I decided, at the suggestion of several people, to take one day off and see if things got better with my shin. It hurts pretty badly all the time, if I roll my ankle around. Actually, now it makes a creaky sound as well. My host Aurelie called up a couchsurfer friend Antoinne, and I had a place to stay for a day of rest in Lille. Aurelie took me around town, and I got a French SIM card and boadloads of calcium and some strange (I think not very effective) versionof Icy Hot. I iced my shins some more with the Disney Otterpops.
At Antoinne's house, we played Cranium in French with his roommates. I am pretty surprised by how fast things are coming back in terms of language...I wasn't as completely useless in the game as I thought I would be.
The next day (today) I wasn't really sure if I should go onwards. My shin felt a little bit better, but still not very good. It was raining very hard off and on, and I had slept later than usual (11). After much deliberation, the terrible conditions somehow did not win over, and I decided to start limping towards Lens (35 km) around 2 o'clock. The rain kept starting off and on, and about half way I found myself soaking wet under an enormous cloud, knowing that at my current pace I would not arrive in Lens until 9 pm or later...and that I still didn't have a place to sleep. Whenever it would start raining I would move my backpack to the front, and put a little green trashbag over myself (I couldn't fit it over my backpack if it was on my back). The hole I made for my head was too big, so I ended up getting soaked regardless. The rain stopped long enough for me to take the above photo. I decided to make a serious face for once. Notice the clouds behind me.
Once I was about 10 km from Lens, the rain really started coming down, and I started smiling again. In such a crazy situation, all you can do is laugh at yourself. People started to pull over and offer me a ride. After the third time of explaining myself, I decided that I should start running so that people didn't feel bad about not picking up a cripple with a backpack on his stomach wearing a tiny green bag. I found that if I ran toe to heel, letting my foot absorb the impact, that I could actually move. I made it into Lens, the heavy rain stopped. Wet and cold, I forgot about my shin. I needed to find a place to sleep. Once again, I made a list of covered places, so absurd this time that I will not go over it. I ended up outside an arena of a concert for a famous French rock star, Billy Hallyday. I started feeling cold, standing among crowds of people who were listening from outside the stadium, so I headed back towards the center of town. I was incredibly hungry, and cold. I stopped to ask two women if they knew where a cheap restaurant would be open at ten pm, and ended up finding a place to stay.
Once again, I am incredibly lucky. I would have been very cold sleeping in the unlocked McDonald's playcenter.
My leg does not feel good. I hope it starts cooperating soon, otherwise I might have to drop kick it.
10 June 2009
Days 18 and 19