This past Friday morning (oh so very early) we, the study abroad department, departed for Paris, France. At 5am. we loaded up the buses with our suitcases, crawled to our seats, and prepared ourselves for the 10 hour ride ahead. What was in store? A two hour- thirty minute bus ride to the ferry, a one hour- thirty minute ride on the ferry, then a five hour bus ride into Paris. I sat on the top deck of the bus with my roommate and her friends, and those who were not already drunk quickly began getting there. This one kid, Dave (blah. I will be, unfortunately, mentioning him again) brought his friend Jack Daniels on the bus and began passing it around to whoever wanted to take a shot then pass out and sleep. I kindly declined.
Once we got going the buses stopped around central London, about a ten minute (at the very most) walk to the London Eye. Our amazing tour guide got on the microphone and casually mentioned that someone forgot their passport and could everyone please check to make sure they had theirs. So immediately the people started trying to figure out who forgot their passport, and why would someone be so stupid. We saw some guy get off the bus in front of us and soon the guys were cussing him out for being so forgetful. However about five minutes later everyone realizes it is in fact a girl who has forgotten her passport, and the guy checked his bags, realized he forgot his too, and made a mad dash for his apartment to get it (he lived in an apartment with his wife). Well of course, since it is a girl, everyone became sympathetic towards her. Finally enough time had past that we had to get going. The bus pulls out and we all turn to look to the left and what do we see? The girl with her luggage, walking down the empty streets of central London, alone at 5 am. Later I found out she was from the Richmond Hill campus (about 45 min away from me… I am at the Kensington campus, where we departed from) and there was no time for her to get her passport. I also found out it was her birthday. She never made it to Paris. Quite a sad story actually.
Finally we got to the ferry, but alas! We were too late! We had to wait for the next boat to depart. No problem right? Not if you don’t mind sitting in a terminal for two hours. So we sat down in cafeteria style chairs, and tried to make the best of it. I sat with Jessica and Kathleen and we gossiped “chatted” the entire time. Then we got onto the lovely ferry, which was actually somewhat comfortable, where Jess and Kathleen fell asleep and I read a book for class/ watched the luggage. Finally we got to the second bus, where we endured countless minutes of pointless stories about war from our amazing tour guide, whose favorite word was “groovy.” Everything was “groovy.” We stopped about an hour and a half into the ride to get some lunch, then piled back onto the bus. By this time pretty much everyone on the top of the bus was wasted (my roommate included) and I was glad to be on the bottom deck trying to get some sleep.
Then we got to Paris. Oh Paris. You sexxy city you. It was as if I had never left. We got to the hotel and were assigned our rooms. We had exactly 30ish minutes to change and get ready to head over to the Eiffel Tower and our boat ride. I had to help Whitney (my roommate) calm down and relax; she tends to get a tad anxious and flustered when she drinks. After we decided on an outfit that looked acceptable we headed downstairs to leave. We got on the metro and walked to the tower. The lovely, lovely tower. How I missed it!! It felt wonderful to be back. Along the way I saw the parks and streets I walked down before and felt a tad sad, wishing I could be here with the old group. We had so much fun. But I digress… So we get into line to head to the top. The very top of the tower. 1,000 feet in the air. In case you don’t know, that is pretty stinking high. So high that on particularly windy days they close off the top floor because the tower sways in the wind. Well I have done this before so I was not nervous at all. Jessica however was very nervous because she is scared of heights. But how can you visit the tower and not go to the top? You don’t know? It’s because you can’t. So up up up we went and the view was spectacular, spectacular. Really. No words in the vernacular could describe this great event. You would be dumb with wonderment. We took the elevator back down to the second level and then, because we are complete crazies, we took the stairs down to the first level. And it was night time, dark, the strobe lights were going off, and it was windy so our hair was blowing in our eyes. But we did it! And it was awesome. Then we all got crepes (so yummmy) and went on the boat ride down the River Sene. It was really cool, even though I had done it before, but we were all so tired it was hard to enjoy. Afterward we (Jess, Kathleen and I) got onto the metro and found a place to eat. We were famished. So then we went to our rooms and I was rather surprised to see my roommate there, in her pj’s, in bed watching TV. Apparently she couldn’t drink anymore. We got in our beds (that were literally two inches apart… we had single beds but shared a head board. Oh the crazy French.) We fell asleep to the funniest- not- supposed-to-be-funny movies about a group of aliens who have come to destroy the earth. It was a black and white old film, somewhere from the 30’s or 40’s and it was baaaad. The UFO was seriously like a dish from the kitchen. Great stuff to fall asleep to.
The next morning we awoke bright and early to get ready for our bus ride. Our tour guide (not the same as before, she was on the other bus sadly) took us all throughout Paris and we got some very interesting photos. Then we stopped at Notre Dame and we were let off the bus where the rest of the day we could do whatever we wanted. Jess, Kathleen and I went to Versailles and let me tell you that was an interesting ride. We got onto the RER (like the metro, except it is a train and goes much, much slower) and the trip that should have taken 28 minutes turned into about an hour. We finally realized we were on the wrong train. But we figured out that if we went to the end of the stops, we could walk to Versailles no problem. After that realization we were able to relax a bit. Then the train stopped to let passengers off, and the doors stayed open for way to long. After about three or four minutes Kathleen had enough and went to find the source of the problem. There were only a couple of other people on the RER section we were on and the chances they spoke English were slim to none. We were in a kind of sketchy neighborhood, even for France. So Kathleen goes up to a man, who is just sitting alone listening to his Ipod, and has this delightful conversation with him:
Kathleen: “Excusez-moi, parlez-vous English?” (excuse me, do you speak English?)
Man on train: “Un petite” (a little)
Kathleen: *now speaking with a country accent and a rather dramatic tone* “Do you know why this train is stopped?”
As soon as she uttered this phrase the doors shut and the train began to move.
Kathleen: *Still dramatic, now waving her finger with attitude* “Nevermind.”
Then she said this next sentence with so much drama, so much attitude and so much like a country hick:
Kathleen: “merci beaucoup.” (thank you very much)
Kathleen promptly returned to where we were sitting, the French man probably still in a daze as to what just happened to him. We laughed and laughed and made fun of her for pretty much the rest of the trip. Then we got off on the last stop and made our way out of the station. We checked with the man at the information desk, a rather nice man, and he gave us a map on how to get to Versailles by foot. We stuck our train ticket in to get out of the place, but no. It would not process our tickets. Turns out you have to buy a ticket to get out of the train station. The kind man at the desk told us it was ok and buzzed us through so we didn’t have to buy another ticket. This was wonderful. We finally reached Versailles and it was just as I had left it. Beautiful. Actually, it was more beautiful. They planted different flowers from when I was there before, and it was simply breathtaking. We had lunch in the gardens and I totally got a full on American meal. No shame.
We made our way home soon after that and made sure we got on the right train that time. We did a bit of shopping and headed back to the hotel. We arranged to meet up in an hour to go out for dinner and drinks. I got ready in record time, put on my snazzy new outfit and headed downstairs where we were to meet. I waited for about ten minutes and the other girls showed up (they are roommates so they were together) and we wandered down the streets looking for a good place to eat. We settled for this little cafe where I got a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. I also got a tequila sunrise which was an interesting drink. As it is customary in Europe to take time with your meal we did not expect the check any time soon to when we were done. We ordered yummy desert and time went on. Finally we got our food cleared up, but still no check. Even more time went on and no check. Finally we got our check, but even MORE time went on until our waiter collected the check from us. Here are some fun videos that document this wonderful time in our cafe:
As you can see, we had a bit of fun with these. I totally rocked with my signature and finally the time came when we left. We headed back to the hotel after walking around a bit and sat in the lobby having girl talk. My roommate and all of her friends came down soon after, they were for the most part all drunk by this point, and organized a sushi dinner then a trip out to get completely wasted. Whitney could not find her room key, so she was going to have to knock on the door and I was going to have to let her in at who knows when that night. I was really looking forward to that. We sat around and they tried to get us to come with them, but we had just eaten so we walked around the area a little more. Pretty much all that was open were the bars and cafes so we headed back to the lobby and talked some more, sharing some rather interesting stories. They all met again in the lobby and asked us to come with them (they were drunk and they thought we should be too) but they were getting on the metro and we did not have daily passes like them. We declined their invitation and soon headed off to bed because we were so tired and had ten hours of traveling to endure the next day. And internet, this is when the story gets good. So get comfy, because I am sharing every single detail with you, even the ones you don’t want to hear, because hey, I am not sugar coating this for you. Oh no. You are going to live through this story because I had to live through the actual experience.
Now there are a few things I need to say to set up the situation. So here we go.
1. Every one of my roommates friends (and her obviously) are completely beyond wasted at this point.
2. There is this guy named Dave (ugh.. mentioned earlier) who likes Whitney, even though she does not share the same feelings.
3. Dave (ugh) has woken us up before, back in England, at like 4am. wanting Whitney to come out and party with him.
4. We are in a foreign country, where they do not speak a lot of English.
5. We are leaving the next morning, I am tired, and I have to be able to get rest because I do not sleep well (if at all) on buses and boats.
6. Whitney has lost her room key, which means I have to get up and let her in.
Now that you have the set up, here is what I did Saturday night. **I should also mention that I found Whitney’s room key on the bathroom counter, and I tossed it on her bed.**
I am rather tired, but not tired enough to fall asleep when I get in bed. So I decide to read some of my book for class on Monday. About six chapters in I am practically falling asleep, so I get in bed. Whitney is not back yet, and I can’t keep my eyes open to wait for her. I fall asleep and suddenly (in reality it was like 2 hrs later) am awoken by a loud, a very very loud, banging noise. I realize it is Whitney and I jump out of bed to get the door. Now I should probably explain my current state. I am half asleep, half running to the door and in my pj’s. Oh my pj’s. If you know me this is probably waaay to much information, but I said I was giving you the full account so here we go. My pj’s consisted of a long tank top and underwear (sans bra). When you don’t have air conditioning in your room you don’t really sleep in a lot of clothes because it gets hot fast. So I open the door, which happens to be covering all of my body except my head and neck, and Whitney is there with Dave (ugh) in the background. He is trying to grab her waist and she is yelling to this kid named Blake (whom I never actually saw) saying she was not going to make out with him. Apparently she wanted me to come outside to the hall, but given my current state of clothing I declined. I vaguely remember telling her “I have no pants on” (I was still half asleep remember). So Dave continued to grab at her waist, trying to get her on him. I took her wrist, pulled her in the room and said “Whitney has to go to bed right now” and slammed the door in his face. She told me in broken sentences about her night, but given her level of drunkenness it didn’t make much sense. She was in the middle of a story and said “I’ll be right back” then grabbed something off the bed and went into the bathroom. Thirty minutes went by and I assumed she passed out, so I got up to check on her and see if I needed to carry her to bed. To my surprise I found the room empty. She left with her hotel key, but not her purse. So she could be anywhere with no money for a taxi or metro. Of course I start to worry, because that is what I do best. I decided there was not much I could do at that point but to wait for her glorious return. So I get back into bed but it was a bit harder to fall back asleep.
Soon I find my eyes drifting shut, and I am about to completely sack out, when someone knocks on the door. Whitney has her key, so I have no idea who this is. I crack open the door and Dave (ugh), who happens to be wearing his sunglasses, is staring at me. And this is our conversation:
Dave: *staring at me*
Me: *staring at Dave*
Dave: *Continues to stare like a creeper*
Me: “Whitney is not here”
Dave: “Where is she”
Me: “I don’t know, she just left.”
Dave: “I can’t find my room key.”
Me: *wondering what the heck he thinks I can do about this* “Is your roommate in there?”
Me: “Did you check your wallet?”
Dave: “Its not in there”
Me: “Did you go to the front desk and ask for a new key”
Dave: “F- that. Nevermind.”
Me: *confused as he walks off* “O…kay”
I climb back into bed and hope to fall asleep soon. And as if by magic I soon begin to fall asleep, about an hour later, when another knock sends me back to reality. I get out of bed, completely pissed right about now, and open the door to find who else but Dave (ugh).
Dave: *staring at me*
Me: *staring at Dave*
Dave: *Continues to stare like a creeper* “Is Whitney back?”
Dave: “She has my room key”
Me: *still wondering what the heck he thinks I can do about this* “Did you try calling her?”
Dave: “I don’t have my phone.”
Me: *a string of explicit words run through my mind, and out of nowhere I pull myself together and manage to be decent to him. I am still very much almost asleep at this point, so my brain wasn’t exactly working right when I did the following* “Do you want to use my phone to call her?”
Me: “Come on in.” *Yes. I invited him into my hotel room, not even thinking about what I was wearing. Or rather what I was not wearing. It only occurred to me after he was in the room and suddenly I got very very uncomfortable. But please remember I was not really awake enough to rationalize anything I did. Completely sober, but not at all awake.*
Dave: *I gave him my phone, which was calling hers. Suddenly her phone started ringing; it was in her jacket she left in the room.* “F- THIS. THIS IS SO F-ING STUPID.”
Me: “Do you want me to check her purse?” *By this time I had crawled under the covers (they were pretty much around my neck). I leaned over to check her purse for the key, but alas, no key was found.*
Dave: *when I found no key* “F- this. Nevermind.”
Me: *really too lost for words at the moment as he left* “okay.”
(I found out the next day Dave was so drunk he doesn’t remember anything that happened that night. Kind of a relief, I’m not going to lie.)
Whitney finally came in around 4:30 am. and I was still awake. She turned on the light, tried to tell me about how Dave (double ugh) wanted to hook up with her and tried to get her in his dorm room. She then proclaimed how she was going to go throw up then go to bed. So she went into the bathroom and proceeded to vomit. And given the size of our room it was as if she was right next to me, hacking out her lungs. She came to bed, still fully clothed, and grabbed the TV remote and turned on some random channel. Then she passed out about two seconds later. I waited a few more seconds to make sure she was really out, then I got up, turned off all of the lights, turned off the TV, and finally was able to fall asleep. (I should probably mention this has not happened before, with Whitney that is, and she is usually able to keep herself somewhat together.)
The next morning Whitney was still drunk, but if there was any chance we were going to make check out I had to help her pack. I felt like such a mom. We got her all packed up and downstairs for breakfast. Then we grabbed our bags, checked for any unpacked items in the room, and headed out for the long ride home.
And that, Internet, was how I spent my weekend in Paris.