Saturday, April 16, 2005

First Day in Paris

First day in Paris; first experience with the metro. Fresh off the flight from JFK, I was determined to blend in. This, however, proved difficult:

1) I was not aware that you actually need to lift up the handle on the doors to open them. The train pulls in, I wait patiently for doors to open, doors remain shut, irritated Parisians brush past to open said doors. Strike one.

2) I was carrying a suitcase and a cello.

3) I smelled like airplane.

My crowning achievement came, however, when climbing the stairs at Concorde. Somewhere near the top of a seemingly endless staircase of death, every muscle in my dehydrated and jet-lagged body straining to remain vertical, the handle on my suitcase snapped off. It teetered for a brief moment, then capsized and clattered all the way down to the bottom, sending hapless passengers scurrying for cover. Bonjour, Paris.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Mathieu said...

Duncha just luuuuv days like that?

9:05 PM, April 16, 2005  
Blogger Rob said...

My last day in Paris:

I would need my visiting brother's help to carry all the books I had accumulated over my junior year abroad, as well as the skis and boots I had thoughtfully dragged over the atlantic for two days of skiing. Luckily he had a sturdy North Face backpack - or should I say, a backpack manufactured cheaply in Taiwan with a "North Face" patch on it.

As soon as he put the pack on, the shoulder-strap seams tore and the pack fell to the ground with a 35-kilo "whump." At least I was moving out so I didn't have to deal with my downstairs neighbor, who had made frequent forays to our floor at midnight to tell us to turn the damned radio down. From that point on the "backpack" was actually a "use both arms to carry it pack," which meant that whoever didn't get the backpack got the skis, boots, backpack, african drum, and oversized duffel bag.

The 200-meter walk to the nearest metro stop took around 45 minutes. Luckily there was no transfer; the bad news was that we got out at Opéra. If you've ever been to the station you know that all the platforms are buried in a maze at least 600 feet underground, and if they have any elevators at all they're always broken.

We had the deceptive feeling of being home-free after emerging into the sunlight of a warm June morning, but we still had to walk a third of the way around the Opera House, which with all the Intersections of Death was another half-hour adventure. We finally made it to the Roissybus stop and sat on our bags, panting, wondering how life could be so cruel.

Dylan turned to me and said, "I think a cab would have been worth it."

11:53 PM, April 16, 2005  
Blogger Nicolas said...

Thanks for sharing, Rob. I have a pretty harrowing "escape from Paris" story at the end of my own Junior year abroad...

6:01 PM, April 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh baby! I remember that! You are the only person I know who still has hardshell luggage. So sweet and old-fashioned!

caroline

4:13 PM, April 21, 2005  
Blogger Nicolas said...

Caroline, that day was epic... the sequel, of course, is us schlepping from Concorde to the apartment near Madeleine - sweating like pigs, past all the chic business people drinking their morning coffee and staring in wonderment at the armada of cellists.

12:32 AM, April 22, 2005  
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