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Published: January 11th 2012
The trip has been nothing like I expected. From the minute I stepped on the plane in Seattle (the first leg of my international flight) it was one surprise after another. I never would have thought that I'd crave airplane food, but when there isn't an option of having any, you start drooling for some. I guess it's just one more thing to thank the failing economy for: the lack of free food on an international flight. Merci au monde!
With little sleep, frustrated after having missed nearly two flights, my arrival in Paris was nothing short of a relief. I ride the train in, where I must say Parisians have found an art of seeing everything without actually looking at anything. Gare de Nord was nothing like the Hollywood movie Hugo made it out to be; much too modern and very little mystery. I searched for the little clock boy, but he was no where to be found.
Now if only I could find my hostel. We've all seen those tourists, the ones with the plethera of bags who gaze desperately at a map, hoping that just maybe it will magically speak to them and reveal the hidden
passage to their destination. Well, I was one of those. Thankfully Parisians are more inclined to help a lone female traveler than one would have thought, and thanks to a very nice Portuguese man, I was shown the way.
Here is where I need a little feedback about the French custom of greeting and friendliness. Is it normal to hold a stranger's hand over lunch, as if you two had an amazing, personal connection? Or is it just that my hands looked cold? (Which they weren't for the record.) Whatever it was, my new found friend led me by the hand, quite literally, through Paris and through Sacre Coeur. You all know the face I get when I don't know what is going on: wide eyed, like a baby deer. I'm sure the poor man thought I was about to break down into tears any second.
After leaving my friend outside the hostel, safe with a door and a maître d'hôtel between us, I finally got to settle into a very cute little room, my original room being under construction. After having washed 48 hours of travel filth off, I decided that sunset was no reason not to
John the Baptist
Mon amour, Leonardo!
explore a little bit of Paris. So, as a typical American, I popped in my headphones and headed off to see the artistic Montemartre.
My first impression was that Paris never sleeps. People were out in force, calling across the street, yelling into cell phones; motorcycles race by nearly clipping your heals. Cafés are filled, Parisians smoking on sidewalks, and their is a distinct smell of cobblestones in the air: it's the smell of the city.
I'm sure you all can guess what my first stop was? Bread, of course!!!! A beautiful apple turnover, fresh from the bakery; And ordered in French, I might add! My treat in hand I set off again and just as I'm about to put my headphones back in, another man stops me.
Thus enters another friend, Nabil. Kindly adopting me as a lost, wandering neighbor this true Montemartre citizen takes me around his neighborhood, introducing me to more French people than I could have met in a whole week by myself. Strangers kissed my cheeks, accepting me in stride due to my Parisian escort, patiently speaking French with me, correcting where necessary and laughing when appropriate. Finished
John the Baptist
Encore mon amour
the night off with an acoustic guitar session, and c'était un nuit parfait!
That's all I've got at the moment! There is still more of Paris to explore and I will update again later!
Au revoir mes amis et des plus!
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