My arrival in the City of Lights was without complication, save for one thing. I got through customs just fine and on the train with no fuss. Though, it is daunting to hear a language I don’t speak constantly floating about around me. No, it was not until I left the stop and did not see Caity that I started to feel out of sorts.
The plan was to contact her once I’d gotten on the train from the airport so she knew when to meet me at the train stop. Only, I arrived and my WiFi and International Data package was not working. I was livid. Technology is truly amazing; there are charger stations at airports and I saw tons of people scanning their airplane tickets instead of handing a paper copy to the attendant. Amazing. So when technology doesn’t work, it is a shit storm. I cannot even appreciate that I’m in Paris because I can’t contact the person I’m meeting and my GPS doesn’t work.
But I remain calm. I figure even though Caity does not technically “know” I’m on the way, I know she’s been tracking my plane and will have known when I landed and therefore have deduced when to go meet me. I hop off the train and head up into the city. The Luxembourg Gardens were to my left and Latin Quarter to my right. I walked up and down between the two Luxembourg train exits a couple times, looking for Caity. Didn’t see her. Figured I was SOL with meeting up with her, so I start looking for the apartment.
Lesson 1: Even though technology is great, sometimes it is for shit, so always have backup plans.
Fortunately, I did know the address of the apartment and I do have a physical map to search for said address. Unfortunately, I could not seem to find any street names….. ??? I saw plenty of signs that read “Museum of such and such this way” and “The Louvre this way” and the “The Eiffel Tower is this way” etc etc. Hmmm…. I walked up and down the street for about 20 minutes, judging by the names of the shops, I’m in the right place…. maybe….
So I’m walking and walking, pulling my gigantic suitcase behind me with my map in hand and bewildered expression on my face. Fucking tourists, eh?
Finally, a nice French gentlemen, who speaks not a word of English, ends up helping me out. I point out on the map where I’m trying to go and somehow indicate I know not one street around me. He points up and says, “Regarde! Regarde!”
Lesson 2: Street names are on buildings. I must look up. Interesting.
From there it was easy. I found the apartment building no problem, and snuck into the lobby as someone left. Then, I waited. About 20 minutes after, I hear a jingle at the door and it’s Caity. I yank the door open, scaring the bajeezezs out of her.
“Bonjour!” I say. We laugh, we hug, we exchange a “where the hell you’ve been”, and head up to the apartment to stow my crap so that I may start to enjoy my first night in Paris.
Coming up… The Apartment, Walking in Paris, The Louvre, Notre Dame, the Locks Bridge, Cafés, Wine