Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gay 'ol Paris

I was so excited for my trip back to Paris, although a little frightened to make the journey alone. But I'm a big girl and therefore I think I can ride a train alone. I mean, I had my ipod. Plus I was meeting a friend from back home who was stopping in Paris with her family for the week. The plan was to meet her at their hotel, crash with them and see the sights and experience Parisian life when I hadn't just stepped off an airplane and was seriously lacking in sleep.

The best laid plans of mice and men..

I hated Paris.

There. I said it. Paris is a wonderful city. Except when you wear the wrong shoes. Or your pack is heavy. Or the person you are there to meet isn't there! This wouldn't have been so bad, except that the few plans I made were in accordance with her and I had no back-up plan. Did I mention it was Bastille Day?

I went, first, to the address she gave me and of course the concierge spoke zero English and didn't understand my meager French. We finally came to the conclusion that the family I was meeting wasn't there, however on the other side of Montparnasse there is a hotel with the same name just reversed. So I trekked over there and already cursing myself for wearing flip flops. Yes! I wore flip-flops. I realized my mistake the next day and subsequently bought tennis shoes. Anyway, I found the other hotel and they weren't booked there either. The much nicer concierge who also spoke English called 4 or 5 other hotels in the area to help me find them. No luck. I wanted to cry. All the hotels in Montparnasse are 2 or 3 stars which means expensive. He offered me a room at a cheaper price, probably because I looked Like I was about to cry. I declined and tried instead to find an internet cafe so I could see if she sent me an email. This is where the no cell phone thing really made me sad. Just my luck, being the holiday, nothing was open. No internet. My excited adventurer spirit is beginning to be crushed and I kind of just want to go home. On my rounds looking for a computer I walk past the first hotel and mr. no english is out having a smoke break. He asked if I found them and I said no and asked him if he knew an open internet cafe around. He kindly looked up hotels on his own computer. How funny is that? I got the concierge for a hotel to look for other places for me! He found nothing and I think I got that really sad, teary look again because he offered me a room for more than half off (the rooms were flipping 130 euros a night). I took it since it was getting late and my hopes of finding something cheaper wouldn't have been that great. Plus, it was a 3 star hotel so that means i'd have a real shower - to myself. I did end up finding an internet cafe and sure enough my friend had e-mailed me, but it was after I had already left. I sent her the room number and phone number in hopes she would find me when she got to the area.

She did!

That was like the biggest relief ever. Although I was mentally almost prepared to do the city alone. i went to dinner with her family and acted as translator for the menu and server. No big deal. I think this upset my friends sister who, until I showed up, was the French master. Oddly enough I never heard her speak a word of French and she mispronounced everything. I even said up front my French sucks, but I get by. It knocked her idea of French out of the park. After dinner we walked around looking for a club or somewhere fun that night but the place we looked up was no longer there. We went to bed instead. The next day I got a room key for her hotel and packed up and moved camp while they were out on some lame tour. That afternoon we tackled the metro. I swear to god my metro and city map were my best friends. Since I don't come from a city with a subway it was a little confusing and naturally we ended up going the wrong way a few times. We also didn't realize that you can use the same ticket for several trips even if you have to go through the gate. I think I wasted like 5 bucks buying new tickets until we figured it out. I'm passing this onto you. Since I'm retarded. My friend missed her next tour with her family because of our metro folly.

The trip couldn't get any better after that. This made my friends mother so mad, she blamed me and kicked me out of the room! It was midnight! She said it was my fault, called me a slut, and alcoholic and a thief and wouldn't let me stay in the room with my friend. Where was I supposed to go? It was a flipping holiday, super late at night and no cheap hotels in the area. This lady is the worst mother on the planet. I only hope nobody does something like that to her daughter and I really wanted my friend to tell her the next day I had to sleep on the street and was killed or all my shit was stolen. I hold grudges.

Instead, I went to the desk and had to drop 300 bucks for a room for the rest of my stay. Stupid biotch.

The next day I did the metro alone, since I'm just growing up so fast. I went to the Champs-Elysee (freaking sweet it's my name..kind of) walked along there, through the gardens du tuleries and then to the louvre. I spent a little over 3 hours in the museum, did the whole french painters wing, la jocund (mona lisa) and davids slaves. I saw some other stuff along the way, but after 3 hours I needed a nap. On the walk there I met a fun pair of security guards (things were blocked off for some big-wig political gathering) who entertained me and then wanted to get coffee later when the shift was over. I told them maybe. After my friend finished a tour with her family we went and saw l'arc de triumphe up close and walked around that area of the city.

I couldn't have been happier for my train home the next morning. Maybe someday I'll go back to Paris when I have a plan for myself. But since I wasn't in a good mood, the trip just didn't do it for me.

Here are the album links:

Yeah, yeah. I took a lot of pictures. At least that was good. It made me happy.

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