Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Planes, automobiles and trains

     Shaun's team had a game this past weekend on the road. Most of you already know, but if you don't, we live in Toulon. As you can see on the map, Toulon is right on the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France, also known as the French Riviera or Cote d'azur. Well, if you look at the map again, directly east of Paris is a city called Strasbourg. I have never been there but I have heard that Strasbourg is a beautiful city right on the German border with a Christmas market that is known all throughout Europe. They also have a basketball team, the same team Shaun played this last Saturday night.  I initially planned on going since I could see the Christmas market, or I mean Shaun's game, and then if I had time, maybe shoot over to the Christmas market after cheering my heart out at the game...that sounds better, did I redeem myself? So Shaun asked the front office staff the travel details of the trip so maybe I could coincide my trip with theirs. No one seemed to know the exact details of the trip, which in hindsight should of been a big warning sign. However, since this season has been full of ups and downs, we have decided to not jump to any conclusions and only believe the things we see, so we figured the front office maybe 'forgot' the travel itinerary. As the trip crept closer, rumors spread that the team was going to leave the day of the game. Again, these were rumors so we just ignored them, besides, going from Toulon to Strasbourg is pretty much a cross country trip here in France, or an up country trip in this case. Sure enough, to 'save' money and not stay an extra night in a hotel, the team was going to leave Saturday am for a game that night. Besides, the front office said all the hotels were booked. Now, this a team that after going to the play-offs last year and qualifying for a European tournament is just fighting to stay in the first division. This is the same team that has had 4 of their 'main' players pick up and leave due to, ummm I don't know, not getting paid, better offers, and shady stuff that you usually hear about in Greece,  not in France. So to give the team the best chance to win, the front office decided to have the players  meet on Saturday morning at 7am at the gym, then take a flight from Toulon to Paris. But wait, if you refer to the map once again, Paris is not really close to Strasbourg. Aren't there flights from Toulon to Strasbourg one might ask? Well according to the front office, 'yes there are flights, but they were all booked'. I can understand that, since the schedule was made just last week right?...No, it wasn't? Oh, it was made over the summer.  Just for your info, that was the conversation that went on inside my head and I'm sure many of the players' also.  So, we have covered the 'trains' part of the title. Now, onto the automobiles. So from the Paris airport, the team took taxis (automobiles) to the train station. From there, they took a 2 hour and 45 minute train ride to Strasbourg and arrived at 3pm. So all in all,  it took 8 hours to get from Toulon to Strasbourg. The team arrived fresh as can be.....and lost by 30 something. 16 hours later, they did the whole trip all over again in reverse.
   When I had learned of the travel itinerary, I had decided not to make the trip. However, I did do some last minute research and found many flights and hotels rooms available. To rub salt in the wounds, the 'espoir/youth' team that plays before the 'pros'---I use the word 'pros'  lightly, flew from Toulon to Paris. No taxis, no trains. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the son of the club president is the youth team coach? The many things that make you go hmmmm here. Anywhoo, since we did not get to see the Christmas market/ marche de noel in Strasbourg, we/you will have to settle for some pictures we found on the internet.

Marche de Noel

  Also, this is my favorite Christmas commercial. I always annoy Shaun when it comes on because it puts me in this trance-like state...there is something mesmerizing about a Christmas carol sung in French though. Check it out...


  1. I love that you make light of the extreme un-organization of travel plans AND laugh at the comment that players just up and leave for "no real reason". Something we've been programmed to "not talk about" for one reason or another. Some things in France never seem to make sense to me, I can come up with a million reasonable solutions to problems that the club here think are impossible. Are you the same? Ce la Vie eh?

    1. We thought we had seen it all before this year. I mean, everything from making up their own exchange rates, to not paying, to almost folding (multiple times), to not getting our cars until players refused to basically strike, name it. i have always kept pretty P.C. but this year has really tested it, but the good thing is everything I write is all in the papers anyways so I am not spilling some juicy gossip no one knows about. I have stopped trying to anticipate scenarios anymore becuase what I think is logical, clearly, they don't. So my way to deal, is to not even try and to only believe the things we actually see with out own eyes. It's sad but like you said, c'est la vie.