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as promised, here's a recap of jailbreak. changed the way i looked at life, and opened up the microscopic view of the world and people i've had for the last 20 years of my life.

we arrived at the piazza at 8a.m on saturday morning. 2 teams, 7 people from whitefields 12. at 9.15, the event was flagged off and team RAW (Ranon, Annie, Wesley) trekked through a lil shortcut made known to me during runs around campus to end up at a main road leading to birmingham and coventry.

team RAW! hoo yah.

standing by the road side, we waved our hands frantically and jumped up and down shouting to cars passing by and in less than 10 minutes, we got our first ever ride to coventry train station! the nice lady who was sending her 13 year old kid to school in coventry offered us a ride and we were seriously over the moon. the first taste of success is usually the sweetest and boy could it only get better.

so at coventry station, we were pondering long and hard how to get aboard a train to get to any of the ports, and we finally plucked up the courage to ask a ticket conductor to let us onto his train and give us a ride. before we could open our mouths, the guy was like "you people doing the charity thing eh? the first carriage's for you guys. fill it up." we were jumping in joy literally when we heard it and we dashed into the carriage. there were a few other jailbreakers there and so we took a ride to birmingham new street. we decided we would go to portsmouth since everyone was heading to dover and we figured there might be an heavy influx of people in the latter.

first train ride!

so to get to portsmouth from birmingham, we had to get onto 2 different trains. the first one would take us to guildford first, following which we had to change to another train to get to portsmouth and south sea. as apprehensive as we were, we daringly approached the ticket conductors and they were more than willing to help. there was no hesitation and never did i thought it would be this easy. people are genuinely helpful and this came as a shock after hearing of how nasty some of them can get. and the ticket conductor on the train from guildford to portsmouth was nice enough to offer us a complimentary drink voucher and he even made a personal phone call to his friend at portsmouth to aid us in our journey.

the second free ride.
an absolute essential. without doubt.
final destination within the uk.

by 2.30 in the afternoon, we had arrived at portsmouth and south sea train station. that's very very early. we walked to the port and to our horror, it was empty. there were no passengers around and the only people were a handful of porters and only brittany ferries was open. they do rides across the channel to france and we decided to approach them to see if they might have excess tickets on the next ferry to slot us on, or to even grant us tickets in the name of charity. and this marked the onset of a period of great depression. the counter staff were so unwilling and so unhelpful, we called their head office and put them through the line, and as much as the people over the phone were willing to help, the counter staff simply refused on the pretext that they were closed and their management only worked mondays to fridays from 8 to 6, and they were thus uncontactable since it was a saturday. the inefficiency of the british system started to bare itself before us. so they kindly told us to wait for LD lines, another ferry operator that had a ferry operating that night too. 

thing was, their counter only opened at 4 and so we waited. 4 o clock came and went, and then 5 o clock came and went. 6 o clock came and they finally opened. we waited and talked to other people, non-jailbreakers, who were around waiting to buy tickets from LD lines. so when it opened, we approached the guy at the counter and he refused too, saying that their company policy was a strict no to last minute charity hitch-hikers. we were devastated. totally. total desperation. we moped and got over it and decided to go to southampton airport to try our luck. got a free taxi ride to the portsmouth train station when we realised that flights end at 11 and we would have to wait till the next day before the airline counters open. so we turned back, got another free taxi ride back to the ferry terminal and decided to wait till it was boarding time for the ferry and beg the counter guy to give us any available tickets. so we arrived and waited and we sat around talking to the other passengers who were waiting with us, and out of pity, they decided to pool money together and donated 3 tickets to us! our spirits were lifted almost immediately! and when we got the tickets in our hand, could you imagine the joy?!

a drink to celebrate.
the golden ticket.

and so we boarded the ferry at 11 and we were on a 10 hour ride to le havre in france. i could swear i nearly kissed the ground of the ferry when we boarded it. the view as we left the port was beautiful and after that, it was a party on board with the fellow jailbreakers we met - 2 girls from bulgaria who were studying at warwick and another 2 guys from bristol. and we drank and drank and drank and got pissed drunk. all i remember after that was falling asleep on the floor in front of my seat, and getting rudely awaken up by some man who told us we had arrived! i totally missed a french sunrise on the english channel just because i was wasted. i could have kicked myself.

total ecstasy.
belgium made beer at its best. 8.5%. 6 bottles.
living life on the edge.

and so we got off the ferry, immensely groggy, immensely excited. yet the excitement was contained due to the pounding headache the hangover delivered. before we knew it, we were whisked to the train station on a shuttle bus. the trains only operate from 11 onwards and we were 3 hours early. found a nice lil french cafe for coffee and for me to sleep in. reality slowly crept in that i was in france i slumped over the table, trying to make sense of the world i was in.


11 a.m came and we weren't even sure if we were gonna even get a ride on it. some guy who was on the ferry with us translated our predicament to the ticket conductor and he was agreeable! i mean, we're not even french, and it was a 2 hour ride to paris, and the ticket conductor didn't even know what Children in Need was! and he said yes. i was moved, but my heavy head refused to be anything but happy inside. so i was asleep for most parts of the train ride to paris, waking up occasionally to watch the french country side go by, it was beautiful. finally arrived in paris at 1.30 and i was all geared up and ready to explore the romantic city of love.

we got onto the metro and we were soon zipping to the eiffel tower. the view was splendid as we turned out of the eiffel tower metro station. we were on the terrace of a museum that provided a splendid view of the eiffel tower in all its grandeur and beauty and magnificience. we bought crepes and sat on the steps facing the eiffel tower, soaking up the atmosphere and the magnitude of our accomplishments. took countless photos of it. we started walking towards the tower once we were done with our crepes and along the way, came across a carousel directly in front of the eiffel tower. as a toast to our celebration, we paid the fare and hopped on like little children, just being kids and totally enjoying our lil holiday. i haven't been on one since i was like 6 i think. finally reached the tower and we decided we would climb to the middle platform. and up and up we went and the view was amazing. didn't go all the way up coz you had to pay more and the view probably won't change that much. and we saw a full rainbow in its entirety! it was absolutely beautiful.

at the metro station.
crepes and a view.
bloody hell. i'm in paris.
like lil kids.
the eiffel tower up close.
midway up.

headed to to champs-elysses after that and it reminded me of oxford and bond street in london. saw the arc de triomphe and to congratulate ourselves, we indulged in an authentic french dinner in a restaurant facing the historic landmark. opened a bottle of wine as part of the revelry. food was excellent. couldn't have been better.

car showroom with fantastically mind boggling cars.
the arc de triomphe.

after dinner, we decided that we had to finally find a way home. decided to try euroline, a bus service that went from paris to a port in france, and then onto a ferry to dover in the uk, and eventually to victoria coach station in london. it was full! and we spent an hour getting to the metro station only to be told it was full! we were starting to worry so we headed to charles de gaulle international airport instead, hoping we would get a plane ride. i mean, we could pay for our ride back so we didn't mind how. most importantly was, even if there weren't any flights, the airport would be a safer place to sleep in compared to the streets of france. and true enough, there were no flights till the next morning. we ended up sleeping on the floor in the airport and it was freezing! oh my god. woke up at 5 on monday morning, got tickets on air france and we were on our way home! flight was at 9 a.m and we arrived at birmingham airport close to 11. hitched all the way back on the train and bus and finally arrived on campus at 1.

sleeping pretty uncomfortably.
on the plane.
coventry train station. you could smell home!

it was one helluva adventure. seriously. absolutely life changing.