At your request here is another entry from my Paris Journals. This was emailed to all my friends and family two days after I arrived and got my internet set up.
WHA, WHA, WHA
2 mars, jeudi 6:30 am Paris Time. Still Flying. –
I was able to fall asleep for a few hours and now that I am awake the daylight is more than a thin line along the horizon of clouds. We have about an hour and a half left. Due to occasional turbulents the seatbelt sign has been on since I woke up and I am so very thirsty. My typing speed seams to be impaired too. Either this laptop is crazy or I am. I believe it’s the latter…those who know me well may disagree.
The captian interupts,
“Medames et Monsieurs nous allons commencer notre decence”…..
I know people fly around the world alone all the time but this is a really big deal. As the plane descends my heart rate elevates. I am really doing this!
5 rue de la Bucherie-
Trying to settle in…I feel so guilty whining about my day but as far as first days go in Paris it has been a little stressful. I feel like everything that could go wrong to get on my nerves and discourage me…is. This morning my cell phone would not work when we landed and I knew Joel and Mom were waiting to hear from me. None of the payphones that I could find at the airport were working and I was dragging around enough of my crap to start a shantytown of my own.
I have landed at Charles de Gualle twice before but I had a heck of a time finding the taxis. Turns out they were right in front of me but I probably could not see them on account of all of my luggage. I could kick myself for not writing down my driver’s name. I wanted to remember everything and he seems like such an important part of my day. I did not want to forget a single detail. At dinner parties for the rest of my life he will simply be, “my cab driver.” I will blame it on sleep deprivation and the obscene amount of pressure I was putting on myself because I hadn’t been able to contact Joel yet. I was thinking, here this poor guy let me flit half way around the world to explore and eat great food while he is stuck working and eating American cuisine (and I use the term loosely) and I can’t even call him to say I have landed safely.
Thankfully my taxi driver was very kind and his conversation helped sooth my nerves. I practiced my French and he practiced his English. He was a Muslim and asked if I was a Christian to which I responded, “Oui.” How many children did I want to have? “Trois ou quatre” and had anyone ever told me I looked like Jennifer Aniston? Somehow I managed to tell him in French that I in fact heard that on my last two trips to France and just about every day back home and that I considered it a tremoundous compliment. O.K. I didn’t say the word “tremendous” in French. I don’t even know the word for tremendous.
As we came into the Latin Quarter I began to get so excited. We were getting closer and closer to MY apartment. I was not staying in a hotel. I was staying in my very own little flat!!! HELLO! Fantasy come true! Paris looks so different from the vantage point of the backseat of a Peogeot and it makes you think you will never learn your way around. It turns out that as we pulled up to my building I actually know exaclty where we were. (Someday I am going to attempt to drive in Paris. I know the travel books say not to but I am assuming that it can’t be THAT much worse then Chicago.)
I was so grateful to my driver. In true Parisian fashion he stopped the car right in the middle of my teeny one way street (rue de la Bucherie) and helped me carry my bags up three grueling flights of spiral stairs. I am no wuss but I really don’t know how I would have gotten all those bags up there without stroking out. I was grateful for his help but shocked at the price; it was over 70 Euros (I don’t even want to know how many dollars that is!). We usually take the R.E.R. into the centre ville. I have been saving for so long for this trip. Every sales call I went on was motivated by Paris and only Paris. Needless to say it was very difficult to part with that much money in my first hour.
Oh, how I do wish I would have gotten “my cab driver’s” name and maybe even his email address. He drove a taxi during the day and was studying Egyptology at night and he sounded like a very interesting person.
The women who was renting my apartment was going to pass the key onto me as my landlord was out of the country. She was a single woman from Sweden or Switzerland; I can not recall. With fizzy yet styled brown hair, and the look that women from Europe can pull off in their sleep. beautiful tan trousers, a white silk blouse with a scarf of course and a sweater draped casually around her shoulders. How do they do that? She enthusiastically showed me how to work the hot water heater, where all the bedding was, where the closest Tabac was…it was all very nice but I really wanted to be alone and I am the type that would rather figure things out than be told anyways. As soon as she stopped talking I called Joel from the apartment phone. The cell phone stress was just a little bit much but we got it worked out during what was probably a $20 phone call. He said that my voice sounded pretty emotional. I guess it was just all catching up with me; the excitement, the lack of sleep and the reality of being away from him and my family; not just away but so far away.
After we hung up I had to get out outside. I went on a walk, got my groceries, and had a crepe for lunch/dinner. Et puis le deluge.… Just a bunch of crappy things. I can pee stronger than the water pressure in this place, I took a hot bath and then realized that I had forgot to bring my lotion so my skin is shrinking as I type, the corkscrew in this flat couldn’t put a hole in a Coke can so I had to go buy one, I spilled red wine all over the carpet (BONJOUR!) and I have spent over two hours trying to connect to the internet which in theory should be no problem but NON!
This place is a dust factory too – I don’t think the women who lived here last week was a “Monica.” Don’t hate me cause I’m whining. I’ll get over it but it’s all a little much with 2 hours of sleep. I really just want to email Joel and everyone but this thing won’t even connect now. If the green garbage men see a Mac laying in the middle of the rue this morning it’s because I threw a full-blown tantrum.
I have to stop, I’m disgusting myself. I’m in fricken Paris. TROIS MOTS… GET OVER IT!