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Published: October 22nd 2006
If you need confirmation as to what train will get you where you want to go, don't have any illusion that you are safe asking a conductor. After asking one, I confidently settled down for the journey. I was on my way to Toulouse, at least that is what I thought. No doubt I made good joke fodder that night for the conductor and his drinking buds. He gave me the nod in the opposite direction somewhere in Massif Central.
It was late at night so I decided to quit fighting it for the day, epecially since I was told there were no other trains heading south to Toulouse. I was bone weary, didn't want any hassles at all. Brive-la-Gaillarde
was the name of the obscure town where I landed. Fortuately I had no trouble finding a sleezebag hotel for less than €20. I don't need the Ritz, I just need a place to flop.
So I checked in and went up to my room. Wow, that was just too easy. So easy in fact a rush of energy came upon me, and I decided before I flop I will check out this obscure town and find something to eat.
So I deposited my large backpack, went back downstairs to check the old city out. A few blocks from the hotel I noticed that I didn't have my little day pack... the one with all my closer essentials. Hmmm... I thought... I must have left it in the room. Oh well... I really don't need it anyway... I have my ID, as well as cash, etc. that I don't leave in my day pack anyway. So I continued on... went and checked out the dull and dead city of Brive that I was stuck in for the night. Walked up to the cathedral in the dark. Nothing was open, the streets were vacant. So this was my little fruitless walk. Would have been better to just stay in the hotel, I thought.
Since there wasn't anything to see I headed back toward the hotel. I stopped at the pitiful bar and hotel across from where my hotel was, about the only place in the town that was open. I joined the transient French that were staying at this dive of a hotel, bought a miserable little sandwich and blended in with the losers smoking and drinking and watching soccer.
I then left and went across the street to the hotel, went upstairs, to my amazement my day pack was NOT there. Where was it? Did I leave it on the train? In my hassle on the train, did I forget to grab it? Did I leave it on the counter as I checked into the hotel? I would check there first before I went to the train station to start my futile search for a missing bag.
Downstairs I went... to talk to the lady at the counter who was NOT the woman that originally checked me in. So now I am dealing with another PERSON, neither of who spoke English anyway, to ask if a black pack had been left on the counter. Her blank expression told me she knew nothing about it. I frantically gave the area a visual scouring. On the counter... inside inside the counter area, in front of the counter. ohhh... miricle of miricles... there, on a stool, was my pack... sitting there untouched.
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