56 year old American woman travels to Paris solo
Paris March 2007
After taking a group tour of Paris with my daughter, Melissa, in May of 2006, I decided that Iwould like to try it on my own. An email offering cheap flights sealed the deal.
I borrowed Melissa’s larger suitcase as I wanted to take more clothes than I did on our previous trip. I knew it would be colder than we had experienced in May so I wanted to be able to “layer” while still looking chic. Packed too many tops and scarves and jackets.
Lugged my very heavy suitcase down two flights of stairs and it had to ride shotgun in my little car since it didn’t fit anywhere else. Monday traffic to LA from Anaheim was not heavy and
I arrived at my parking lot in plenty of time. Gave them my reservation number and was shuttled to the airport via van, the only one on board.
I checked in with no problems. Of course everyone had to take off their shoes and put everything in tubs that go through the x-ray machines. I saw people that didn’t know that you couldn’t bring liquids and they were being stopped and told to dispose of their water. Some people were drinking all their water before traveling to the next point. It’s only water people!! Move on.
Went to my gate where I called the kids to let them know I had made it to the airport safely (the most dangerous part of the journey) and then people-watched and bought a book for the flight, “Jackdaws” by Ken Follett. Wanted to drink but did not as I didn’t want to get drunk, get dehydrated, or use the airplane bathroom, or some other reason that I can’t remember.
Boarding the plane was old hat for me. Ha ha. Knew that my seat would be too small and crowded so I had reserved an aisle seat. I was oh-so-friendly when the family of five took the three seats in front of me and the two seats beside me. The two people beside me were a man and woman and the three in front were a guy and an older couple. Take off went very smoothly and on time. The dinner was pretty bad except for the wine. I can’t remember what I had on the flight over. I think it was salmon. They give you a weird salad/appetizer, bread and cheese, main dish, dessert. Lots of stuff in hopes you can find something to stave off starvation. The movie selections included Casino Royale which I watched several times on the flight over and also coming back. When I finally watched it at home, there was a lot I had missed. So much for watching movies on the back of your airplane seat. The guy in front of me reclined his seat as far as it would go and then when that wasn’t enough, kept pushing and pushing his seat back till I couldn’t see the picture on my little screen. It was like looking at a plasma TV from the side.
We arrived in Paris to rain. I got my suitcase and then tried to find my pick up point for my shuttle. I had to ask a couple of people and made it to the place where the instructions they had sent me told me to go. I also went to an ATM and took out some Euro. I waited and waited and kept going out in the rain and finally my shuttle arrived. There were three other couples already in the van and it took forever to get to my hotel as I was his last drop. I did get to see lots of sights and it was like a tour of Paris in the rain. The driver was remarkable and seemed to know his way everywhere. He managed to get me to my hotel even though it was on a tiny, one way street. Thank God. Home. Gave him a tip and then checked in.
The lobby was just a room by the stairs. I think it might have been a home at one time. They gave me a huge key, a small key, and a plastic card. After some messing around, I figured out that you had to put the plastic card in a slot in order for the lights to work. The room was larger than I expected. I thought I would have a twin bed, but it was a queen. The floors were tile and the ceilings were beamed. The window looked out on the narrow street. There was a dresser and a tiny, tiny closet for my clothes. The dresser stunk so I hung up some of my clothes and then left the rest of them in my suitcase which I put on a chair by the door. The bathroom was tiny and had mold on the tile in the shower and behind the toilet. There was also mold in the corners by the bed. At some point I broke down in tears and thought, “What are you doing here? Why do you do this? What were you thinking?” I’m not sure if it was then or the next morning when I went to take a shower and it almost overflowed. I think it was probably the next morning. Anyway, I put most of my stuff away and then decided to go out. I just assumed that it had stopped raining and put on my coat and went out. Well, it was still raining so I put my hood up and looked for some place to get some wine and water. I got lost but then finally found a little store and bought a bottle of red and some water. It was still pretty early but I hadn’t slept on the flight so decided to read, drink some wine, and get some rest. I read and then slept and then woke up and then read and then slept and then woke up. I thought morning would never come.
Finally, finally it was not too early to get up. I think that is when I turned on the shower to warm the water and I turned it on too high and it almost overflowed and I got mad and teary. I later figured out not to turn on the shower too soon and too high. Went out early and it was clear and cold and beautiful. Walked to the Seine and took my first picture. Everything was amazing. People on their way to work in cars, bikes, motorcycles, walking. And gorgeous men jogging.
I think even I could jog if I could do it by the Seine.
To be continued
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