The obtuse Parisian bouncer demanded. Blocking the entrance door, his appearance resembled an uppity, suited rhino. He looked like he ate people for breakfast. After little sleep, as well as being chased underneath the Eiffel tower just a few hours earlier, I was dead to the world.
Suddenly, the obese version of Beyonce teetered away in her bright stilettos and slipped out behind him.
100 Euro! The bouncer barked once more, lowering his gaze at me with menace.
It then dawned on me… I had no money!
40 Hours Earlier:
I was due to go to Nice, France with a friend. Nice.
She was one of those friends. You know the score.
I’ve since stopped having these friends. They just don’t work. Ever. I’d rather have a relationship than coitus and confusion.
She was a model, and had caught the attention of a rich photographer in Nice, who had invited her over for a photoshoot. All expenses paid, plane tickets, hotel… Nice fellow ey?
He didn’t mind her bringing a friend. Yet, when she mentioned it was a male friend – aka me, your brunette and lanky hero, he went berserk. For some reason, he let her keep the money and the flights that had been paid for.
She described it as having a free holiday using a Perv’s money.
So we flew from Gatwick. I had made the award winning decision to go party the night before. Drinking copious amount of Southern Belle (my bar can’t afford Southern Comfort) – a few hours beforehand – was not a wise move.
After an hours sleep. I fell out my bed and shuffled, Walking Dead, style into the ghastly early hours of metropolitan Dorset in the morning. 5 bloody AM! This is the milkman’s time. Not mine.
As I flounded down the street, suitcase in tow, I saw Bournemouth’s dirty side. Neanderthals were prowling outside WHSmith, picking up cigarette butts and muttering to themselves. These angels of the night were putting inch long butts to their lips, desperate for a drag. They looked at me,like startled deer about to meet an incoming Skoda.
Luckily my baggage could make a potential weapon if needed.
I arrived at the bus station at a horrific 5:45. The nearby speakers were blurting out bagpipe music to annoy Bournemouth’s extensive homeless population.
It was pleasant at first hearing Scotland’s finest musical ensemble, but after about 15 minutes I wanted to stuff a bagpipe into the larynx of the person who made this decision to deter them.
I met up with my friend and she snuggled into me on the 3.5 hour coach journey to Gatwick. My six foot 2 frame isn’t meant for travelling, so I was bloody entangled.
We arrived at the airport, where I learnt how to use my limbs again. As we showed our tickets, the attendant furrowed her brow.
Instead of saying anything, she continued furrowing.
UM? I sputtered
“There’s a technical difficulty with the plane you were travelling on.”
What was wrong with it… the left falange?
She revealed we could either wait for the next Nice flight tomorrow, or we could go to Paris instead, coming back a day early. Either way, our holiday had been castrated, so we chose Paris instead. 40 hours of vacation, here we come.
As we arrived at the security lounge, there was a bubbling mass of people and beeps. My pocket was bulging with money, my passport, tickets, my phone, keys and loose change. Awkwardly carrying my bags, I felt like an overwhelmed, angsty mess.
I strode through the scanner, hoping not to beep.
Not so fast.
I had to take my belt off. I then had to raise my hands in the air, doing the motion of Y in the YMCA song. My unbelted trousers were now starting to slip, and my surrendering hands couldn’t hold them up.
As the attendant scanned me, a bead of sweat dropped down my forehead. Not because they would find anything, but in case my jeans crashed to my shoes and Gatwick Airport would get a glorious look at my underwear.
Luckily, my descending jeans were stuck at my hips. Everything was okay. No latex glove required.
We then tried something far more theraputic – bowls on a conveyer belt at Yo! Sushi in the terminal.
This looked fun. Different coloured dishes were revolving around us, with each colour having it’s own individual price. I settled on cold beef, chicken, shredded cabbage and dumplings. A little girl opposite us made cute biting motions every time a bowl came past.
Whilst ingesting my captured food, I came up with an excellent idea. Instead of oriental dishes and bowls of cold vegetables, why not have bowls of various cakes and high-calorie desserts?
It would be incredible. The name would be ‘Yo! Fatti.’ I think it could really catch on.
As we boarded, our last-minute flight change meant we were sitting away from each other down opposite ends of the plane. I ended up sitting next to a woman who was also in a complicated friends seeing each other non-relationship with benefits.
Word of warning – drinking a few hours before a flight is a very bad idea. The people sat next to me were probably concerned by my emerald-colored face as we rumbled into take off. I felt so nauseous and gripped on tight to the chair rest.
Luckily, I had brought my MP3 player with me, and I put on a 1990’s megamix to help me through the journey. The velvety tones of Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl made the touch down a lot smoother, and sexier.
We landed in France.
As we later stumbled through Charles De Gaulle Airport, a random guy who was walking alongside us suddenly said Taxi? then walked away.
Next, we attempted to find the hotel. Apparently it was only 2.2 miles from Opera, where the airport bus had dropped us off. My new shoes had been perfectly comfortable whilst catwalking around TopMan, but were now slowly destroying my feet. The toe referred to by my mother as ‘this little piggy went to market’ was in immense pain.
My exhaustion was intense and I was frustrated, confused and probably still hungover. I just wanted to relax somewhere, eat some frog’s legs and make an onion necklace, but we had no idea where we were and how to get to the elusive Rue Di Biot. I was tempted to offer my unloved TopMan shoes as a reward for directions.
We discovered the Paris Metro, where I was not prepared for the mere 10 seconds you get to jump on before the train doors close. I leapt on, my body a quarter of the way in, and the doors closed onto me and smashed my arm. I tried to pull the doors apart but they began to close in on me again like lobster pincers. I managed to jump back onto the platform to escape its clutches. The french passengers did not even look at me. They probably thought I was a typical English merde.
I sat back on a nearby seat in the Metro station, rubbing my injured arm, confused and worn out. I was so exhausted after walking around for several hours that I wanted to cry. I should have read the bunny stickers that were placed everywhere in each train.
My friend did not appear sympathetic to my wailing, and her cute mutism was wearing thin. I had picked up my Mother’s curse of going on holiday with someone then realizing you’re not really meant to be there friend.
We somehow arrived at our hotel,the Hôtel de Paris Montmartre and I gave a sigh of pleasure, my bags dripping off my shoulders and onto the floor. We were finally here.
I collapsed head first on the bed. Not going to lie. It felt amazing, ignoring the fact our holiday time was diminishing.
We went out for an Indian to feed our empty stomachs. Neither of us fancied snails, horse and fromage.
I was relieved I wouldn’t have to decipher the French language – all the titles were in Indian. My Masala was accompanied with a cheesy Naan bread (French cheese is one gooey stringy monster) and Aubergine pakoras.
A salesman burst into the restaurant approaching people with roses, asking if they wanted one for their special madame in their life? He mobbed each table.
It felt a little awkward, should I get one for my bene-friend? I had noticed she had a prominent love bite on the back of her neck, so I wasn’t sure what was going on between us anymore.
The salesman disappeared, not a single rose sold. I figured it was another weird French thing. I’ve not seen similar people mobbing patrons with Daffodils in Nandos. Yet.
The waiter provided us with a mix of coloured sweet seeds, which tasted of candy.
Puts our British cool, hard mints to shame.
It was 10:30pm by the time we left, and I went to a pharmacy, which was packed. There was a doorman directing people to different tills. I purchased €4 Transformer plasters in hope that they would protect my destroyed feet.
Megatron, however, couldn’t save me from my feetal hell.
As we then walked back to the hotel, we narrowly avoiding colliding with rude French traffic.
To be honest, I never quite worked out their traffic system and neither do the French.
I could tolerate the lanes being reversed, but crossing a simple road was often scary. You’d be about to use a crossing, then a car would come speeding around the corner and stop to an abrupt halt right before the stripes. Any cars behind them would end up with their back ends poking into a junction behind them, causing more blockage.
Then there was also the motorbikes. They had free reign of both the road and the pavement. You’d be gallivanting down the sidewalk and suddenly there would be a huge bike vibrating into the back of your heels.
We survived these experiences and I again collapsed onto the hotel bed, desperate to make up for lost sleep. The next morning, I was still perplexed with what to do in Paris with only 17 hours left. I asked a friend on things to do in France and she said kiss an extremely attractive person (the women were exceedingly pretty) and buy a lot of baguettes. I think option B is the more likely as I didn’t want to get arrested.
The ladies here did have a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi. It also helps that this was the city of romance, where all the couples look epic.
We decided to go to the Eiffel Tower. Despite it being massive and pointy, quite similar to something else (snigger, snigger), we managed to lose it in the catacomb of Parisian streets. It took us twenty minutes to find it again, and with me whining about my destroyed feet the whole time, it was probably not entertaining for anyone involved. However, it was refreshing to see lovely French markets and cafe’s full of life, and no sign of Tesco or Costa.
A fat man was stumbling around the Paris River with a bottle of wine, singing to himself.
I then noticed the Paris Attacks of 2015 had really left their mark.
There was several SWAT team vans full of armoured cops. Mostly asleep, eating or looking at Facebook, it was quite an intense image to see them all lined up and almost ready for action. Cops with handguns were on patrol, and army folks came equipped with AK-47s.
Whenever I see such plentiful weaponry, I do wonder why the world has not invented a powerful tranquilizer dart that has the same speed as a bullet.
As we approached the Eiffel, a random guy approached us with an expression of glee and menace. He wouldn’t leave us alone until we shook his hand. I swallowed my pride and awkwardly offered a flighty fist pump.
As we waddled off, he followed on after us.
“ALLO ALLO,” he called.
I turned back and he was walking after us. We managed to merge into the crowds to escape. I never trust over friendly people
There were menacing looking sellers holding selfie sticks and miniature Eiffel towers. They genuinely looked like they wanted to kill people.
We contemplated what to do next as we couldn’t afford a trip up to the tower. My friend wanted to go to Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde’s graves at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. She claimed it would give her inner peace. Maybe she should try Yoga.
My outer peace was shattered when several groups of people would swan over as we sat on the Eiffel gardens. They asked us to simply sign dodgy looking forms. I questioned the bit where it said Euro Amount, and they said donation.
Other people would randomly approach us in a weird French-English speaking verbal cocktail of words. They looked at us trying to decipher what nationality were were from in a bid to get money.
I devised a simple plan to avoid such people by simply replying with the word ‘Noisk’ or speaking only in Klingon.
It got these people off our cases and they gave up pretty quickly. They were probably more concerned that I was speaking like a fictional Star Trek breed.
Unfortunately, as we left, Mr ALLOOOOO appeared near us and I could hear him beckoning us again with his scary greeting. I walked with a stern sense of pace. By the time I dared look behind me, he had disappeared once more. I wasn’t in the mood for making friends.
I calmed myself with an authentic croque-monseuir , which curbed my hungry soul. It was magnifique 🙂
We arrived at the Père Lachaise Cemetery, but it turned out are phones had adjusted incorrectly, and we were living one hour in the past. This was quite lucky, as we may have missed tomorrow’s flights. Big iron doors prevented us from entry, my friend never found the inner peace she was looking for.
We decided to go to a Vegan restaurant near Republique (not my choosing, just my sissy friend’s dietary wishes :p) which was a few Metro stops away.
As we arrived into the town via escalator, we were blocked by a swarm of French Police with riot shields.
Uh oh, I gulped.
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