Next stop: Culture shock
Trip Start Mar 10, 2008
72Trip End Aug 12, 2008
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[J] Paris here we come. It's been cold in Britain and we didn't bring a lot of warm clothes with us. So we were hoping France might be a tiny bit warmer. It is a
As soon as we got off the train in Paris and started to figure out where we needed to go to get on the metro (underground subway), I could tell this was not going to be easy. We know no French outside of hello, good morning/evening, goodbye, pardon, excuse me and some basic numbers. Oh, and deja vu. Oh, and deja vu (sorry, had to do it). It looks like, when French is involved, doing ordinary things is going to take at least five times longer than when we did those same things in English.
We finally made it to our apartment after dragging our bags through the Paris metro. The instructions I had from the apartment owner (who actually lives in California) were pretty clear and we made it to the building, punched in the
Ok, so we're in the apartment building, but how do we get out? Will Sarah have to let me back in when I go out? Will we have to visit sites in Paris one at a time? We get up to our apartment and both keys fit the locks on the door there, so she must have just forgotten to give us the other key. Then it hit me. Hold the door dude had pushed a button on the side of the wall to unlock the door. Therefore, it was an electric lock. Therefore, we had the key in our hand the whole time! It was the key chain (in the lobby, with the candlestick). Dagnabbit. Oh, well.
Once we got our barrings, we headed out for some food. Man, this used to be a lot easier. Fortunately, all of the restaurants have menus in the window so we can see what they offer. Unfortunately, they might as well be written in Swahili for as much French as we know. We are staying in a more residential area which makes it less touristy, but also cuts down on the number of people who speak English. Needless to say the dining experience took much longer that it should have since we were plugging every word into a translator (and only half of the words were showing up). The waiter was being very nice and patient with us, but he knew very little English. I pointed at something someone on another table was having (a steak with an over easy egg on it) and Sarah ordered duck (which was very good). So it was an adventure; which any little thing can turn into when you're in a foreign country. And it was a blast.
Little foreign travel tip for you: Never order a Coke unless you can see how much it costs. I got a bottle of Coke (the small glass ones with no free refills) and realized when we got the bill that I had been charged 4 Euro for it. That's more than $6.00. Six U.S. dollars! For a Coke. It's water at restaurants for me from now on. And tap water, not that expensive bottled stuff.