Archive for August, 2007

Paris is here, wish you were beautiful.

Friday, August 10th, 2007

When I got into Paris I got ripped off by the cab driver. He was one of those guys who stands in the airports asking dumb foreigners (like moi) if they need a taxi. He charged me eighty euros for the ride from the airport, which should have been more like thirty or forty, tops. Don’t get me wrong, he was friendly and all, and made conversation to the extent that his English and my French allowed (not very far at all). So, being a clueless North American, I tipped him! Because that’s just the kind of fish I am.

It wasn’t a huge deal, I mean I’ll just expense it to the company anyway so no big whoop. The problem is that these fake-o taxis aren’t insured as taxis, so if we’d gotten into an accident I’d’ve been fucked. Lesson: learned. My co-worker fell for the same scam I guess, because she’d emailed me before I left Vancouver saying that I should expect to pay around 85 euros for the cab from the airport. So that was was that.

I also got here right when the Tour de France was going on, and i had to cross the Champ Elysees to get from the place where I picked up my apartment key to the apartment, carrying all my luggage through crazy nutty tourist craziness. It took me ages to figure out how to get into my apartment because the directions I was given were completely wrong and I spent half an hour trying to open the wrong apartment door, until I was able to convince myself that No, objectively none of these keys fit in this door, I’m not just stupid. After I had the brainstorm of matching the name on the keys to the name on the door, it worked — eventually. A sticky locking mechanism nearly reduced me to tears.

Anyways, not to go into all the dull touristy details, Paris is a nice place to walk around. But of course, I always want to see the seedy areas because those are the places that are the most fun to people-watch, so I liked going down to Pigalle and having a beer on a terrace in the evenings. Pigalle was called “Pig Alley” by the American soldiers in the second World War, because that’s where all the prostitutes hung out. Nowadays it’s mostly sex shops. I only went there once or twice, until I was warned off by a resident co-worker, but I have to say that the dodginess had nothing on Vancouver. No hordes of cracked-out zombies like we have. Mostly a lot of this:

I’m heading back to Vancouver on Sunday, and I’ll be glad to be home in my own apartment and bed and routine. One thing that bugs me about Paris is that I can’t get a big fat-ass honking cuppa joe in the morning to bring to work, as is my custom. They only serve these gay little espresso drinks. Maybe that’s why the French are never in a big hurry.

I made a faux pas (that’s French!) the other day by ordering some cheese after my meal and an espresso at the same time. The waiter was like You want espresso with your cheese??? And I was like Is that not done? He said A French person would not do zis, but you are not French so ees ok. (Another odd thing is that as soon as I would say Bonjour to a waiter, they would immediately start in with the English. My pronunciation must be terrible.)

Ok, that’s all. Here are my pictures.