Day 4 – Bonjour Paris and Celine

Paris Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 5 › view all entries

Sept. 20, 2007:  Day 4 – Bonjour Paris and Celine


            Justin and I bid farewell to Bayeux, Greg and the Family House after enjoying another delightful breakfast and showing Greg around Bayeux a little.

            Our Paris Couchsurfer, Celine, met us at the St. Lazare Metro Station and gave us each two kisses (one on each cheek).

  I had scheduled to stay with Celine a few weeks in advance and she was kind enough to let Justin stay too even though he wasn’t in the original plan.

            Celine couldn’t speak as much English as Nathalie, and so I was put to the test to see if I could conjure up some of that French I had learned thirteen years ago in the 9th and 10th grade.  But, Celine spoke enough so that we could understand each other.  Thank goodness because my French is terrible; I never used it after 10th grade.

            Celine brought us back to her place where we unloaded our heavy bags with a grunt and sigh of relief.  She lived in a high rise by herself in the northern part of Paris.  Going up the elevator was hilarious; imagine two guys with backpacks and a girl trying to squeeze into a space about 3’x4’.

  My face was smooched up against the mirror at the back.  I had a nice view of moi crotte de nez.

            After we rested a little Celine took us somewhere that we wouldn’t be going to on our free walking tour of Paris the next day; Montemarte.  It’s a cathedral built overlooking Paris.  The sun was just setting when we got there and we were greeted by some amazing views of the city.  Many people were tolling about outside on the steps.  A man was playing American pop songs on guitar and singing, and another man was displaying his talent for keeping a soccer ball from hitting the ground by bouncing it off his legs and head. 

            We were famished and ate in the Indian district.

  It was both mine and Justin’s first sit-down meal since our trips began.  At 5 Euros it was well worth it.  I had lamb vindaloo.  Celine and Justin had chicken vindaloo.  We paid for Celine’s meal as a merci. 

            While we were eating people around us would occasionally glance at us since we were speaking English.  There were two young women sitting to our right, and they giggled at how Justin tried to pronounce chicken in French, and then repeated it the way Justin had said it as if it sounded funny.  I nudged Justin and said “We should start speaking Pig Latin so that no one can understand us.”  He agreed, and one of the first things I said was “Uckfay emthay.”  Celine was in the bathroom at the time.

            After walking around a bit more after dinner we decided to take the Metro back since it was too far to walk.

  Well, that was a mistake.  While we were on the subway, the train stopped and the driver announced (Celine translated) that someone had fallen on the tracks.  Justin and I looked at each other in shock.

            Celine explained to us that it’s not uncommon for people to commit suicide in Paris by throwing themselves onto the tracks in front of an approaching train.  Sometimes they survive because the train was able to stop, and other times they don’t survive.  Whenever it happens the trains are stopped for awhile.

            Justin and I were astonished.  I had never heard of this happening in the US (even though I’m sure it does now and then), and never experienced it on the Boston T (subway).

  Celine just shrugged.  Other people on board seem to be acting like nothing was happening. 

            In the end it took about 15 minutes and the conductor said that the person was alive.  So that was good at least.

            We made it back to Celine’s and got ready for a big day of walking the next day.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: Sweetski