Saturday, October 6, 2007

Paris, je t'aime?

Today is my first day walking around, alone, in a country whose primary language is not English.

I got out of the bus which took me from Beauvais airport to Paris, and started heading in the direction of where I believed the Metro to be ("look for a circle with a big yellow M" I was told). I walked for about a mile, circling and going down side streets, finding a lack of any such Metro. I was almost run over by the crazy French drivers who fight each other in what amounts to an endless game of sideways chicken to get ahead during rush hour. They turn on the "walk" signal here when the vehicle traffic crossing the pedestrian line still has the green. It's up to the driver to see you and stop. Imagine my surprise as I'm walking into the intersection as I'm nearly sideswiped by a hatchback and flattened by a minivan.

Le sigh.

Anyway, headed back to the lot, walked in the opposite direction this time. Ah, hello Metro. Surprisingly enough, the Metro is amazingly easy to follow (once you freakin find it). Easier than in Chicago. I'm transferring lines and hopping trains in no time.

And watching everyone intently in a proactive thievery prevention strategy. Yes, that means you, woman holding a baby. I know how you totally eyed these slippers, these two dollar Walmart specials. I've got my eye on you....

Get out of the subway at the right stop, head to where I'm supposed to go according to Google maps. Uhhh.... where the heck is this street (Alleé de la Chocolaterie)... I walk to the end of the street, turn around, and walk back. I go up to number 22 and look at the street sign... Rue Jules Ferry.

Oh freakinay, my brilliant plan to find the place on my own has hit a huge roadblock. I have no clue where this Alleé is around me. Best of all, this is the last step too. Oh, Christ, help meeee.

Some old Chinese lady with a dog is walking by, and she stares at me. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking "I wonder if she thinks I'm lost. Maybe she'll help me out. Please God, let her be helpful."

I keep walking, head to another building and peer in the glass door. Dude, there is no way this place could be it. Oh man... stern resolve crumbling... fear creeping in... sense of helplessness growing... Huh?

The old lady was saying something in French. "Uhhh.... (in my best imitation French accent) Alleé de la Chocolaterie?" She points at the paper I'm holding, and I show her the house number, 22. She says, in slow broken English "Oh, zat is my 'ouse. I live weeth my, uh... daughter."

ZOMG. I'm saved.

Turns out, she's my host's mother.



xposition said...

Dude, that's totally Korean drama style! Next episode, Xtopher falls in love, but will he choose the hot one or the cute one? (Go for the hot one.) -- Cobo

xposition said...

Oh yeah, and the mom is not a choice.