Friday, 30 July 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Alright guys, I am definitely slacking on the blogging. As each day passes, I think to myself: "Man, I need to blog about this, but wait. I can't, because I haven't finished writing about the last 3-4 days." So I'm making it a priority to write this entry even though I am feeling whoozy from tonight's events (which I need to blog about as well). Continuing on the last blog...

Day 3
So we woke up at 6:00 and decided we wanted to see the Pantheon. We headed toward the metro station to figure out where we would go from there. My classmate looked at the metro map and asked me how we had gotten to the Notre Dame Cathedral so I examined the map for a few seconds and showed him the highlighted points. Can you guess where this went? Yep. He didn't believe me. "No, I don't think so. I'm asking you where we went yesterday for the Notre Dame." I re-examined the map and said "Yes, these are the lines we took to get there." He wouldn't have it. So I waited a few minutes to wait for him to figure out and the light bulb went off for him. Voila; "Oh, you were right, never mind." I brushed that event off since it was early off in the morning and I like to be optimistic. So off we went. As soon as we got off the metro, we found ourselves weaving through the streets and getting somewhat lost. We walked aimlessly through different alley way hills. Hit and missed a lot on streets were trying to get onto. The entire 20 minutes, I again had to listen to him going "Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk" over and over again in his frustration. He was constantly complaining with things like "This is so stupid, Gosh, I can't stand this, Ugh, Come on, Where is this stupid place?!, I'm sick of this"... the list goes on, I kid you not and I simplified his complaints. I can't stand it when people complain openly for long periods of time. I like to complain in my mind, and I did just that. Besides, it wasn't even that bad to get lost in a city like Paris.

When we reached the Pantheon, we took some pictures and then realized it wouldn't open for another hour or so. So we decided to go and see the Saint Chapelle church. Boy was that a waste of 5 euros. It definitely wasn't worth it. I'd never heard of it, I was being super stingy with my money refusing to take out more euros than I already had, and I was saving it for Marie Antoinette's estate. I caved in and went in since it was supposed to be famous for it's history with the Byzantine structure and all. I'm a sucker for history and architecture, but boy was this a let down. It was such a let down that I didn't even bother taking pictures. I'm probably being excessively harsh on this thing, but unless I'm a fanatical history/architectural major, I'm not going to be crazy about spending 5 euros on this thing that I could literally see within 2 minutes.

After this short little excursion, we went back up to the Pantheon. This place was also 5 euros but boy was it absolutely worth every bit of it. I appreciated the structure of it, every little nook and cranny, every piece of painting on the ceilings, walls, the caricatures along each far side of the walls... even the huge pendulum hanging from the dome. It was almost unequivocally matched to anything I'd seen thus far in Paris. For more and better pictures of these, you can check my facebook album.
After seeing the ground floor of this place, we headed to the tombs of many famous people such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (who is pictured above), Voltaire, and Victor Hugo among many others. It might sound creepy but I was enthralled to see these tombs and to see such amazing tombs kept in amazing condition for years!
Each tomb I visited alone in silence, my classmate would follow, and as soon as I would leave, he'd yell "Ohmigosh, this is so freaky!! Ahh, I'm coming with you!" It was really embarrassing... Oh well. I enjoyed it and got the pictures I wanted. :)

On the way to Versailles, I started losing it. This guy asked me if I was a fob. No joke. I really don't mind if a guy doesn't know what the meaning is, asks me, and carries on. Even if it is joking. But no. I told him no, I'm not one. I defined it for him and what we tend to characterize them as. Not to be mean or anything but this guy is the literal definition of fob even without the oddities of one. Instead of understanding what I had just told him, he laughed at me hysterically and began using the term "fob" in the most derogatory way possible towards me. When someone does that to me, I find that pretty offensive even when I kindly ask them to stop. That string of "Come on, let's go fob! We don't have all day fob!" continued for at least another 10 minutes before I really started hinting that his name-calling toward another friend of mine was impolite and that she was taken aback when he'd done that to her. Finally got him to close his mouth the rest of the way.

Once we got to the Versailles, I made it a point I was going to see the Marie Antoinette estates and nothing else because I didn't think I'd have enough time to do other things. He went to check that this was the line we needed to be in, but not before asking me to hold his things which he did the entire trip. (My shoulder was hurting from all the huge water bottles and souvenirs he was buying. I'd hinted to him before to get a bag, but he obviously knew he could take advantage of me.)

Well we first walked on the premise and the only ticket signs were on the left side. There was a huge line which we stood in for 2 and 1/2 hours only for me to find out they were selling all the tickets except Marie Antoinette's tickets. Seriously? They couldn't have huge signs telling you where to buy tickets for separate things? They couldn't even write it in the brochure? I can't have been the only idiot to do something like this could I?

My friend got his Palace tickets and I told him I had to go to the gardens to purchase my ticket. At least that's what the lady told me to do. So off I went to the gardens. The ticket line didn't look right so I asked someone in charge of taking the tickets how to get them, and she told me I had to get tickets to the gardens to get to the estate. Screw it, I'd pay extra money to see the one thing I wanted to see in all of Paris. I get in line, ask a few other people the same question and they all tell me yes. I get to to the front and the lady tells me this isn't where I buy the tickets and that I have to walk completely out of the palace grounds and walk for a half hour to the Queen's Gate to get the tickets. Alright, no problem. I'll keep my cool and just take it as it comes. Off I go taking the longest route possible that she told me, walk a half hour to this place only to be told the same thing: You don't get the tickets here... so I walk another half hour back and find a short cut back to the Palace... hooray. Thanks woman who works at the Palace. So by now, I have wasted a little over 3 and 1/2 hours. I continued to ask 7 more people telling them so-and-so told me this, where can I get the tickets. I got told to go into a group line, which was obviously wrong and others told me to get it in the gardens, to get it at the Queen's Gate.

By this time, there was no way I'd be able to get my tickets and enjoy walking leisurely throughout the estate. I was not going to pay 10 or 15 euros just to run through the place in an hour because they would close in an hour and a half. If I walked back to the Queen's gate, I'd lose half an hour. Out of frustration, I just walked to the golden gates of the Palace, completely frustrated with all of the nonsense I had to hold in and deal with from my classmate... and slumped against the wall crying uncontrollably. These guys just screwed me over for a total of 4 hours and 15 minutes, which is basically my entire day. How awesome is that? The French were really rude, too. It's true what they say. Screw that. I'm sorry I never grew up learning your language and don't know my way around here.

I waited another hour and a half for my classmate. He found me, asked me about everything, and I was surprised he felt bad for me. He didn't laugh. He actually felt bad for me. At least that made me feel better. We went to cheer me up with some ice cream, which made me the happiest little kid ever. It doesn't take much for me to be happy again. I kept the napkin from this ice cream place, and now I can't find it, but this ice cream place is amazing. Just know it is right by the Versailles. I wanted to buy their chocolates and bring them home for friends!

Afterwards, we went to McDonald's for dinner. We were running low on money so we just had our little meals and watched some French MTV stuff. I was so happy when Lady Gaga came on and this guy said he didn't like her. I don't mind us having differences, but I'm pretty sure if I hear you singing Telephone in the Louvre for 20 minutes straight, that means you like the song. This guy would also state obvious things like "French songs are weird" but then say "because they have English." I told him pretty much every country had songs with some English in it like Korea, Japan, China, Spain, etc.

The rest of the day actually went by pretty fast. We visited the Eiffel tower and Arc de Triomphe again at night. I really thought by this time that most of Paris was over-rated. Especially the Eiffel. We stood in line to get up to the top and while waiting in line, my friend asked me how I was liking the place. I told him I was a little more fond of British culture and history along with the environment and people. At this point, this guy called me a real let down. It's nice to know I can't have an opinion.
We left the Eiffel tower after I bought some souvenirs from within it and headed toward the metro. At some point, we heard the crowd do a wave of "OooOoooOo." I turned around to see the Eiffel tower not just lit up, but glittering. Now this... this was something more special. I changed my mind; the Eiffel tower is not over-rated. It was wondrous at night! We stood in awe just watching it for a long time before taking way too many pictures of this thing. We decided to do the same with the Arc before heading home. Hardest three days of my life were over. Or so I thought.

Day 4
We went to the Basilique Sacre Ceour and upon arrival, we saw some blacks blocking the entrance to the church. My classmate and I tried to walk by without them accosting us but they got to him first and wouldn't let me leave. They started telling us to not be scared because they were from the church. Yea right. I tried to leave, but he insisted I stay in a sort of forceful manner. By the time they made these lame bracelets, they started asking us for paper money in the most aggressive manner possible. I told them I only had coins; thank god I had my pouch on me. They'd never know, but then they'd never let me go. My classmate on the other hand gave them 10 euros in paper money, but they still were not satisfied. They wanted him to pay for me, too. By this time, he started making a huge scene so other people would see that they were about to mug us, and because of this they backed off. Thank God for that. This crazy guy I was with told me he was angry, which I was, too... but not but 10 minutes later, he was telling me how exciting it was to experience such a thing. Tell me this guy is a little nutty.

Anyway, we walked up another huge flight of stairs similar to the Notre Dame. The sight was amazing from the top as usual. Seeing France from the top never gets old. After the Sacre Ceour, I wanted to go shopping and have a relaxing day so we took the metro down to where the Grand Palace was. Apparently, though, many of the streets were blocked off because of the Tour de France. I didn't want to wait to see bikers coming through because I had a feeling they would be setting up for a while, and I'd rather shop then come back to watch. Instead, this guy made it a point he was going to stay and watch because he wanted to see Lance Armstrong. Fine. I waited just a few feet away from this guy for 3 hours. A parade happened for the last hour that I was there before getting sick of standing in the heat, swarmed in a huge tight crowd. I looked over to see if my classmate was still there, but he wasn't. I walked to the other side of the street to see if I could find him but he was no where to be seen.
I couldn't believe he left me. Paris is shady and especially the metro, which I had to take by myself. If I didn't know how to work the metro it would've been a disaster but thank God I could figure it out. I made it back to my hotel thinking he would meet me there, so I fell asleep for another hour. By this time, it was 4:40. I headed up to see if my friend was in his room and he was. Sleeping. He woke up laughing at me in disbelief that I had waited an extra 2 hours for him on the streets and in the hotel. This guy... He told me he didn't see me and didn't bother to come find me and tell me he was leaving. He left to the freaking Eiffel tower to get crepes. Can you believe that? And when he got into the hotel, he didn't bother to see if I was around or make sure I was okay. He just laughed at me. I was incredulous at all this. Was this guy for real???

That definitely took the cake. Cherry on the whip cream. Leave me in shady Paris, France in a huge crowd where I have to make a journey around all by myself in the underground creepy system. Yep. The next day, we left the hotel but not before the guy realized he left his camera there. He left me outside in the dark 3 blocks away at 4:45 in the morning to watch his things by the metro for a good 20 minutes. So awesome, I tell you.

So there you have it. My trip to France.

1 comment:

  1. =( I'm sorry the trip was such a trial and a let down for you. But now you're back in good ol' England =)...keep your chin up!