Tim's Blog

Summer in Paris
Have you ever had a picnic in summer sitting on the green lawn under the Eiffel Tower with two friends and little white terrier jumping up and down for the gouda cheese in your sandwich? There was just so much I didn't expect about the Paris trip I made a few weeks ago. Here's a bit about what happened, beginning with me getting lost and the woman who offered to leave her restaurant in the middle of the evening crowd to take me to Laure's apartment four miles away.

I'd always thought the difference between a commuter and a traveler isn't just the regularity of the commuter's journeys. It's that the traveler's journey is open-ended. He doesn't meet a known destiny like a commuter. He feels a little apprehensive as he steps into unknown territory. Nothing is as well-planned or as anticipated. And that's my excuse why I always get lost wherever I go...

I'd arrived on a greyish Friday summers night at about 6pm at the Victorian steel-girder style Garre du Nord Station. Laure had sent me instructions by email. She'd told me to get to Clamart station just outside of Paris, but her English wasn't too good and I got lost. I tried calling her on my British mobile phone but my roaming system decided to quit on me. Goddamned One-2-One my ass! And that's when I found out:
a) all public phones in Paris require phone cards.
b) all the tabacs (tabacco shops ala convenience stores) selling phone cards close at 5pm.

I whipped out my English-French phrasebook and walked up to a Parisian pedestrian to ask for directions. I looked at my phrasebook then spoke in English anyway. Something in me realised that my attempts to speak French wouldn't be any more ridiculous than my attempts to speak in English in France.


posted at 05:38:25 PM on 06/28/2001 by timyang - Category: General


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