Well…yes mom you were right!
Because I’m in St. Jean and I even made a friend. I actually made a couple friends. And one of them is even Italian.
I noticed a large group of backpackers waiting around the bus terminal area. So I decided better just see what they’re about which is how I ended up walking straight over to Billy from Oxford and Sam from the U.S. who were (no joke) having a conversation about Brierley–the author of the guidebook everyone has. Billy has the same but Sam had something different.
After some confusion about where to go, the bus from Bayonne to St. Jean pulled up. I’m assuming that in the summer months they have a directbus because there are so many tourists.
And I ended up sitting next to Rob from Wales, who is probably in his 50s or 60s and doing the walk for like the 3rd time to support his wife that has cancer and stuff. So he’s pretty much amazing.
And he was telling me in the hour long ride (a beautiful countryside I might add) that he was hiking in Nepal during a civi war and civil was the word because these rebels March out of the jungle with AK-47s but all they want is money to support their cause. So Rob gives them money and then they give him a receipt so later when he’s trekking he can show the other rebels the receipt and be like “oh no we already paid for the cause”
And so we arrive in St. Jean. And no one has any idea really where I go and so we’re all kind of following each other and this is when I meet Daniel the Italian who lived in California for a year and likes Kevin Hart. Becuase he has this idea of a hostel he wants to go to. So at this point I’m still with Sam, Billy, Rob, and Daniel. In addition to the crowds of pilgrims previously photographed. But we get stuck getting a pilgrims credentials and Daniel already had a credential and Sam has booked her hostel way in advance so she goes there and Billy from Oxford, Rob from Wales, and I get in line behind a bunch of Koreans who at taking forever because they have no idea what is going on and no one speaks English, let alone Korean
But soon enough Billy, Rob and I get set up with Patrice. And keep in mind this “pilgrims office” is like a long folding table in the narrow room and 5 French (well Basque) people are behind the table dealing with pilgrim after pilgrim and explaining all these details which we then have explained to us by Patrice.
Who is this small basque man who think he is hilarious and keeps blabbering and blabbering on in French to which is three English speakers are like “uh..”
But he keeps giving us all this advice and we are not understanding a word of it and he’s cracking jokes but we’re just nodding and laughing and swear to god this whole process goes on for about a half and hour and we really aren’t getting anywhere. And finally we get our credentials and our stamps and Billy asks about the municipal hostel and they’re like “it’s full” and we’re like…”well fuck”.
So that’s how we ended up at Belari which Billy will say I decided but I strongly disagree because we got in there and they were like 30 euros and I was kind of like “ehh” but then Billy was like “I think everywhere else is full”. So we were like sure.
And then this perky-ass Southern woman comes and tells us about the hostels “quiet hours” and how if we want we can go up to the meditation house. Or we can write our intentions and add them to this thing. And Billy and I are just looking at each other like “what the fuck“. And she’s talking about finding your inner Camino and shit and were just cracking up.
And then two women in the hotel were from Minnesota. And the one woman had just been in Malaysia! So I freaked out a little bit over that.
After probably the best shower of my life I ended up wandering around the town with my new Italian friend Daniel who used to live in California so he loves all the things in America and I love all the things in Italy. Though he’s from the north and I’m from the south which means we have to be enemies.
And then (after being so freaking tired) we had to play kindergarten games where we threw an imaginary ball to introduce ourselves and Billy and I are just cracking up because it’s such total bullshit. But finally we got food. And I fucking devoured it. And by then almost everything was totally closed so we couldn’t buy any food and we just wandered for a bit more and then I passed out because at that point I hadn’t had a proper nights sleep in what felt that days.