Friday, April 17, 2009

Paris...

My first weekend in my internship turned out to be a long weekend. Now being a rather lazy sort of chap, a long weekend is something I naturally loved, but the prospect of spending one in a room which did not even have a ceiling fan for me to watch go around wasn't an idea which brought me much cheer. So I decided to visit Paris. With Keertida stationed there for her MBA, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see Paris in a good way, and also for cheap :P


I reached Paris on Friday night after a stunning 4 hour train journey, which left me marveling at the technical progress and systematic nature of things here. The vistas were fantastic, the windows large and clear, and the weather great. 4 hours passed by in a jiffy. I had directions on how to get to the place she lived in, but I could make no sense out of them for the first 15 minutes. A visit to the information counter resulted in a sad shake of the head and a 'No English' remark. After wandering around in circles and getting exasperated, I approached a random stranger, who did not quite know what I should do, but knew where we could find somebody who did. With his huge bag in tow, he walked at a pace which made me run in order to keep up with him. We went all over the place again, but couldn't make much progress. Finally, he asked another random girl, who was busy smoking a cig. Finding that she spoke English, a quality that he lacked, he promptly deposited me in her care, and vanished before I could thank him. The girl apologetically asked me if I could wait till she finished her cig, which she proceeded to do in a state which made even me asphyxiate. After depositing the remains, she took me to another information counter, where we waited in a long line, before the attendant made me a ticket and drew lines on the metro map to explain what I should be doing. A quick round of thanks later, the girl vanished, and I proceeded to find my way. I had to ask another person, this time a young chap of African origin, who told me the way and shook hands in a hearty, happy manner and hopped into the train which had arrived as we were talking.


A few minutes later, I stood at the exit of Cite Universitaire, wondering what to do now. Keertida was not quite there as she'd said, and the public telephone seemed to accept only calling cards. Thanking my stars on my decision to get a mobile, even though it was a tad heavy on the pocket, I called her, wondering if I had enough balance to make an international call while roaming. There seems to be some strange system here though, calling locally within a country while roaming seems to be cheaper than calling it when you are in your home network. Anyway, it was a rather relieved keertida who took the call, having wondered for over an hour as to where I had vanished, and an even more relieved me, in the knowledge that I wouldn't have to spend the night on a park bench after all.


I later found out that Parisians are known for being snooty and unhelpful, but the experiences I had with 3 people - one of which was definite snooty material, being young, female and undeniably and completely hot - went quite against that, making me feel happy again. Maybe we tend to get a wee bit too cynical at times...

More about the Paris trip later :)

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