Paris… Ahh oui, the city of love. The iconic Eiffel tower, Norte Dame, small cobblestone streets, cute bridges and quaint cafés. All the beauty that makes Paris one of the most romantic cities in the world. For many people, I’m sure it’s nothing but cuddles and smooches all the day long. I however had a different experience in the French capital. One that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I was sleeping when I arrived late on the bullet train coming from London to Paris. It was almost 1 in morning and I hadn’t booked a place to stay yet. Naturally, I was a bit panicky as I left the train. I grabbed my bag and ran for the metro.
It’s always a tad hard to find your way in a new city, especially a city like Paris. No worries for this rug sack wearer tho, I got on a subway and headed toward the hostel district without a care in the air.
That changed after about 30 mins. On the metro my stomach dropped to the floor. I had forgotten my passport, rail pass and, €100 on the train. I feverishly rushed back to the station where the train had been gated closed. I asked the jerk working if I could please retrieve my forgotten belongings, to which he laughed, and told me to go away and try tomorrow.
Looking back I think I may have given up too easily but the chances that it would have been in the train aren’t that likely. Plus he had a gun.
Hanging my head, I went back to the area I intended to stay and of course everywhere was booked up. Around 2:30 am I decided that I’d splurge and get a hotel for 8 hours at the rate of €60 a night. That was my budget for 2 days so that itself was very heartbreaking.
The next morning I woke up and started stressing. The first thing to do was go to the train station. They told me it had not been found but to contact the Paris lost and found. I was beside myself.
I arrived at the embassy and explained to them my passport was lost. They told me it would take a couple of days and around 250 Euro to get a new one. When they asked if I wanted to cancel my current one I gambled and said I would wait to hear from the lost and found. On the L&F website, it mentioned that they return a huge number of items to people every day. With that knowledge, I booked a hostel and decided to wait it out.
The next day I was still quite devastated but decided I wasn’t going to sit in a hostel and mope around. This was Paris after all.
So like in most of the other euro countries, I found the free walking tour and joined in.
It was a basic tour. Interesting from what I remember. At the end the tour guide, like in every city before, said. “Alright hope you enjoyed. Now if you have nothing to do tonight come out on the pub crawl.”
I of course always loved to hear that there was a pub crawl. A) Because there is usually a free drink involved and B) There is drinking involved.
I quickly found like-minded people in the small group. These people were really keen. They even arranged that we would meet prior to the crawl for some drinks. Fine by me I thought. This all went according to plan, we had some drinks and had an amazing night.
This crawl though, unlike so many others, didn’t end where it began. It wasn’t really walking distance to my hostel and the subway station had closed because it was nearly 5 am. How it got so late is a mystery to me but I remember finding some American girls who were staying near the Moulin Rouge, where I was staying and were up to split a cab.
The driver dropped us off right at the front door of the Moulin Rouge. My place was left and the girls right so I bid them a bon nuit and started my early morning stroll back to the hostel.
It wasn’t long before a large, cornrow headed, gypsy-looking lady interrupted my daydreams of crawling into a comfy bed.
“You want some sucky” she asked
“I’m quite alright Madame” I replied.
“5 euro” she bartered.
“Uh, still no. I’m going home” I told her as I kept walking.
“Commmmme onnnn” she persisted.
She had started to follow me now, demanding that she provide me with what no man on earth would ever want. After a minute or two of me shutting down possibly the worst offer I’ve ever received, she moved in close and plucked something from my hoodie pocket. I quickly felt around and realized she had taken my iPod.
“Hey, give that back!” I demanded
What are you talking about?” She questioned
“My iPod, you just stole it. Give it back.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” she said in her French/Spanish accent.
She started to back into an ally at this point. I followed reasoning with her to return my belonging. No luck.
I weighed my options.
“Look” I said ” Here’s a phone from the UK. It has credit on it just give me back my iPod”
My iPod was important to me because I had been writing on it, it had maps, contacts, schedules. It seemed like my life at the time. The phone I had bought in London a week earlier for 10 pounds and didn’t hold too dearly.
She wasn’t giving in and I was starting to get angry. All I wanted to do was go to bed. Why’d this hooker have to get up in my business? So in a rage and as a last ditch effort, as she was backing up further and further I whipped my phone at her head.
Direct hit. The small, brick-like Nokia, bullseyed her temple bursting into half a dozen pieces. There was no delay. I pounced on her like a lion. Locking her in a choke hold, I gripped her greasy cornrows. She bucked like a branded mule until…
Out they came. There I was standing in the street with a fist full of long, black cornrowed, hooker hair. We both stopped for a split second and stared at each other in disbelief.
Then I seized the opportunity. I quickly grabbed her purse and ran. Digging through, I quickly found my precious.
Relieved I had found my iPod and not a needle, I proceeded to throw the purse as far as I could across the street and booked it down the road.
It wasn’t long before I realized I had made a wrong turn and my hostel was the opposite way. I spun around and there she was, about 30 ft away. Literally looking like a bull. This chick was pissed! Quickly I calculated my options and going straight through her was what I, and liquid courage landed on. She and I charged at each other head on like knights in a joust. At the last minute I did some fancy footwork and sidestepped her like a quarterback would a tackle.
Freedom! I raced to the end of the street and up the hill to my hostel as fast as my legs could take me.
I flew into the doors of my place only to find that the second set was locked. Looking at my watch it said 5:50. Doors opened at 6. Sweet I thought, I’ll just take a fiver, collect myself and try to sober up.
It began to dawn on me, what if this girl had a pimp. Would they try to find me? Am I still in danger? Should I have come here?
While I was freaking myself out with these thoughts the outside door slowly opened. A head looked away from me at first and then directly into my eyes. It was the hooker. I screamed like a girl at a Justin Beiber concert, kicked the door closed and rang the bell of the hostel feverishly.
Slowly a sleepy guy came and answered the door.
“Can I help you?” He said tiredly
YES! There is a hooker that is going to kill me!!” I yelled
“Well then come in sir” he replied not really believing me.
I ran in and slammed the door shut behind me. She bolted through the first set of doors and started banging on the second. Yelling and shouting in French and Spanish.
“I’m going to die in Paris.” I told myself
The receptionist was now awake.
“Who is that”? He wondered
“The hooker!” I said. Surprised that he didn’t know, being that I had just told him.
“I had better see what she wants”
Before I could tell him how absolutely absurd that was he had opened the door.
The 6 foot, 275 lbs women roared in. She began to verbally tear a strip out of me. I distanced myself behind a couch and prayed this wasn’t how it ended.
The receptionist who had a look of regret with his choice of opening the door was now trying to calm her down.
Within minutes, somehow, police were on the scene. I felt immensely relieved.
She was still raging like a volcano tough. She was yelling and pointing. And then it came out.
She reached into her purse and pulled out the cornrows. It was then that I saw she was missing a large patch of hair directly above her forehead. Even in my state of shock, it was hilarious.
I watched from a couch as the police questioned her for a few minutes. Then they motioned at me to explain myself.
“This lady says you and your friend beat her up”. the cop questioned.
“That’s not true” I replied. “she robbed me and I’m by myself”.
“Can I see your passport?” he asked.
With all the emotions I had exerted in the last hour, plus alcohol and now the thought that I might be arrested for something I didn’t do, it was too much. I let out a nice sized barf right on the floor. Mid reply to his passport question. Right at his feet.
This somehow didn’t seem abnormal to me because I finished telling him that I had lost my passport and this girl was a liar.
They were a little put-off but after realizing that the lady was a junkie. They brushed her out and told me to go to bed.
The next morning I booked a train to Brussels and waited for good news on my passport. After 8 days, I received the email my passport had been returned and to come back to the wonderful and romantic city of love.