Weekend in Paris: The Night Before and The Morning After

Remember the old Western adage from the Murphy’s Law that goes like “Whatever that can go wrong, will?” That is exactly how the start of my Paris trip went.


Thursday, March 19th was Mijn Knap’s birthday and we have already planned that day a month ahead. He booked the ticket and I have saved up enough money to buy him some gifts. Everyday for the last two days before his verjaardag, I bring him cadeautjes, from a Spa Set from Douglas, a striped blue and white sweater andon the day itself, a fruit tartje from Bijenkorf . I also planned to cook a very special meal for dinner with a good red wine.


Unfortunately, I forgot that I have to send my video for my story on Filipino games to the TV station for editing that same night. I was relax about it since I know that it only takes maybe a couple of hours to cut to cut the whole thing, record the voice over and send it to Manila. Turned out that it will be a whole lot of trouble.


I discovered that most of my shots are shaky and there’s no effects on the editing software that can cure that mistake. I was already on the verge of crying while imagining how the quality of my first story would suffer because I wasn’t able to figure out how to fasten the tripod to the camera.
Sweet and thoughtful as he is, Mijn Knap took over the cooking and spent half of the night with me trying to find a software that can correct the problem. I was already irritated, ready to throw a tantrum but unlike when I was a younger, I kept silent while we scout the internet for possible softwares to rescue the videos. But no matter how I tried to supress the frustration, it came out at one point and sparked an argument. When he retired to bed at around 11PM, out of exhaustion in arguing with me on the night of his birthday, I let the tears flow. At that point, I have only two options, finish the editing and send it even with the terrible shots or not do it at all. I realized that its better not to be a perfectionist the first time rather than risk my reputation as being late in submission. I sent a very big video file, recorded my voice over, packed my bags and joined him at about 2PM. I was praying for the best before I dozed off.


At 5AM I was already up checking if the upload was complete and thank heavens it was. I decided to go back to bed to sleep some more and woke up 2 hours after. Our bus will be leaving at 9AM so I woke up Mijn Knap, rushed to make bacon and ham sandwhiches, checked our luggages and took a shower with him. We were ok already the following day and all excited about the trip.


After shower, he pulled me close, lovingly kissed my forhead and asked, “How do you feel now that your dream is finally coming true?”


A little frustrated, I said,”I don’t know”, which is true because no matter how I tried to be happy, I can’t feel that way. “I think I wouldn’t believe it until we are there already. It’s just unbelievable even to be living here in Europe.”


He gave me a smile, squeezed my hand and off we went to catch the train to Rotterdam, leaving a little too early at 8:09. We arrived in Rotterdam fifteen minutes after in a cold Holland morning with nothing to do but wait for the Eurolines bus in Kruisplein. After smoking several sticks of sigarettes, we cant bear the cold anymore and decided to have coffee. In between our conversation I was texting somebody to get the mother who was included in my report but forgot to get the name and my mother to ask for load for my cellphone. At 8:50 we went back to Kruisplein to wait some more.

Oddly I couldn’t see any other tourist looking person standing int he waiting area, an indication that the bus might not come there. I bugged my boyfriend to call Eurolines already but the call center opens at 9AM, the same time that the bus is suppose to come. I was agitated, worried that we have already missed the bus. Suddenly, a Eurolines bus passed by in the street at the end of Kruisplein.

“That couldnt be our bus, or could it,” I asked him, even more worried at that time.
Before he can process my question, somebody from the Eurolines. And yes I was right, we just missed our bus because they have already changed the bus stop. From Kruisplein, it was moved near the Eurolines office near TNT (I cant remember the name of the street at the moment).


I was angry and disappointed, willing to cry once again for another failed expectation. The guy Dennis from the call center told us that he will call the driver so he can come back for us. The driver actually was supposed to circle around Kruisplein and look for passengers in the old stop. But he didnt.


Well to cut the ranting short, the driver didnt go back and we ended up waiting some more amidst the cold at the door of Eurolines office. They open at 10.30AM, just when the first bus to Paris is probably already in Belgium, leaving a customer no time to complain and still catch the trip if something goes wrong.


In fairness to the company, they tried very hard to make things better. The lady behind the counter told us that nobody in the call center knows how to speak French while hers is not so good so maybe the driver didnt understand. So the driver was French-speaking and hailed from Belgium.


I joked “Oh that’s terrible combination!” and had the first good laugh since the night before. Our best choice is to catch another bus leaving at 1PM from Breda and that’s 3 hours to burn. Since we dont have so much choice, we just let things flow.
It was in the Eurolines office that I got a text message from Manila that my video can’t be read. It was in .avi file rather than .mpeg so their system couldn’t read it. I could go back, changed the file extension and send it again but I just told them Im already on my way to Paris. Ill be able to send it Monday evening the earliest. At the ticket station in Rotterdam, we also learned that the train to Paris, Thalys which we were contemplating on taking has been canceled!Well, if things can go wrong, they will!


The good thing out of the trouble was that, I still have some time left to buy the software to correct the shots and make my video a bit better. God’s little way to make things smoother for us.
While waiting in Breda, we have another round of coffee in this small cafe near the train station. By 12.50 I was already worried again of not seeing anyone with a big bag waiting for the bus. But at exactly 1PM, the Eurolines, Paris bound finally arrived.
When settled in the cramped seat, I whispered to my love, “Finally, I am going to Paris.”


Note to my readers: Please bear with me if this story will be in long installments It takes a lot of effort to write about such a beautiful experience.