Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Paris

R.a.n.t. for day 04/18/15
Everyone who knows me, knows I love to travel. And it's also widely known, I love to travel to England. Back in 2010 I took my first trip to London. Being so close, I also thought it would be a good idea to travel to Paris. It was right there. But there were a few problems with my trip. First of all, I only planned a day trip. I decided I go and check out a few things, then come back to London, It shouldn't take that much time, should it? So I got up early to take the Chunnel to Paris, very early in the morning. I had a few things I wanted to see, and not enough time to see it. Now comes the bit I've never told anyone about. Did you know I was denied entry into Paris? Well, initially. Well, it was my fault. I left my passport on my bed at the hotel. D'oh! So my ticket was stamped refused. But I was told I could get my passport and take a later train. So I did.

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?

14 comments:

  1. Tourist traps are Universal I suppose? Especially the pan handlers.
    Great post!
    A to Z blogger

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    1. I think the drag is standing in a lot of lines, especially when you are travelling alone.

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  2. When I lived in London, we took a couple days to visit Paris. Our trip wasn't that different from yours. (Except we did remember our passports.) I was not impressed with Paris at all.

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    1. Always good to remember your passport.

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  3. I always imagined Paris to be sparkling not tarnished.

    The Eiffel Tower would be on the top of my list to see while there. :)

    Tourists get hit hard by scams and cons in other countries. It's sad they people take advantage of them/ I just hope those women weren't really lost and trying to get home. That would be rough.

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    1. It was a difference between night and day for me. The contrast between London and Paris. And I do agree, that it would be sad if those two women were true. But the fact they had those books filled with different languages all saying the same thing, and that they were at every tourist location, smells of fish to me.
      But for the record, and to feel better myself, I did give each a pound. It didn't break my bank.

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  4. Fascinating journey of events. The klingon joke is hilarious, I must try that one out!

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    1. It scares me that I actually do know a few phrases in Klingon. But only a few.

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  5. You were brave to "do" Paris in one day! That is something I would never do, because I love visiting it so much. I wouldn't want to live there, or London, but both of those cities I would visit over and over and over... Thanks for sharing! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. London I will always do again. Have always enjoyed it, alone or when I went with a friend. I'd like to do Paris again, but with a friend.

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  6. Hello there.
    Those locals can spot a foreigner a mile off! I love France and have been to Paris a couple of times. I would love to live in a French cottage surrounded by lavender fields (my favourite fragrance) and eat brie, baguettes and croissants with chocolate in the middle without gaining a single pound.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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    1. I'm sure in Paris I look like a tourists. I never look like a tourist in London unless it's one of the days I'm sight-seeing and bringing my camera with me. Some days, I use to go shopping or visit other places. I hope I don't always look like a tourist everywhere I go.

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