R.a.n.t. for day 04/18/15
I few hours later, I finally made it into Paris. This was a different world. London seemed so clean to me and yet Paris seemed a bit tarnished. The train station I arrived in was certainly very dirty. It also didn't take long till some young lady came up to me asking what language I spoke. I'm not dumb. I just stepped off the train, not the turnip truck. Still, I answered with English. Her language was broken but she was able to open a small notebook she had and opened it to a page. I had my wallet in my front pocket and made sure to keep tabs on it. Let me assure you, I wasn't robbed. But it was interesting because the booklet was asking me for money because she was 'trapped in Pairs' with no money and looking for a way home. She must have been trapped for a long time because this notebook had the same thing written in many languages. German, Chinese, Dutch, probably even Karen Sgaw. Who knows? Next time I'll say I speak Klingon and see what happens. "naDevvo' yIghoS!"
The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. One young lad was offering to sell me tickets for the train at a discount price. Wow, so many people here willing to help and in need in help. Or, just people looking to make money off of tourists. I felt right at home. I'm begged for money at home quite frequently. I guess Paris was trying to make me feel at home. My first stop was the Louvre. I had a crazy notion to run in, see the Mona Lisa and run out. Of course it was packed and took longer to get in than I thought. My run through the museum was almost that, a quick run through. I was now about two hours behind schedule. I had a return train I HAD to make or I would be stranded in Paris. I wouldn't want that to happen, I'd have to start my own little 'trapped' notebook.
After the Louvre I made my way to the Arc de Triomphe, because it was on the way. This was the sort of thing I was probably least interested in seeing. The line wasn't bad, and I actually had a good time. No one begged me for money and two locals saw me taking photos of the place and offered to take my photo for me. Don't worry, they didn't run off with it. Do I look like Chevy Chase? Is this my European Vacation? Not hardly. So I was happy with my stop here. The Eiffel Tower was near enough so I decided to walk the distance. True, it was a bit further than I realized, but the walk was nice and I was greeted by many people. I stopped in a bakery on a side street and the gentleman inside was friendly and courteous. I had always been told French people were rude and hated Americans. I never found this to be true. Not to my face anyway.
Arriving at the Eiffel Tower, was shocked to realize how long the line was. Three Hours! I looked at my clock and I had just about five hours left in my day. I decided I could do it. So I got in line and waited for three hours. Talk about feeling isolated. Everyone spoke a different language. Two ladies behind me were speaking German, the classroom of kids in front of me seemed to all me French. I didn't think the Eiffel Tower was something French people actually did. I was also entertained by walking merchants, wanting to sell me the Eiffel Tower. Albeit, replicas. I was also approached by some lady who had this notebook of sorts and asked what language I spoke. Want to guess what was written in the book? Either I've been followed or she stole this idea. Or there is a network of people lost in Paris. I see them congregating in a cafe late at night pooling their money together to see if they can finally make it home.
Lost Soul One: "Do we have enough money to make it home?"
Lost Soul Two: "Yes, we had enough money three months ago."
LS1: "Then why are we still here?"
LS2: "Because we are making more money here than back home."
At the end of the day, I made it 'home' safely. It was late at night, but I did it. I saw Paris (at least a portion of it) in one day. I met a lot of new friends, and had many great new experiences. Would I go back? Initially, right after the trip I told myself no. But on reflection, I'd have to say I could be tempted. Because I know what I did wrong. First, I rushed myself. France isn't about rushing. If I wanted to be rushing, I should have gone to Russia. Seriously though, I need to plan another trip. Don't do the touristy things. Because I was enjoying London, especially the days I sat with the people, did non-touristy things. I also know what to expect now. And when I went, I went alone. I need to travel with someone. At the very least, I wouldn't feel like I was isolated.
Photos of my day trip to Paris can be seen HERE.
Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever taken a trip that was disappointing?
What's the longest you've waited in a queue line? What was the queue for?
If you could travel to just one place, all expenses paid. Where would you go?