Ze Eurostar

My BMF* is getting married this week end. In Paris. It’s going to be a very civilised affair: the groom will wear a standard suit (“maybe no tie”), the blushing bride will sport a seven month bump, and from what I can tell the very extensive programme of activities will mainly consist of a quick dash to the mairie followed by a lot of champagne.

Vive la République!

Now that I’m living in London, it’s an excellent excuse to try the Eurostar. Yes, I know, the thing has been going since 1994, but I have never professed to be on the cutting edge of, well, anything really.

Observations:

1. The logic that made me decide to stay for a week to take advantage of cheap mid week tickets is flawed. Ticket cost: £70. Daily cake allowance: £10.50. Cost to thighs: endless.

2. Train station hell is the new airport hell. Yes, St Pancras is very lovely with its lofty high ceilings and exposed bricks and champagne bar, but get to the gates and all hell breaks loose. British people and French people queuing. TOGETHER. If I knew anything about physics I would make some sort of witty analogy involving neutrons and hadron colliders and things that explode when they come into contact with one another. But I’m not, so I will just say DO NOT CUT IN FRONT OF ME IN THE LINE, PUTAIN DE BORDEL DE MERDE.

3. Crowded train travelling at high speed in a thin man made tube under millions of cubic meters of salty water. Why can I take liquids on the Eurostar and not on planes? Discuss.

4. Since when is £100 worth €101? It is the end of days, people. THE END OF DAYS.

5. The Pain Quotidien at St Pancras is the most crowded of the food and beverage outlets. We belgo-french sneer at your Wheterspoons and your fish burgers. Your crappy conveyer belt sushi, too.

6. Let us not talk of the train boarding experience. It is similar in feel to being packed in a metal tin next to your fishy friends in a pungent tomato provençale sauce, but with the bonus treat of being shouted at over the intercom in two languages. And loud annoying people talking on the phone about “incentivising bottom lines.” And french grannies moaning and tutting. Gaaaaaaah.

7. The countryside between London and the tunnel is bleak.

8. There is a disappointing moment when you realise you are already in the tunnel under the sea. There’s no announcement, no warning, no klaxon. Just 20 minutes of dark concrete walls, during which you have to admit to yourself you were hoping against hope for see through glass walls. Let me also direct your attention to the complete lack of wifi or electrical sockets. You suck, Eurostar engineers.

9. The countryside between the tunnel and Paris is bleak.

10. Gare du Nord. What the actual shit. Welcome, wealthy foreigners! We are a third world country. Please donate your local copper coins so we may invest in, oh I don’t know, signage/waiting areas/soap/customer service agents who speak to the customer rather than each other/ceilings/trains. At least the Vigipirate** level was sufficiently low that there were no machine gun toting death squads military milling about for that “Welcome to Kinshasa” feel.

Anyway, I am here and enjoying a diet of mostly animal fats, so I doubt there will be much bloggage for the foreseeable future. I may do a follow up post on the wonders of Paris (cheap public transport! streets paved with croissants pur beurre! philosophy magazines at the corner shop!) but don’t hold your breath.

* Best Male Friend, not Bad MoFo. Quoique.

**Vigipirate is France’s national security alert system, intended to prevent or react to terrorist threat. Because nothing makes you feel safer than, hmmm, a vigilant pirate. Arrrrrrrr.

Comments
5 Responses to “Ze Eurostar”
  1. Ah ha, been there done that, and not so long ago. The true horror of the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras is that one is forced to wait to board/queue amongst thousands of grotty little children being taken to EuroDisney (even during the week when they should be in school, as the Accidental Mother tutted!). Eurgh, the stupid ride-along plastic suitcases, the sticky fingers that clutch at one’s luggage, the copious pink, sparkly tat!

    So much for the glamour of international travel…

  2. Ammo says:

    Congrats on your first ride! I agree, the lack of see-through walls is a total let-down.

  3. Montgomery Smuts says:

    I agree.Really what is the point of this undersea train tube if there is no chance of sharing glanses with fishes, peering at sub-aquatic sea-monsters or having your carriage caressed by the tentacles of a giant squid?

  4. alison cross says:

    Wedding sounds like a blast!

    The thought of the Channel Tunnel fills me with dread. I don’t know what scares me most – being surrounded by earth under the water or being surrounded by water whilst in a tunnel.

    None of it is good.

    So – how’s life in Teh Lahndahn!?

    • fatpony says:

      Wedding was lovely. I cried like a baby.
      To be honest the tunnel is barely noticeable – it’s over before you know it.

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