Sunday, May 22, 2011


Are you finding your life is too efficient? Are you frustrated by being able to get to places you want to go in a timely manner? Are you tired of people not walking into you and not attempting to scam you?

Then you need to head to Paris.

When you do make it to Paris, I highly recommend a trip out to see the sights of Versailles, because I hear they are lovely, and maybe you've heard about them since fifth grade history, and have wanted to see the gardens for the past twenty years of your life.

Traveling to Versailles is easy.

First, walk around Gare du Nord looking for a ticket machine that accepts cash, because they all hate cards, and heaven forbid they equip all of their ticket machines to accept cash because that would be so unimaginably difficult and out-of-line with common practice in the rest of the civilized world.

Next, travel to St. Michel and change to the C line, where, just like any normal mob hit, you'll be taken to an abandoned train station on the outskirts of town and left to rot.

Your train will stop and the conductor will do his best Charlie Brown teacher impression, except this time he doesn't want you to pound the erasers, he apparently wants you off the train, because he then shuts off the lights. This makes sense, since most trains stop far short of their destination at eight in the morning.

Next, spend an hour pacing a lonely train platform with a smattering of other shady characters eying your long legs and supple skin, not seeing a single train, but noting on the information boards a steady succession of trains with the arrival time of "supprimé". Now, many of you might wonder what supprimé means, but I can tell you since I read it so, so many times yesterday, and no, it doesn't refer to the credit quality of the entire French state. No, roughly translated it means, "screw you, you'll never make it to Versailles if we have anything to do with it, si vous plait sucka".

Don't worry though, because every two minutes for that lovely hour spent pacing pigeon poop an announcer will get on and mumble through a novel in French. He will always end with the phrase, "merci pour votre attention". Oh, if only I knew what to welcome you for, sir. If only I knew.1

Luckily, the only time he decides to announce in English will be the time you are at the far end of the platform, just out of earshot.

After giving up, and spending a few hours hiking back into the center of town with nothing but a five dollar bottle of Fanta the size of a Parisian metro card to sate your voracious thirst, you'll happily discover it is your lucky day, as multiple gold rings will be found in your general vicinity2 by upstanding members of the Parisian community, and offered to you.3 I feel sorry for that dude who keeps losing the same ring in the same place. Poor guy.

All in all, this is a great way to fall in love with Paris, because who doesn't like hiking fifteen miles in ninety degree weather in the land of ridiculously-overpriced liquids?

I know I do.4

1. Unfortunately, my only French is this great alliterative phrase that tells women they are more beautiful than the trash can, taught to by my good friend Dave long ago. More unfortunately, the stunningly beautiful woman I once attempted to woo using that phrase was not impressed. In the slightest.
2. Okay, it only happened twice, but, amazingly, the second time the ring was found almost immediately next to my foot. Pretty crazy that I didn't see that ring there the whole fifteen minutes I was sitting there, huh?
3. On the levels of scams out there, this is a lame one. They offer you the ring, then try to extort money from you, because they let you have the ring. Seriously people, if you're going to the trouble of trying your hand at being a con man or woman, get a decent con first.
4. I am hereby renouncing travel and tourism. I always screw it up, and I always, always do it wrong. Who goes to Paris and ends up sweaty, panting, and lost in the red light district on their way to a graveyard? Seriously people. There are so, so many things wrong with that situation I don't even know where to begin.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

At the very, very end of my trip to Paris, I learned that there is a law that restaurants (or maybe bars?) are required to give you tap water for free if you ask them. I learned this after spending more than my fair share of euros buying bottled water—you know, the stuff that has a cheap, efficient distribution system all over the place, but that people instead insist on putting in plastic bottles, shipping around on trucks, stocking in limited shelf space, and charging you 5000 times the price.