Thought I´m writing from Denmark, it was only a week ago that my Sunday was spent in Paris. I met up with my classmate Gaël who had been on exchange at HKUST last year, and he, his sister and I spent the day exploring Paris. It was a great day, and we went everywhere, as can be seen in photos from Snowman in Paris.
The trip was but a day trip, and I spent the better part of the evening (from about 19:00 on) riding trains back to Karlsruhe, Germany, where I was staying with another friend from Hong Kong, Magi (See Magi and the Head Case). I first had to ride back to Strasbourg, and then connect to a night train heading for Prague that was to stope in Karlsruhe around 11:30. I got on and made my way into a compartment and started working on the journal, a massive collection of each days travel information , contact numbers for couch surfers and friends, my collection of postcard addresses, daily spending records and budget information, and my master travel calendar. I had a couchette room to myself, though, and at some point put my legs up and leaned back to relax: not something one should do after a night of just 4 hours sleep and a day spent traveling and touring around Paris. Needless to say, I feel asleep…
When I woke up, I was as usual a bit disoriented. I looked at my watch: whoops, 0:34! The term ´whoops´ of course being the pg version of my reaction: you can´t just say ANYTHING on the internet! I grabbed my small day bag that I´d been carrying, and rushed out to see what station we were stopped at. I couldn´t see a sign on the platform, which unfortunately is more often than not the case I´ve had to deal with when riding trains for the past month, but left the train knowning that the sooner I get off, the closer I would be to Karlsruhe. I found a man hanging out on the platform and frantically inquired: “What is this stop? What city are we in right now?!?!”
“This city?” he replied. “Oh, um,” he looks around for the same sign I couldn´t find, “it´s listed on the ticket here.” He opens his ticket jacket and locates the name. “We´re in Karlsruhe.”
Elated at the luck I´d had in not missing the stop and waking up in Prague a second time on this trip, I thanked the man, doubled back to the train to check the compartment, but turned away – knowing that the only bag I had with me was that in my hand. I left the station to catch the last tram heading back to Magi´s place. At Ettlinger Tor, where I was to change tram lines, I thought I ought to call and let her know I´ll be back shortly. I open my bag and look for the number: but the book with all such information was not in the bag.
It ended up getting left on the train, and unfortunate casualty of a haphazard sleep schedule, a fantastic day of luck both good and bad, and the sudden joyful feelings experienced when the fear gets beat by dumb luck in ones favor. Did it make it all the way to Prague? Not sure, but I expect so much. The cabin was empty when I left it, and I doubt too many Germans were hoping on the train after 1 o´clock on a Sunday night.
The potential silver lining, and the point of this experiment: on the cover of my book was a lost luggage tag, filled out in its entirety for my only consistent address in Georgia. If someone finds the book, and my pen, and flips through it to see all that it contains, perhaps there´s a chance that it could arrive in the mail by some sort of train-car cleaning saint. The smart money is all on never seeing it again, but such is a fact that must be overcome as easily as a losing lottery ticket. There´s no unlosing of the bok that´s going on, and no Omega 13 to allow me to jump back on the train to recover it.
If it shows up in the mail, I think the payout would be in the 1,000,000:1 range. I´ve got a 10 spot riding those odds, too: just in case.