|Ready for the match to begin!|
|Up by 1 - this was the case for most of the game|
|Lining up for a penalty shot|
|Penalty shot - He got it!!|
|Allez Allez Montpellier!!|
|Up by 6 - then we were up by 7 - and then....we lost it!|
|A slightly disappointed Adam after the match|
|Outside of the Arena - Adam was treated to a Montpellier|
team jersey for his birthday!
|He's bouncing back from the loss|
|The roof of the Arena outside changes colors - very cool!|
|Staying positive - walking home - see story below|
|Getting ice cream at Quick Burger - while getting some help|
|The Jersey - very cool! #22 - one of the MVPs of the team|
|Karabatic - #22!|
The morning began, after 4 days of rain, with no rain but a lot of clouds. Emma and Adam headed off to their second day of school at College des Aiguerelles after the placement testing on Monday. The administration is still trying to figure out where to put Nathan since he tested higher than Emma and Adam and should be going to the Lycee (high school), however, there is limited space there so, we wait. The vibe after the first day seemed to be pretty positive for Emma and Adam so we are hopeful that it will continue that way. The plan for after school today (noon - it's Wednesday!) is for E and A to ride the tram to the Odysseum to buy their school supplies. Nathan had plenty of homework from Hoover to work on and was comfortably seated at his computer by 9:10 am.
I happily woke up, showered, got dressed and ready for my second Sensorial Analysis session! At 9:30 I walked to INRA with my trusty umbrella, and met Andrew at the gate. I arrived dry, although my hair had soaked up a lot of the humidity in the air and was now pretty big.
I was led to my favorite seat - cubbie #1 and signed into the computer all by myself! After a minute or so, the little door to my cubbie opened and my first sample was slid onto my desk. This session was different than my first; We would not be rating the color of the wines this time, only the smell and taste so the wine was delivered in black wine glasses. In addition, some of the questions on the computer were different and I had not received them ahead of time so was unable to check the translation prior to arriving. After asking one of the scientists about two of the words, the gentleman next to me tapped me on the shoulder, told me that he knows a little English and would be happy to help me with any future questions - which he did several times!
After 17 wines I was finished, a little happy, but not very excited about any of the wines overall. Either the scent was bad and the taste was alright or the scent was wonderful and the taste was awful ! Nothing was really worth asking to be led to the back of the van again for - maybe next time, which is scheduled for March 25 - yea! I walked home with Andy, had a little lunch and took a nap for about an hour. Nathan was not home when we arrived - he was scouting out the route to our very first Handball match which was taking place at 7:30 - we purchased the tickets as part of Adam's birthday gift and were excited for our first match - Montpellier vs. Chambery.
Mr. Boisson, who has season tickets to the matches but will be out of town for this match, had advised us to drive the car to the match since he figured the bus would be full - he explained how to get there on a map but Andrew was very hesitant since it was clear on the other side of town, out of the town a little bit and through the construction areas where tram 3 is currently being built. All of that, along with our wonderful history of getting lost confirmed that we would be traming and busing to the match. Nathan did a great job of tramming, figuring out where bus 28 picked up and where we would be dropped off in relation to the arena. We were ready. Everyone got home, chowed down soup and sandwiches, put on their shoes, grabbed umbrellas and we were out the door! Well, everyone except Emma who wasn't interested in going to a handball match and decided to stay home to have some personal time.
We arrived at the tram just in time to jump on - arrived at the bus stop just in time to hop on - the travel gods were with us on this journey - we would arrive in plenty of time! The bus driver was very nice, spoke a little english and confirmed that we were on the right bus to get to the Arena - Wahoo! Smooth sailing from here - Well, maybe not :( - As the bus rounded a corner, and the road narrowed, some nut had decided to park 1/2 on the sidewalk and 1/2 on the road, blocking any possiblity of the bus getting past - one of these tiny european cars-yes, the bus - no! Our driver prooved that he knew a little more english when he very clearly said "Oh Shit!" and blew the horn several times very long, however, nobody came to claim the car. In the end, the license number was taken down, police were called and arrived (to pull over another car though - then helped us!), after about 20 min. of this, an older lady showed up and argued with the policeman for a minute, was given a nice ticket and moved her car - we were ready to go again, but were now getting very close to match time. When the bus stopped, we ran to the arena with the rest of the people on the bus (not full at all by the way - maybe 10 - 15 others), got in line with our tickets, turned our umbrellas in since we were not allowed to take them into the building (supposedly we could pick them up again on the way out - ha!), found our seats and got comfortable just when the real "owners" of the seats showed up to inform us that we were in the wrong ones - so we moved to our actual seats which were better!
The match was very exciting - we learned how the game was played, Andrew and Adam figured out the strategies, Nathan and I tried to figure out where the band came from since this wasn't a school function but a town function - we decided that they were townspeople or a club that formed the band which played a lot of songs that our bands at home play at football/basketball games in high school and college. There was no announcer which was fine with us since we wouldn't have known what he/she was saying anyway. There was lot of cheering and chanting - one of the chants was "Allez, Allez, Montpellier" -we liked that one and joined in. We also were participants in the wave - all around the arena several times! Montpellier was ahead of Chambery for most of the match until the last quarter of the game. It was very apparent who the MVP of Montpellier's team is: #22 who scored most of the goals - Chambery's coach caught on and put a defensive player on him (Andrew called it the "box and 1") - from then until the end of the match, Montpellier couldn't score and Chambery was on fire - we ended up losing by 1 which was disappointing but the experience was great - we had a fun time and Adam was treated to a Jersey - #22 of course! He said to me, "mom, #22 is like Lebron James on the Cavs before he left!"
We left the arena, looked for our umbrellas and actually found one of them - the broken one, not the nicer of the two, and then headed for the bus stop where there were several other people waiting - Nathan realized at some point, however, that according to the bus schedule, there were no buses running this late (9:00 ish) - the last one was at 8:00pm. We asked one of the young girls who was waiting and who spoke a little english about this potential problem, she looked at the schedule and agreed with us, called the office number on the schedule but got no answer and we all decided that we better come up with a plan "B". The younger folks decided to hitch home, we decided to walk along the tram 3 construction. Keep in mind now - it's dark, we are on the complete OPPOSITE side of town and OUT of the town in the country area. I was ticked that none of us thought to check the return trip plans while Andrew remained calm and positive. We began our trek home and after a while, I grabbed the phone and called our S.O.S. buddy, Marie, explained our situation and asked if there are taxis in the area - she said that there are and that she would go to her office and find some numbers for us ( I told her that wasn't necessary) or we could walk to the airport and find a taxi there - "just walk toward Montpellier and you will see the airport". Our problem was, we weren't sure which way, once we hit the first round-a-bout, Montpellier was but we did see a Quick Burger that was still open (like a Burger King) so we headed there. The nice young man behind the counter figured out our problem, raised his eyebrows when he discovered that we were walking to a tram line and when we mentioned "taxi" he very kindly grabbed his cell phone, looked up a number and called us a cab! While we waited, Nathan and Adam waited behind a family ordering $60.00 worth of food to ask for ice cream. The taxi arrived, we all piled in, and I was able to convey our destination with the help of the bus map - "any tram 1 stop"!!! We arrived at Place De L'Europe 10 minutes later safe and 30 euros lighter. As we waited for the tram to arrive, a girl on the other side of the track stood up and waved at us - it was the same english speaking girl from the bus stop! She told us that there was a mini-bus at the arena when they went back there - UGH!
Our adventure didn't end there - suprise! We boarded the tram, got comfortable, and I texted Marie to let her know that we had made it. I then heard some loud voices coming from the tram car ahead of me and realized that there were several drunk guys sitting down there and one of them was looking my way (I was sitting with Nathan). Being the very smart traveler, I avoided eye contact and ignored him. A few minutes later, however, he stood up, walked toward us, and sat down behind Nathan and me. When I felt a hand on my hair I turned around and saw him sitting there with another guy who was smiling at me. At this point I'm trying to figure out the best thing to do - give him the "evil eye"? Ignore him? Move seats? Get off of the tram? If this continued I didn't know how to handle it since if we yelled at him in English I was sure that he would just laugh -this was our first uncomfortable experience. The tram stopped, I looked at Andy and said "Get off" - we all stood up and I led the way off of the tram while the drunk guys yelled something behind us. None of the boys knew what had happened and didn't have a clue why we were getting off at the darkest stop along the tram line. I told them what had happened and they all understood as we walked the 2 minutes to the next stop on the line to wait for the next tram. When we saw that it was 12 min. out, we decided to walk to Comedie and wait for the tram there instead - wouldn't you know it, when we got there, my "friend" was there too! I probably used our bus driver's earlier language and then told the guys that he was there. We all agreed it was best to keep walking to the next stop at Corum - which we did, boarded with no problems and got home alright.
Thankfully everything worked out alright but I was pretty shaken up about the experience and had to work through some thoughts of "what if" before I went to bed. I've told friends at home that I've never felt safer in a city and that is still true - we just have to be smart about night time travel like anyplace else.
Overall - the whole experience was good - I think we would all like to attend another match at some point, and Adam had a great birthday - he, of course, wore his new jersey to school on Thursday and was very proud!