I'd boarded the train from Rouen to Dieppe alone. I had no phone, no contact numbers, no address and limited funds. I was a lone wolf, stalking the French countryside on a truly feral adventure.
A local girl - she looked like a student - boarded my carriage and asked (I think) if I was waiting for someone.
Meanwhile Elise was pretty relaxed about it all. What I could do, she said, was go to the DSN in Dieppe - which also housed the town's biblioteque - and ask to use the wifi there. "Here", she said, and roughly drew a map of the location of the DNS in her notebook before tearing out the sheet of paper and handing it to me. She was sure I'd be ok; in a town full of people, she had faith that there would be heaps as happy to help me as she had been. Little did she know...
Then just as I felt I might be getting somewhere with Facebook, Elise stood up signalling that she'd be disembarking at the next stop. My time was running out.
I frantically typed a 'help' message onto a group message thread, hoping against all hope that someone would see my distress call and respond with one of the mobile numbers of my travel companions before the train pulled up to the platform and Elise would get off the train with her phone, leaving me once again alone and uncontactable in France.
Eureka! A response. I scribbled the number down and thrust the phone into her hands, thanking her profusely.
A little while later, I arrived in Dieppe and headed straight for the DNS, clinging to Elise's trusty map.
To be continued...