My Corsican Journal – Stranded at night #1

This is a short journal about my experience during my short stay in Corsica Island. I thought journaling would bring out the experience vividly.

Day 1 (Thursday)

I got to the island in Ajaccio on Thursday morning for what was meant to be my 3-day stay in the island. It was still dark when we got off the ferry, so I opted to stay behind on the waiting lodge and at least catch on some sleep.

The sunrise was pretty amazing; almost the whole sky had turned orange. I came to the island to visit an old high school friend, Elsie, who is also a language assistant and spend New Year’s together. Thing is she had travelled to Belgium for Christmas but was bound to arrive later in the evening, meaning I had a whole day to pass.

I was still tired from the trip and the waiting area was somewhat comfortable and warm enough to hang around. Most of my morning hours were categorized with intervals of me sleeping and trying to read my novel. It did not take long for the port staff to realize I had spent a good amount of time there. Honestly, I did want to leave but due to covid I could not spend the whole day there, so they said. Once outside, of course with my luggage which thankfully was a carryon suitcase and a small travel bag, I found my way to the tourism office. I thought that would be the place to go since I was new to the island. Elsie had suggested the beach was the best place to go and bask in the sun as I waited for her.

There I was trying to read the physical map that I was given from the tourist office; it was such a struggle I ended up just using google maps on my phone. I found a good sitting spot in front of François beach where the sun hit right. Back to default settings, I perfect my people watching skills, all I was missing was my pair of sunglasses. The time also did not favor me, it was such a slow day and I think that made me even more tired.

Cathedral in Ajaccio

In the evening, I decided to go check out the Cathedral in the city center, Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta. I love the ambience in French churches; the lit candles, the architecture provide such untold calmness. There I was in the middle of my rosary prayer, excited and telling God how happy I was for what was in store and also praying for Elsie’s flight, when I saw a missed from her. I ignored it until I was done with my prayer as I thought; she was going to tell me she was going to board her flight.

When I am done, I see that she had sent me voice notes. “Imagine Belinda I have missed my flight,” I did not even finish the audio, I called her immediately. True to what I heard, she had missed her flight which technically wasn’t her fault. The bus to the airport delayed making her 2minutes late for checking hence denied boarding. I don’t even know how I was feeling at that moment.

But one thing for sure, I knew I was stranded! The next available flight that Elsie could take was on Sunday morning, but that was the same day I was to leave the island with the evening ferry. At this point my phone battery was also exhausted, so I tell Elsie I would go look for a place to eat and charge my phone. In the meantime she would be calling around to see if I would get somewhere to sleep for the night, because the hotel was my last resort.

My luggage and I now strolled the streets looking for an affordable eating place, we are on a budget, remember? Just before giving up, I spot a food truck and I get a bucket of French fries and a Panini. The amusement park was right behind the truck where I went to eat as they charged my phone. It was now after 8pm when I got back my phone. I call Elsie back. She is really stressed at this point as someone had stolen her luggage from the bus on her way back home from the airport. Lucky for her she still had all her important documents with her. Can’t the night get any worse? Let me answer that one, it didn’t. I received a call from Elsie’s colleague who had a friend in town with a free studio apartment and was willing to let me have it for the night.

As I strolled down to the city center, everything started sinking in slowly and I felt my eyes get warm with tears. This wasn’t part of the plan at all. I was to enjoy the island and get great content for my socials ha-ha – that is the main point of vacation, so I thought. Thinking of it now, I must have looked like a lost homeless person in the middle of town- at night. I sat right in the middle of one of the main pathways that had its trees lit with Christmas lights when I was approached by 2 very concerned-looking women. They were both Africans, from Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast respectively. Even before I recounted my ordeal to them they were willing to take me in, in solidarity for being an African. They left me their number incase Elsie’s colleague whom I was waiting for did not show up. Elles me touchent bcp. I don’t know if I will ever see them again let alone go back to Corsica but I know they are my friends:)

Elsie’s colleague did show up bearing gifts. She brought me food, snacks and other essentials, bless her soul. The studio apartment was now my small heaven. I needed a shower real bad after the long 2 days’ trip and you can also guess when my last shower was. I went to bed right after, it’s just what my worn out body needed.

…see you in the next article.

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