(My interpretation of his story anyway.) It is 12:00. Mary just peeled out of the airport because a bus was bearing down on her. Surely she will return momentarily. We will wait here. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. She doesn't seem to be coming. I suppose that we will go catch the bus that will take us to the train station. Just missed a bus. I guess we will get something to eat since we missed breakfast. That sandwich looks good. I point hopefully. The guy makes fun of me and says the words are the same in English ~~ tomate et mozzarella. Tres delish. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Now we are at the train station. Just missed a train to Toulon. I guess we will get something else to eat. A fast food sign I can read : Orient. Charles gets yakitori and I get a samosa. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. The train takes almost two hours and arrives in Toulon around 5:00. Mary and I stupidly did not discuss this part of our plan and I don't have our passports or our ADDRESS. Surely she will know this and will come to Toulon train station to pick us up. We stand outside in plain sight of anyone who would like to drive by for two hours. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Nothing. I decide that maybe she thinks we will meet at the La Garde train station, but discover there is a train strike. We then take a bus and a journey that would take minutes by train takes almost an hour by bus. Expect to see Mary at the station so take a seat until it closes at 8:30. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. We have been kicked out so set out into La Garde with no real direction. We have picked up a map and see that there is a hotel. We will go there and see if there is a computer we can use to look up our address on the internet. We come to a big building that says hotel, but it is closed. Why would a hotel be closed at this hour? There are some people inside and eventually one of them comes to the door to see what we need. I ask, "Is this a hotel?" He answers, "No this is the Hotel de Ville. City Hall." (My personal favorite part of the story, totally rolling on the floor laughing, as everyone else in that office must have been doing when the guy went back inside, but actually also the worst part of the story since city hall is literally two or three blocks away from our house). So find a real hotel and trek across town about two miles to find it. Go inside and try to communicate in English. Not really getting anywhere. She doesn't want to let us use a computer unless we are staying at the hotel, but we have a place to sleep somewhere in this town. After about 30 minutes ask if the lady can speak Spanish and the answer is yes! More people speak Spanish around here than English. Explain the whole story (I arrived in France yesterday, I have five kids, we have too much luggage so my wife took the other kids and luggage in our rental car, my son and I don't know our address, if we could just look up something online we can be on our way). I offer to pay her a few euros and she goes to talk to her manager which takes another 15 minutes. Waiting. Okay. Try to get the computer going. 15 more minutes. Try to look up the rental website, but don't have the login and password, eventually just google La Garde and up our property pops with the street name, but no number. There is a picture of the house with the owner standing out front so we stare at the picture and try to memorize every point down to the minutest detail. Charles is quite sure that the potted plant from a few years ago will no longer be there, but one never knows. Look at the map. Hey we know where that is. We were just there. Trek back across town and start at the far end of the street looking at each doorway. There is the potted plant! There is the red mailbox. There is something in the door. I hope that doesn't mean that the girls never made it! We open the door and there is Mary sitting on the couch. It is 10:15. Not bad for a 90 mile pilgrimage.
Very sad story, but not nearly as harrowing as what I was imagining: getting arrested for not having passports, getting beat up and money stolen, getting injured and not knowing how to contact us, + many, many more variations on that theme.
Voila, c'est ça.