|So you know what I said about it being the worst travel day yesterday? Um, I take it back. Today was shitty, with a capital S.
Gary and I left their house at 6:30 a.m. and got to the airport at 7:15. So I checked in, went thru security, and sat….and waited….and waited….and paid $12 for internet….and waited some more. We board the plane at 9:00 am and sit there for almost 1 ½ hours. So annoyed. And I love kids, I do. But on an idle plane with nothing to do? It was bad. Reeeal bad. After almost 2 hours we take off. To say I’m annoyed and irritable is an understatement.
I get to Charles De Gaulle, and it seems like smooth sailing. Everything is in English, so I follow the signs to the train. Find it. Yes, I’m almost there! Uh, nope, another line to stand it. Thankfully a very friendly British man informed me that I couldn’t buy a train ticket with me credit card because I didn’t’ have a ‘chip’. This is the 2nd time this has been an issue. So I go into another line and get a ticket to the RER B. Stephanie calls me from a pay phone and I tell her to meet me at the train station. And boy, does she deliver... I walk up the stairs, after being on a very crowded French train,to Steph waiting for me with a nice cold glass of wine. I’M IN PARIS!!
We find our apartment, which is in a old gothic area of the Latin Quarter. We can see Notre Dame from our street. Yeah, surreal once again. We get upstairs, and realize ‘studio apartment’ has a different meaning in Paris. It’s the size of my dining room (about 20 by 15 feet. I’m being generous). But we dump our back packs off, freshen up (yeah another theme of the travels) and head out to grab a bite to eat.
We find a café and order some food and a bottle of wine (it’s 4:00, so it’s totally fine to start drinking) and realize, WE’RE IN PARIS!! After the bottle of wine, we notice an Irish Bar has opened up across the street called O’Sullivans. What’s the harm? It’s got to have American beer, so let’s just go for a drink and move on.
Stephanie and I sit down, and being American, which is obvious to a lot of people, order a glass of wine and a beer. Frank, our bartender from Spain sounded more Irish than Spanish, but nonetheless, got us set up with a Bulmer’s and wine. They have the French version of ESPN on, and we see highlights from the Bears game. YAY, AMERICAN FOOTBALL!! As we mention this out loud, a couple next to us says” “Are you from Chicago?” Sure enough, we have come across a couple on their honeymoon from Chicago (well Bridgeport, but you know they say ‘Chicago’, crazy Southsiders). We proceed to chit chat and realize that Stephanie’s older sister and the girl (Michelle) went were in the same sorority at EIU together. The small world had gotten smaller. We all do some shots and drinks, and some more shots, and then decide it is our mission to do a pub crawl in Paris. Yep, Chicago representing!
We take some random photos, drink some more at the pubs, do some more shots, and then stumble outside for some crepes (which are like burritos in Chicago because they’re on every corner here). We all share some Nutella/Bananna/ and Ham/Cheese crepes. It was out-freaking-standing. We now feel ready to take on the world. Wait…where the F are we? Oh yeah…….PARIS!!!
So as we are standing on the street trying to figure out our next plan we see a Cyber Café which has photos of half naked people and some sort of automatic doors. I decide to inspect further, which means, falling face first into a 1st class porno shop. Ohhhh, great…. After Stephanie, Graham and Michelle stop laughing at me; we decide to go inside to see what it’s all about. At this point, I’m overwhelmed with the photos of strange fetishes, Stephanie and Michelle are looking at the other side of the wall at more fetishes and Graham is digging in his pockets for euros. Apparently we a few minutes away from the ‘show’. Dear lord, I cannot even tell you what we saw, but we walked into a theater that smelled ungodly, stepped on a sticky floor, and watched 10 minutes of bad French porn. It was funny and wrong on so many levels, but once again, we’re on vacation and only the Chicagoans would find a place like this.
After gagging from the smell, we leave, not after taking a picture with the owner, and head our separate ways. Stephanie and I got their e-mail addresses because, after all, we shared a very intimate moment in Paris together. Porn and Crepes. It does not get any better than this.
We stumble back to our studio, and realize that Notre Dame is stunning at night. A few drunken pictures, some more walking, and we’re finally at home. A great first night in the city of lights. Even if they were ‘Red’ lights, it was a good night here in Paris.