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My first time in Paris


My company sent me. I had requested a hotel downtown, assuming I would take the RER train to work in the mornings. After I landed at Charles De Gaul I had frugality in mind when I bought a bus ticket to Monte Parnase. I decided that after I got downtown I would check the address of the hotel against the maps on the sides of bus stops and try to walk it. If it was too far, I'd take a cab.

After I got on the bus we started to leave the airport and then we stopped. Traffic was completely backed up and we waited for twenty five minutes and then BBOOOMMM, and the traffic started to move again. I don't speak much French, bout I was able to pick up a few words from the gentlemen sitting next to me. "There they are, they're laughing". I then realized they were referring to a group of French national police, half in blue the rest in khaki. The French nationals, I was later told, had the rights to confiscate and blow up any bags that did not appear to have an owner. This was just two weeks after the St Michelle RER bombings that initiated the sealing of every public garbage can in Paris.

I was quite sleepy when the bus dropped me in Monte Parnase. I walked to a map with my hotel address and spent ten minutes searching for mty street. Thinking the map was flawed I walked around the corner to the next map. Five minutes, still no luck. Maybe I should eat something? No, I'm exhausted, I'll get a cab. I waved one down and got in. I tried pronouncing the address to the French only speaking cab driver and then handed him the piece of paper. He turned to me and said "Metz?" I shrugged, he said it again, "Metz?" I shook my head and he said it once more, slowly, enouncing carefully, "Meettzz?" I shrugged again, so did he and we drove off.

Soon after departing, we got onto the freeway and I was glad I didn't try to walk. But then a curious thing happened, we started to leave town. Should I stop him? Is this right? What's the French word for "are you sure?" We weren't headed for the airport, we were going another direction. Just then we past a EuroDisney sign. He turned toward me, pointed toward the sign and said "Disneyland!". "No," I said "Not going to Disneyland" He shrugged and turned toward the road.

We had been driving away from Paris for ten minutes now, and I was wondering what to do. Should I ask him to get off the freeway and let me out? How do you say that? And then what would I do? I had already found out that French telecom public phones do not except coins, they only except French telecom call cards. I realized I had to trust this cab driver, even if he did shout words like Metz at Americans. I had to trust him to not drive me out of town, steal my stuff and leave me. And we past another EuroDisney sign. Once again he turned around and with a knowing smile and glimmer in his eye he exclaimed; "Disneyland" while shaking his finger at the sign. "No" I said again, "No Disneyland". His eyebrows curled, he turned toward the road, and we kept going.

I saw another Eurodisney sign, but this one mentioned 1.0 KM and I realized we were right by EuroDisney. Off in the distance I could see some disney-esque buildings and the driver started to get off the freeway. Oh my god, I was really going to EuroDisney. At least they speak English there. Eurodisney stretched out to the right, and the driver drove left, right by a city limit sign which read "Metz". We pulled up to the hotel and I was so glad he accepted my American express, otherwise, I would not have had enough money.


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