Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Parisian Adventure

Greetings Friends,

Have you ever had one of those does where nothing seems to go right? Or you're just really bored? Or you just really want a good laugh? Well, then I have the perfect blog for you!

If you read the blog before my last you'll recall that this weekend was my trip to Paris all by my lone-some, and I would like to point out that this was my decision and that I didn't go by myself because no one else likes me. Either way, my time in Paris was actually quite eventful and I thought I'd begin by sharing the adventure I had in just trying to get to my hostel.

So, my beginning trekk to Paris went just fine. I decided to travel via EurOlines, which meant I took a bus to Dover, got onto a ferry which took me across the channel and then hopped back on the bus to Paris.Nothing really exciting happened until I arrived at the bus station.

Now, Drew doesn't like to use maps, and its not one of those "machismo-I know where I'm going and don't need to ask where I'm going" type of things. Because we most definitally know I have NO clue where I'm going usually. But more of a maps actually tend to confuse me even more. I'm much more of a hands on type learner, figuring things out as I go, not planning.

Anyway, so I get to the metro station and spend forever looking at the map before finally figuring out what tube will get me to where I need to go. After I figured that out it took me another 10 minutes trying to find a cash machine so I could get money to buy a metro ticket, before remembering that I had a 5euro note left in my wallet from Fall Break. So, I buy my ticket and figure out that I needed to take the 3 tube to St. Lazere where I'd then switch to the 12 line which would take me to my hostel.

Well, I get to the platform and hop on the tube,and wait like 15 minutes before it finally leaves. It's already uncomfortably crowded,but not anything I wasn't used to on the tubes in London. Well, at the next stop another bunch of people decide they can get on too and it was literally a mad shove to make it onto to the tube. By this time I'm slam-jam pressed right up against people.

Suddenly, some woman starts talking to me at French and motioning and I kind of assuemd she was asking me to scoot in more and I just smiled and shook my head, seeing as I really didn't think I and anymore room to move. However, a few minutes later a guy starts talking to me in French and motioning and finally I say "Sorry I don't speak French" and this other lady next to me yells and slams against me,scooting me over,so I'm pretty much giving the lady on my left a lap dance, all while yelling at me in French.

So, here I am absolutly crammed into a metro car in a country I've only been in for 30ish minutes and its like 7am. Well, the train slows down and stops in between stations.Well, I figured it was just a little mini stop, and that we were waiting for the train in front of us to leave or something, but NO, we end up sitting in this tube for 20 minutes and see metro workers walking by in the tube. Finally, the tube slowly lurches foward and we make it to the next stop.

When we arrive, an announcement comes over the intercom,but of course its in French, so I have no clue whats being said, but everyone around me groaned and emptied the train. SO, I took it to mean that the tain was broke.

So, I stand on the platform with a sea of other people waiting for the next train. This takes about another 5 minutes and we all cram on again and I'm pretty sure we were close enough that someone owes me dinner, and it only continues to get worse and more and more people attempt to fight their way onto the train.

Finally, we get to St. Lazere and it was literally a shoving match between the people on the train trying to get off and the mass of people trying to get in. But, I made it and found my way to the other platform for the 12 tube.

So, I sit around and see that the next train doesn't come for another 25 minutes;by this point I am starting to get scared as to how my weekend in Paris is going to turn out.

I get onto the train,luckily by this time the crowds have thinned and I was actually able to sit down and I make to to my stop fine and find my hostel, oh and its 11am.

So, needless to say it was quite an exciting first 4 hours in the city! And I later find out that no, the tube systems in Paris don't suck,but rather they're on strike and so everything is crazy!

The rest of the day was the same with travel. I did my best to walk everywhere and don't worry I did plenty, but when I did take the tube it was usually at least a 10 minute wait,often times more. Including a couple more jam packed rides where we were packed in so tight that you could have taken off the top,turned us upside down and nothing would have fallen out.

Luckily, Saturday was better and my weekend turned out amazing!

I visited all the usual places, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur-this beautiful church on a hill, Louvre museum and Museum d'orsay. Lucky for me, the Louvre was free to students on Friday nights after 6,so I took advantage of that and saw the Mona Lisa!

I made friends with the other backpackers who were staying in my room, Jordan a junior from UCLA who was studying in the Netherlands and Ian a recent uni grad from Canada who had been backpacking through Europe since September, and we walked up to the Sacre Coeur to see the city at night. The next day, Jordan and I toured Paris together and visited all the sights,it was nice having someone to talk to instead of being by myself the whole time. The Musee d'orsay was really neat to see alot of the work done by artists we had talked about in art class and I actually knew what they were doing and what was going on.

At one point in the day we decided to try and go walk through the catacombs,which is these underground tunnels made from bones of dead bodies, WELL it takes us forever to finally find it and when we do, we realize that we're like 5 MINUTES LATE to the last admission :( After visiting Notre Dame together we parted ways and I went to the Eiffel Tower.

It was a super long climb but most definitally worth it! I was lucky and climbed it at just the right time,so I saw the city as the sun was setting and also with all the bright city lights and traffic going on, and it was gorgeous!

My trip back to the bus station on Saturday night was just as exciting. I got lost trying to find the metro station,so instead I waited at a bus stop for a bus to take me to a bus station. Well, the bus takes forever but finally shows up, at this point its around 8:00 and I needed to be there at 9 to check in for my 10 o'clock bus.
Well, the bus gets me to the stop I was wanting and I get the metro and find out that the platform I needed was currently under renovations but I could take the 8line to Republique and switch to the 3 line which would take me to my bus stop.

So, I wait and it takes about another 25 minutes for the 8 to show up, and it takes me to Republique and I get to the 3 platform. WELL, at this point its 8:50 and I'm getting nervous, I knew that I didn't need to be there right at 9. I mean, last time it took 30 mins just to wait in line so I knew if I made it by 9:30-I would be fine. But I decided that if by 9:15 a train hadn't shown up I would take a taxi. So, I wait...and wait...and wait and finally at 9:14 the tube shows up and I get to the bus station and everything was fine.

So, you'd think its done. That my exciting adventures were over and I made it just grand to London. WELL, yes...........and no! I get back home to London-its 5am and Im riding the N11 bus to Trafalger Square so I can catch the trust N97 to home. WELL, halfway to Trafalger Square the BUS BREAKS DOWN and I had to switch buses. But, yes, I eventually made it home and collapsed into bed.

So, that was my weekend in Paris. All the exciting transportation adventures and beautiful sight seeing.

Don't worry pictures are already up! Here's the link-

I would also like to thank all of you who read the blog last week and helped me win the contest, thanks to you I had 162 hits in just 7 days!!

Hope all is well!



Anonymous said...

Thanks Drew, Now I can go to work and not worry about you. Sounds like you had an adventurous time and you are glad to be back with friends. Have a great Monday and get some rest.


Robbie L said...

That's a great piece of journalism Drew. Sounds like you had fun!