Bonjour! J'ai Arrive en France, au Paris! C'est Lundi Matin, Je crois....finally a sense of adventure has settled in, as my first night here was a bit of a trial.
i left Amsterdam on Sunday via train, and landed myself, after a lovely train ride through the countryside, at the Main train station in Paris.
Now, I had planned to stay with a friend of the family's, and right away tried to contact her fro directions and such, however I couldn't get the number to work, so I decided to decipher the Paris Metro system and just show up. Riiiiiiiiight.
now that I have been here a couple days, I see how easy the system is, but since I had no sense of direction in my sleep deprived state, and no idea which way to go, I couldn't figure it out! So I just elected to start walking and hope that i would find a hostel. hehe. ummmmm, so after about two hours of wandering I was getting a bit nervous, so i thought I would just hire a cab and it would be easy sailing from there.
None of the cabs would take me. something about my backpack maybe, or maybe they really were too busy, but every one I approached shook their heads and told me to bugger off. Eventually a man standing off to the side of the building approached me and asked, in broken english if I needed a cab. Normally I would know better than to accept a ride from a guy lurking about a train station, but i felt it was the only option at the time, and figured that my winning personality and charm would keep me from any harm.
And so it did! the gentleman was from the Congo, and we had a lively discussion about the political changes that had taken place since the 50's and 60's, and also about the state of things in the U.S. we got along greatly, even better when her learned that I spoke decent french. So for a nominal fee I found myself at the address i had written down, and hopped out of the "cab," doned my pack and waved my driver friend away.
it was about then that it dawned on me that I was at my friend's work address, not her house. I was again at a loss. no worries, says I, I'll find a hostel around here somewhere. Riiiiiiiight. After another hour or so of wandering and a few halting conversations in french i stopped at the nearest hotel and asked the front desk person where I could sleep cheaply in the area. She looked me over and said "nowhere, really, you're across the city from any hostels and the closest cheap hotel is E80" hmmmmm.
So what the hell, i did it. I mean, it was the streets or the hotel, and I was too tired to look forward to a night of dodging cops and such, so I chickened out and opted for the hotel.
It was decent and I finallt slept a few hours, and had a wonderful conversation in the morning with the desk clerk/hotel manager guy who had lived in San Diego for a few months, and who was very excited to show off his english skills.
the next day brought a feeling of redemtion as i figured out the Metro system quite easily and found my way to Notre Dame, the Louvre, Saint-Chapelle, and a hostel on the SE side of town.
I stayed at the hostel "young and happy," which is by far the nicest hostel I have ever stayed in. Very clean, very friendly and quiet, with a lovely kitchen and common area, and for E7 you can get a bottle of very bad french wine. the free breakfast consisted of bread and jam and coffee and juice, and was quite sufficient for my appatite.
so here i am, now finally staying at my friend's house, and have been asked to dog-sit while they are away in Nice for the weekend. My own place in Paris. I'm very excited to spend a day or two just resting around the house, in preparation for my trip to Bangkok on Wednesday.
I have been offered an oportunity for work at a nearby restaurant, but the owner seems hesitant and I'm not too stoked about working right now. i'm so relaxed having gotten some sleep and taken in so many sights of Paris (including the Louvre, the cemetary Pere-Lachaise, a few pubs, eiffel tower, some decent theater, and having walked accross the whole city for a day). I think i might just relax until i have to leave.
Posted by Colin
on November 21, 2003 06:29 AM