Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Paris 1990 Part Deux

I arrived in Paris in May, 1990 after a difficult overnight train ride and near miss with falling pigeon turd.

My college buddy, Mimi, was living with a host family. In Italy, all of my neighbors were up by 6am and the stores were open before 7am. I thought that calling after 7:30am from a pay phone was reasonable. When I called, her host father barked into the phone "It is too early!" and hung up on me.

I had the address of the school where she was taking classes so I planned to find Mimi later. I found a youth hostel listed in Let's Go and went to get a bed. I found the neighborhood pretty quickly and realized I was in the red light district. I trudged on and got in line for a bed. When I got to the window, the clerk informed me the last bed was taken. She handed me a flyer for a week old place called The Three Ducks Hostel. It was in a completely different part of the city.

I got to a subway stop and practiced saying in French please help me, I don't speak French. I got to the tourist booth planning to ask how to take the subway to the station near the Three Ducks. After fumbling through je ne parle pas francais the attendant loudly said, in perfect American English, "You're in France. Speak French."

I stumbled away and became, simply put, a blubbering sobbing mess. After a sleepless night on the craziest train ride, not reaching my friend and feeling utterly alone, I lost it. I don't remember getting into the subway station but a subway employee came up to me. Clutching the flyer, I showed him the address and he walked me to a platform, waited for the train to arrive, pointed at the map until I acknowledged the station stop I needed and got me settled into a seat.

The hostel was in a residential neighborhood. As I walked up, a group of Australians were drinking beer around an empty concrete pool. By now it was 10am.

I finally found Mimi and we had wonderful time trapsing through Luxemburg Gardens, eating bread and cheese, and wondering around the city.

Early the next morning I was heading north to Normandy. As I waited for the train to depart I saw movement in the next train over. A man in a full suit with a tie had his pants unzipped and was jerking off in the window staring right at me. I sighed, pulled the window curtain and continued to read.

The City of Lights was the city to forget.

1 comment:

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

what the DEAL with the sex on the trains over there? Geez Louise!!!