Archive | March, 2009

Ciao Bella! Milano

30 Mar

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Paris is for Lovers

22 Mar


Traveling to somewhere on the cheap is always a challenge. Even more so in big city, however
large and world renowned city this can be difficult especially
as they’re museums, cultural delicacies, and sights that sometimes you may or may not want to
“just take a picture” of. But with a little planning and alot fo patience anything is possible.
And as cheesy as it sounds you never know who your going to meet and who will help you along the
way.

This is a story about love in Paris.

It was an unusual warm sunning day in noth yorkshire. I’d been freaking about this trip to paris for weeks! Especially after
watching the movie ” Taken” with Liam Nesson. i had a contigence plan that included a detailed itenerary of exactly what
sites we were seeing and in what order, what i would be packing to where, and all my parents (In the USA) contact details

So with a rock in my gut i went boarded the train to leeds. After about 10 minutes of listening to my instant immersion
french I gave up- if i don’t have it now I never will. Frustrated at my late of discipline, I’d known I was going for the
last month and a half. By the time I boarded the bus I was in panic mode- “what if no body speaking english, omg they’re going to hate me! I am the ugly American!”. Or worse, what if they think I’m british, I’d recently perfected my “Ferne Cotton” look alike wardrobe. The flight went off with relative ease and like the tourist I am I was taking pictures of the tarmac and myself in the seat. For the best deals head to Jet2.com. 50 pound return… you can’t ask for much more.

After flying over the Paris it just hit me! THE LIGHTS! It really is just lik ethat U2 song! The city is just covered in tight and tidy rows! Again I have to give props to Jet2 on and off the plane in 15 mins. Seriously I urge everyone to be a carry on only traveler- especially given the current extra baggage fees.

So as a carry on only travel I hussled right off the plane and didn’t have to faff about with any baggage issues. Coincidentally every time I’ve had to check luggage on any airline something has always gone wrong- its a curse. So the first thing I do when I get to the airport is ask the first person I see if they speak English, in English- what an ass.

So a short walk, and a quick shit in my pant after seeing some French soldiers and carrying massive machine gun I’m at terminal 3, where the metro to take you into town is.

Its a little freaky to be honest. But anything in a city your not familiar with after dark would be.

There was a dangerously cute Parisian guy on the train in a green skunk funk jacket … big teeth, dribbly shaped nose, sad eyes, sullen cheeks, and greasy floppy hair. Unfortunately he was sitting next to an equally chic blond woman with blond razored hair cut and wet look legging- pain fully skinny but working the Paris- rock n roll chic look quite well! Topping off the look with some monochrome funky addidas sneakers. They quickly departed in to the night when I reached Gard Noord, the first real place to run off the RER and get the metro. This interchange will get you into the city, when you get into the Paris.

The most important thing you should remember about he transportation system is the metro will get you anywhere in the city but the RER will get you to the suburbs and Versailles so if you find you self on the bottom on the station with no where else to go, head up. If you jump on the wrong train with the wrong pass, if the ticketing agents (who I didn’t see any of) don’t catch you, it will still be a hefty price back. Not that I got to find that out as I had my first brush with French politics as an ATC strike shut down the trains to Versailles and kept the Louvre doors closed.

After jumping off at the Gard de Noord (North Train Station) I had to ask fro directions and then I headed up a level to the 4 to Bardes DeRochescourt, little did I know it was in the shitty part of town where all the drug dealers (big black guys/ little white thugs, as I was later told- some things are sadly universial). As I got off the train and ran like the child I am to see and smell the Parisain air I’d been dreaming about I got a whiff of what reminded me of Bourbon street on Good Friday, and what looked like a scene from the 9th ward in New Orleans, a place where my dad and I had gotten lost one night when looking for Tipatina’s so he could sneak me in to see the Psychedelic Furs :-), a fruitless journey but fun none the less . So I was definitely a little freaked but I’d see worst, even if it had been from the confines of my dad’s SUV, but I’m was 24 yrs old damn it not 16 and I was seeing “the real” Par-ee. So I asked a normal looking passer by where the hostel was and she said across the street and over- not too far if I wanted to walk in front of the creepy french g-sta’s so I walked around. But about every 5 ft I saw a group or a person that looked like trouble so I kept my head down and eyes up and looked for my hostel. I did look up when someone said something to me, and then they proceeded to say something that even in another language you knew was dirty. Then I looked up and scowled and they followed me to the hostel doors getting louder and louder.

The hostel reception didn’t seem to mind or care about me or the creeps at the door. I went to my room when my roommate from Madrid and I had a weird but funny conversation due to my lack of French and her lack of English- Spanish was our only real sort of way to communicate and even 5 minutes in I was wishing I’d not used the online translator for the majority of my Spanish homework. An Asian couple came in next. The room had its own bathroom but I was too tired and had forgot to wear sock or bring pjs so I was just going to sleep in my clothes- until I realized just how freakin hot it was in the room -ugh!

So after in a fit of heat induced rage I pulled my jeans off and got settle just to start hearing that damn snoring and as I kicked my leg out in frustration I kicked my jeans off the bed…. idiot….

The whole night between the Asian man HIDEOUS snoring and the spanish girl slapping the wall to make him shut up or at least get the hint to shut up I didn’t really get to sleep, but at least I had my shower to look forward to and on a whole the room was totally clean- mattress, sheets… everything. So 4am hit and I’m bursting, but like a moron I’ve picked the top bunk on a bunk bed with a person I don’t want to piss off below me, and I’m in a tee shirt and undies. This whole trip I was totally conscious of not wanting to be the ugly American. And I don’t care what your social bountries are in your culture I didn’t need anyone catched a glimmer of my anything in the pale moon light that lit that purple sweat box of a room up!

I waited, sleeping in 10 minute increments for Madrid girl to wake up so I could ask for my “pantalones” and to “vamo el bano”, but I ended up getting my pant and then she rushed off to the loo. So I sat there holding it for at least 20 minutes, I wish I could have wet by self- really, some times I wish it were socially acceptable, however I’d only brought one pair of pants so this was just unfeasible.

The shower was just what I needed and I got ready,packed up my crap and took off out in the world! PARIS!!!!!!!!

 

I went to the kebab place next door, which I’d read on the internet had the best kebab anywhere in the world. And again I was wishing I’d not given up so quickly on my itunes French lessons. The kebab shop had something that looked vaguely like a really deformed pancake crossaint thathad been fried, it was deliecous and only 3 euros (including one of the best coffees i’d ever had. The more I looked around the kebab shop it looked like one of those dive cafes you see Tony Soprano and his entourage at in the wee hours of the morning. I thought I may have once again, been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I couldn’t tell if they were Greek or Algerian, or some other nationality in southern Mediterranean or Northern Africa. They were nice enough but hadan air that said they belonged there, defanitely not the kind of restaurant/cafe where they over compliment you and are deperate for you to know they need you patronage and acceptance. Watching the old men (all 50+ walk in and out and the younger men come in and head to the back of the restaurant you had to wonder what was going on. In the 20 minutes or so I’d been out there I’d seen at least at least 4-5 guy going in the back an stay back there, all well dressed street wise, and plenty of jewelry. The best was the grandpa looking guy doing all the cooking, seemingly harmless but could have easily been a mafiaso boss.

 

Before heading to gay Par-ee I’d tried to make an itinerary with all the sight (Eiffel, Arc, Champs, Cimt. De Pere- jim morrison, versailles, lourve, pantheon, bastille, sorbonne). I used the Time-out Paris book as much as I could thanks to its handy metro station map. I headed to St. Michel first to catch the RER out to Versailles.

After about 20 minutes of waiting, another American tourist came up to me asking about versailles. He was either gay or very well spoken and wearing a chicago bears t-shirt and a huge bagpack that screamed TOOOURIST. The more I was talking to him the more annoyed I became with American’s and really started to doubt how much I would be able to put up with it all when I got back. But back the trains, he told me the attendent said it wasn’t running and she told me “technically it was”- the guide book said get on the vick or vero trains…. there were none on the departures board and thanks to my handy-dandy O2 blackberry the Versailles website said they would be open were as the lourve website said they would be shut due to the strike- and eager to tell anyone who would listen that he was

I’m so in love! The city is amazing! it makes you want to fall in love! Had a fabulous time-better than fabulous- they had this huge strike so the louvre and Versailies was closed so i went and saw all the other sites. When when I was searching for Jm Morrisons grave in the Cimitere du Pere i met this guy- he totally just starting speaking in french to me and and I just smiled and nodded like you do and then i tried speaking french and it just kinda snowballed!The rest of the day was me trying to speak french and him doing okay with the english, we did the Sacer Coure, so amazing! my favorite spot in all of Paris! And then he’s proceeded to eat my face- almost literally LOL, and ya it was a little too agressive for my taste but he seemed well into it hahah. It felt extremely wrong and then just felt right. When in Paris, right?… why not make out with a cute french man! (and he was older too… 30 😉 lol! But in all fair need the guy did butter me up before going in for the kill… its was wild and weird and crazy and completely random! So then we got dinner and went for a walk along the Siene and then I decided I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower at night- so we jumped on the metro and high talled in to the Tower. When we get there and its complete dark by then so we ended up making out for a couple hours in front of the Tower… dude it was just picture perfect – like a god damn movie!!!! I keep thinking I’ve hallucenated it! From the time I met him to the time we went our separate ways- it was just soooo unexpected and fantastic. It was almost too perfect, especially considering when I first met him I thought he was one of thsoe creepy guys that preys on tourist like in that new Liam Nesson movie “Taken” which is why I didn’t get into the specifics and lied about everything (said I was with 5 other girls and guys and then pretended to check my phone saying they’d been texting me so they knew where i was)- because in reality I went to paris completely on my own. So when we were laying on the stairs at the sacre clour i was like sooo have you seen this movie and I describe the movie “taken” and then he was like ohhh… and then there was this light bulb and he’s like, “do you think I’m going to take you?” and I was like “vous me dire” (you tell me) and then he got all serious and was like ” if you wish” and then gave me this killer grin… ahhh! I could have melted into a puddle of mush! LOL! I seriously laughed for like 5 minutes bc i was just soooo embarassed… I don’t think he got it lol- then I was like okay, well let me see some id. And he busted out his bus pass, work ID’s and everything- and everything he told me corrolated with his ID’s, he conducts medical trial testing for this University Dierot something something- its over by the sorbonne- he said doctor but when he was describing what he did it sounded like a research type of doctor not a hospital type. Wheeeeeeew- Paris was amazing.

On my way to the airport my pass had apparently expired (even tho it wasn’t supposed to) the night before and thankfully it was 5am and no one was a around so in frustration I jumped the gate and hopped on the first train to arrival which was maybe 20 seconds later 🙂

But after we say said adios… ahhhh which was just toooo perfect… he held my head in his hands and just,…. ahhh kissed me next to the St Michel metro stop (next to notre dame)…. my heart hurts just talking about it- just one of those kisses that makes your lips be all plumped up for hours after… omg. And then he wrote his number on my hand kissed it and said good bye- I honest to god felt like I was in a movie, I almost wanted to cry (I’m pathetic I KNOW)- THINGS LIKE THIS JUST DON’T HAPPEN TO ME… if it was a movie tho i’d have a way better wardrobe- god i looked like a hobo- theres pic of him in paris album on here.

So I stayed up all night in this cafe next to the St. Michel metro stop “Cafe depart” and people watched and chatted with the waiters, wrote some postcards, the usu.

but holy crap!

On my way to the airport my pass had apparently expired (even tho it wasn’t supposed to) the night before and thankfully it was 5am and no one was a around so in frustration I jumped the gate and hopped on the first train to arrival which was maybe 20 seconds later 🙂