Saturday, April 25, 2009
Getting to Arles
So I got off the train in Arles having no idea where to go. The street I needed wasn't on any of my maps, and I had never been here before. Luckily there were street signs with names of hotels on them with arrows pointing where to go. Probably two miles later I am at my hotel. It looked so fancy and amazing from the lobby, and I approached the receptionist. I admit, I must have come across a bit cranky, but I was sweaty, tired, and having muscle spasms left and right. I pathetically asked if he spoke English, and he checked me in. I get in the elevator up to my room and face a labrynth of signs pointing me every which way. I'm sorry, but if a sign says "rooms 100-110 -->" I don't expect it to end at 105 with another two signs saying"<-- 105-107" & "-->108-116" and broken down four more times like that. I also don't expect the numbers to go 108, 104, 106, 111, 109, 110" on one side of the hall.
I finally find 110 and take out my key. I was initially impressed that they still use regular keys...and then I rapidly began resenting them for it. My keyring had two keys, and I could get neither of them to open the door. I tried about 10 times before I screamed obscenities, picked up my luggage, and went to ask the man at the desk for help. When we got back to my room, I asked him to open the door for me. He did, and went inside to try and open the windows and said "This 'door'?" all confused, and I pointed to the front door. Then he walked to the closet, confused, and I said "No, it was this door, I couldn't get it open." So he looks at me like I'm a fool, and we close the door (from the outside) so he can show me how to open. At last I'm inside and I collapse on the bed. I break out my laptop and..what's this? Absolutely no internet. Okay,okay, I can deal for 4 days. I decide to take a shower. It's a fabulous looking get-up with stone floor and two showerheads...except it is absolutely impractical. There is no slope by the drain, so all of the water simply collects until it overflows off the end of the stone pedestal. There were no bathmats or floor rugs, so when my wet feet hit the tile, I almost fell backwards and hit my head off the stone...and there weren't any handles to grab onto either...I had to catch myself with the toilet. Now, I don't know how Europeans shower, but if this is a flawless system I'm clearly doing it incorrectly.
This might all be very simple stuff, but I expected to show up and RELAX. I didn't think I'd have to work for it. Arles was supposed to be my Zen place, and so far it appears to be the opposite. Hopefully I will have the ambition to walk around town a bit later, I just really need to chill first.