One Month Escape
Tuesday 16 December 2008 by legendary_totoro
Day 1 : The Arrival
First breath out of the airplane is a freezy one. I quickly grab my luggage and take it to the exit. I decided to get into the commuting train instead of paying a taxi. You’ll admit that saving 100€ is worth the effort.
I find the passengers as bee-buzzing as they were when I left and give me a first speedy rush of stress. I think I already miss the tranquility of my island. No no no, let’s not already regret anything !!
There happened to be a strike on that day so the train was very slow and stopping at every single station from Charles-de-Gaulle Airport to Gare du Nord. And thus I had to stop there and connect with a sub. I took line 5 down to the terminus : Place d’Italie. I drop by a newly installed Mc Café for a quick breakfast. I take some time to tour the block as I lived there for 2 years and see that nothing much has changed.
I then took a bus (line 52) in order to meet up with Lucie. I had some trouble recognizing her block but eventually she came down to open the main door of her building. I spent 2h there, with a lot of memories coming back in the conversation. Good ol’ times !
We eventually stop our laughing and go fetch some food with 2 other friends. We keep talking about the same topics : volleyball, volleyball players and their good assets. Ah teenagers ! Always day dreaming :P
After a few more sip of coffee back at Lucie’s place we split up with the promise to meet again this week. I go back in the sub and go north in order to catch Damien when he finishes his work. He grabs me and we head back together home. We stop by a coffee and chitchat with another friend : FX. Time flows by and it’s already 7:30 PM when we decide to split up and go home.
After a nice diner, I quickly fall into a dreamless sleep.
Day 2 & 3 : Idleness
I had a very tormented sleep with a lot of sneezing with a peak at 3 AM that completely woke me up. I stay in that drowsiness for a while and finally emerge around 1 PM. After reheating last night leftovers, I decide to take some fresh air and grab some food for tonight. As you can see, nothing much on day 2 so...
I went to sleep right after my last update and woke up when I heard some sound coming from my hosts. I get up to say hello and found out it was already 4 PM !! OMG I overslept !! I’ve just been through 14 hours of sleep !!
I get some quick breakfast and head out for some fresh air and to get some shoes as we have some volleyball practice at 8 PM. I navigate through the busy crowd and find a model I like. Unluckily, they were sold out on my size... Gotta go to another place, where the vendor took a long time before providing me a good pair. It was actually one of the last ones so I got a nice 30% off down to 65€, sweet !
I get back to the place I’m staying and we immediately leave for a 45 min ride to the gymnasium. We warm up by doing some soccer in which I super-suck... After 45 min we switch to volleyball in a 3x3 format.
Soccer left his mark on my lung capacity so I get very clumsy at first. I rapidly find my second breath and my spirit gets heated up after some fierce blocks I manage to perform. The general ambiance is fun, as usual in this kind of formats and after several sets of joy, we head back home, get some shower & food and go to sleep.
Day 4 & 5 : First Shopping
I managed to wake up at a decent hour and decided to do some shopping. I went to the mall around Place d’Italie and had some trouble finding anything I really liked or wanted. In the end, I purchased some stuff that were on my sister’s wanted list.
After that I went eat some good Laotian food and headed to get some food for diner. I got back home, started to cook and hand an enjoyable meal. Great day.
I woke up around 9 AM and had a appointment with a friend of mine in order to go shopping again. We went in the same places I looked at yesterday, except that she actually bought some stuff. At the corner of a particular store, I bumped into an old friend of mine who I haven’t seen in years ! The world is so small...
A bit of chit chat and we had to split up. Got some sandwiches before heading back for a little rest. Then I headed out again in order to meet some volleyball friends at the opposite side of Paris. Spent some time in the gymnasium with them before going for a drink in a bar around Odeon. Fun times.
Day 6 & 7 : Volleyball Tourney
There was that volleyball tourney at Clichy (Northern part of Paris) and we were registered, so early wake up and en route ! We had no troubles finding the place, and the tourney started smoothly. First round of matches were limited to 15 min but we had no difficulties coping with that.
After winning all of our 5 matches of the first batch, the second round came in with a new format of 2 sets of 25 points. We played 2 matches and won them. The rest of the tourney will take place tomorrow so we headed home and got caught in the traffic on our way back... at some point, we had crossed 20m in 20 min...just awful, especially after a long lasting day...
On that Sunday we went again to the gymnasium for the second part of the tourney. We tricked the chairman into thinking we’ll be coming at 11AM and actually showed up around 12. Rule number one in a volleyball tourney : it never starts at the appointed hour.
Even so, we weren’t even close to playing... We were scheduled as the 4th match of the day and the 2nd one was still ongoing when we arrived.
Finally when our turn came, we played against some dudes who were really psyched up. Can’t blame them but when you’re 10 points behind, it’s really not good etiquette to boast and brag about scoring one point...
After that match we quickly started the final part of the tourney : single elimination matches starting with quarter finals. Our quarter final match had nothing worth reporting IMO, so I’ll just skip to the semi final match. We were playing the team composed of people who were in charge of the tourney. They obviously were from Madagascar from their language but since it was their association holding the tourney, one would assume they’d be a little bit more fairplay than they appeared later on... We had some hard time pulling off anything during the first set and basically just played in their hands with a lot of trash talking and some discutable referee decisions : 25 - 21 their take.
Somewhat, we managed to cool down and after a good tactic of charging their wingman on receive we punished them back : 25 - 15. This tactic actually allowed us to maintain pressure on their main spiker and concentrate on blocking their tall center. At some point during the set, they asked for a time-out which was outrageously not proper etiquette since it’s an unofficial tourney... After some babbling we granted their request, fairplay aren’t we ? This didn’t change the outcome of the set as they were already too far behind.
During the next set, we kept our tactic and they didn’t find the solution to our trap so we easily qualified for the final : 25 - 18.
The Final & Conclusion
Here we are, after 2 days of relentless play, for the last game of the tourney. We actually meet a team we already beat the first day. Plus, they were people we knew from our volleyball past at the University, all the more reason not to lose that one.
The match was more tensed that the previous day but we managed to block their spikers a lot more than they blocked ours, so the first set was in our favor : 25 - 22.
In the second set, I start feeling some kind of numbness in my left elbow which transformed into hurtness whenever I make a spike. Maybe just some natural reaction after 1 year and a half without attacking and then 2 days of spiking ! Anyway, I got blocked a couple of time, we started to make more direct faults, classic story as we lose the 2nd set : 20 - 25.
As always in those situation, experience is everything. After 2 years of play with the same guys in every single tourney available at the time, we just knew we had what it would take to win. Tapping into our last ressources, we started the third set more focused and surprisingly enough, we just kept the side out after taking the early lead.
Our team "creatine" claimed another victory !
In the end, we had a great time player altogether, taking our lot of joy and nice sensations. It was really a pleasure to put our team back up again, I’ll always cherish those moments.