It was sunny, and warm 23C late summer morning. My first year being away from home in Fredericton NB at St. Thomas University at 9:46am I would have been waiting by the door for the class before mine to end. By 10:03am, I was sitting by the door listening to my second morning Introduction to Microeconomics with Dr. Andrew Secord in the first floor class room in Edmund Casey Hall. We really were completely oblivious to the outside world, almost no one had cell phones and the computer labs were in the opposites side of campus. Let’s face it the opposites side of campus is a 1 minute walk across the quad.
At 10:37am and 11:03am I would have still been in this class unaware of the world being changed forever. The class let out at 11:20am and prior to going to the cafeteria for lunch I returned to my dorm room on the 2nd floor of Harrington Hall. The room next to mine had two aspiring musicians and movie fanatics, one from Newfoundland the other a foreign student from Maine USA. On their television in the dimly lit room laid the Pentagon in exploded smoke as the plane had struck the building some time prior. I asked them what movie it was and they then told me what had happened, and that this was not a movie it was live TV. As we were taking it was 11:28am and the 2nd tower had fallen.
One does not go to university for a degree in Journalism without a keen interest in the news, so I powered on my computer, since I had a TV tuner card to view cable. I tuned in to ABC and just watched, I remember skipping dinner that day and just watching for survivors to be found, one after the other. When Peter Mansbridge took over the desk at CBC I switched to CBC Newsworld. One of the early questions was the Premier of NB safe since he was in Manhattan on that morning.
This was a rough bus ride. We drove a while and ended up at the Chateau de Cruix. There was a great wine tasting here. Though the cheese was great the wine had trouble going down after puking so much the night before.
After dinner we had an easy nighty and skipped the party. We also went to the town Napoleon rallied the troops on his final return from exile.Journal entry from 2013
The beads of water are dropping on my head in a nice warm shower as I awaken to hear the alarm sound that it is time to get up a begin the day. I am sitting in a stand up shower stall at the ibis Budget hotel in Paris. As I emerge from the shower to pack up to meet up with the tour group. I see the victim that the room has become. Where my bed was there was the remnants of of the Parisian dinner experience including the 5 bottles of previously consumed red wine on the bed and the bed of the person I was supposed to be sharing a room with. Though in reality he didn’t use the room that night, as in many nights of Contiki after a night on the town, he has stayed in one of the ladies rooms. Breakfast like usual was typical European so not the greatest but would do. I remember waiting on the bus for the hotel to notice what happened and make me pay for everything redecorated in the wine, but never happened. The bus moved! I was free! No, wait OMG, the bus is moving, breakfast does not want to stay down. I must keep it down, I was not going to be the one singled out in front of 52 other people for losing my breakfast. Then the morning song blares the pumping vibes of One Day/Reckoning Song by Asaf Avidan. “One Day baby we’ll be old.” for me that sounded like today, this was the worse hang over my 30 year old self had ever experienced.
After an about two hour drive that I slept through, we at Château de Fontainebleau which was an impressive looking palace with a big garden, that I could care less about. It was where Napoleon after exile returned to form up with his army to reconquer Paris. This is where I have one of only 2 photos from the day. Though all I cared about was finding the store and using the toilet and restocking on some water. Being in France and able to read French turned out to be a benefit here, as I remember several Australians in the group becoming the next victim of sparkling water.
After returning to the bus, we drove several more hours to the Contiki special stop over in Theizé just north of Lyon. The first excursion before we unpacked for dinner and the night was a wine tasting. I really don’t remember much other than listening to how they harvest and make wine and my tummy, yelling “I’m warning you, you better not be thinking about it!” There was samples of cheese freshly made as well that was incredibly good and I sipped at the wine, then chugged the little glass to make it gone, and then had to find the toilet fast. My tummy do warn me, not to do it.
After dinner was going to be the “P” party in the basement. I just wanted to die so I just laid down a bit and then went slept a very good sleep.