[disclaimer: i’m so exhausted i feel a little bit like i’m dead. before getting 5 hours of sleep i was more or less awake for around…32 hours. just keep that in mind as you read this disjointed attempt at an ‘entry’.]
i can’t believe i’ve only been here for a day. it feels like it’s already been a week.
my flight was delayed, and then once i got to paris the luggage was delayed, alors, welcome to france.
i took all of these delays as a bad omen so i decided to skip the train-metro-metro rigmarole and just splurge on a cab to my hostel. i also didn’t relish the idea of clunking around awkwardly with my heavy bags, and i was about an hour late for my reservation. thankfully, no problems with the taxi, unless you count ridiculous traffic as a problem. i didn’t; i was caught up in the bliss of finally being in paris!
i came crashing down from this high when the receptionist at the hostel informed me that since i hadn’t showed up the day before (did i mention i foolishly gave them the wrong arrival date?) my entire reservation had been canceled. leaving me even more homeless than i was before. i calmly asked, “is it possible to make another reservation?” no. “oh…” you can stay until the 29th, but not tonight. alright, i thought. not so bad. i’ll just leave my luggage here, find internet somewhere, and try to find another hostel. i didn’t panic, i didn’t shout or complain, i was the paragon of calmness…then he said “never mind, you can stay tonight until the 2nd” (my original plan) and i involuntarily exploded “oh thank GOD” which made him chuckle. heh, heh, heh. I WOULD HAVE BEEN SLEEPING ON THE STREET!!! HOW HILARIOUS! actually, it was kind of funny…only afterwards, of course.
then came the trek down the dank, narrow, and winding steps to the basement, where i could store my luggage. that was a fun little adventure. even more fun will be the return trip…(i’m leaving my big suitcase down there while i stay at the hostel; it’s simply too heavy to bring up the six of so flights of stairs to my room(s)) of course, ‘return trip’ implies finding a place to live, in which case i’ll probably hoist the suitcase over my shoulder and prance up those stairs with joy.
of course, i have to change rooms about 4 times during my 8 day stay, because nothing–NOTHING–can ever be easy.
after depositing my luggage and telling everyone back home that i’d made it, i was alive, i set out in search of a cell phone. i ended up hopelessly, ridiculously lost, wandering for hours and FINALLY making it back to the hostel well after 4 pm, the time i could go into my room. and i had to pee. which makes any adventure quickly go from exciting and fun to agonizing.
i contemplated collapsing onto my bed and giving into the jet lag that was beginning to creep up on, but eschewed the fatigue with a firm hand and instead left again, this time to buy phone credit (important) and find free wifi. i ducked into a tabac where the hostess proved, for the umpteenth time since i’ve been here, how grossly exaggerated ‘french rudeness’ is, and then went into -oh the shame- mcdonald’s for wifi. i shared a table with a young brazilian man due to the limited number of outlets, and we quickly discovered that we couldn’t use both outlets at the same time, so he worked off battery power while i tried to answer facebook notifications and emails as quickly as i could. we spoke to each other in halting french until at some point we realized we both spoke english much better, so that was a relief. he’s here to study french civilization and language, and just found an apartment in the 10th, in which–so he says–there MIGHT be another place for a fourth roommate, he’ll let me know. networking!!! what a godsend (potentially).
once the outlet stopped working all together (nothing is easy, remember) he pointed me towards a starbucks, where there was supposedly more free wifi. after wandering in the wrong direction for a while, asking numerous people for directions, and finally finding a girl who know what i was talking about (“le café américain?”) i walked in only to find out they were closing in 15 minutes, but there’s another one around the corner that closes later!
excellent. they close an hour and a half later. but they charge 2 euros for 30 minutes of internet.
i had a face melting espresso, read a little bit and left, deciding to just go back to hostel and pass out. i felt like a loser, because it was only a little after 9 and the streets were insanely busy with young people lounging at cafes, laughing and talking loudly, but i was tired and i knew getting a good night’s rest would be the Responsible Thing To Do.
my plans immediately changed, however, when i walked into my room to discover my roommate getting ready to go out. “my friends are meeting me at the arc de triomphe and we are going to a disco. you want to come?” before we’d introduced ourselves. did i!
so, that was how i found myself at a club until about 4:30 in the morning with a brazilian girl, guy, and a german girl. by the time we got back to the hostel, limping (high heels in paris are brutal) the sun was coming up.
today. we’re sitting in a cafe we found after numerous unsuccessful attempts to find free internet (mcdonald’s, like everywhere else, has very few outlets), trying not to fall asleep (our wonderful hostel kicks us out of our rooms at 11 am for cleaning), and starving. restaurant food is stupidly expensive. after this we’ll probably get a baguette, i’ll continue my search for a newspaper for apartment ads, and we’ll wander, zombie-like, through the streets until 4, when we can go back to the hostel and collapse. until 10, though, because there’s apparently a huge party that some argentinian girls told us about…