole shebang. Upon reaching St. Malo at 6:30 we shared a taxi to the trains station where we said goodbye and as I owed him two pounds but didn’t have it on me I told him I would shout him a drink when we meet up in London again. And I hope we do.
From St. Malo I caught a few trains to get to my little village. At one of these villages, St. Breiuc I was pretty keen to use the ‘facilities’ as I had been up all night talking and hadn’t had the chance. I wandered around, with pack on back and found one outside near the railway tracks. In typical French style I had to pay 20 centimes to get in, and I was willing to do so. Once my coin dropped in the slot, the door slid magically open, I stepped inside, and after a pause the door closed. I sat my bag down and looked for the lock, I slid the only lever there and the door opened again, and stayed open for about 5 – 10 seconds and then closed. Hmm, I thought, no biggie. Whilst sitting on the can however, I pondered what would happen if someone else put a coin in the slot, and just like reality followed the direction of my thought, it happened. My cries were too late and the door opened right up and stayed open for a very very long couple of seconds. All I could do was apoligise to anyone who walked passed. I felt quite the goose indeed.
I had about five hours to kill in St. Breiuc so I grabbed a caramel tea (amazing!) in a bar, ate a packed sandwich and then wandered around the town. I was a bit hampered by my large pack, but thankfully a guard told me to leave it at the door of a shop so I took full advantage of it. I walked around a music and book store for a while – Australia’s musical representatives being ACDC, Kylie, Nick Cave, Empire of the Sun and Midnight Oil – I figure if we are known for these acts then we are doing alright. In the book section I flicked through a kids book, but could only read the first page, so I moved on to the dictionary section. Here I found a French-English dictionary and I looked up ‘excuse me, what’s the time?’ which would actually be quite useful as I didn’t have a watch and I needed to catch the last bus to Rostrennen at 5:30. I tested out my new vocab on the first person near me and with my hand gestures he understood, and answered in French. I didn’t catch what time it was, but I was on such a high that I didn’t mind. I then proceeded to ask another five or ten people with mixed results ranging from confused looks to answering in English even before I did my gestures. I felt like a right local.
I then sat in the cold reading a very average book to pass the time as I waited for my bus to come. I was then joined by Caely and Julie who I would spend the next month with in Plelauff.