Sunday 27 October 2013

Paris, France VI: The day I left Paris

On the morning that I was supposed to check out, I went down to the basement for breakfast in my usual gear, aka pyjamas. I saw this girl who looked awfully familiar in the queue for our daily dose of croissant, baguette, cereal, coffee and fruit juice. I sat down on her right while peeking at her on and off. Finally she turned away from her conversation with the girl on her left and said hello to me. I immediately launched into a "Are you from Singapore? You look really familiar!" speech. Turns out, she went to the same Junior College (JC) as me and had two good friends from my class. She was at the end of her travels while I just started.

After packing up, I checked out and decided to leave my bag on top of the lockers so as not to block the walkway. I gave it a good shove and THUD! my bag fell behind the lockers.. leaving me standing there in shock with my jaws hanging. The cleaning lady who was beside me blabbered away in French, probably mocking me for my foolishness and walked away. Luckily for me, the cook walked past and I begged for help. All my mornings of conversing with him in French paid off (which went something like this*) because he helped me push the lockers out and I squeezed behind the lockers to retrieve my fallen bag. I merci-ed profusely and he gave a tiny smile. Mind you, he hardly smiled while handing out breakfast so he appeared rather standoffish.

*Morning conversations*
Him: "Bonjour."
Me: "Bonjour."
Him: "Café ou thé?"
Me: "Café, s'il vous plaît."
-passes me the coffee-
Me: "Merci." -smiles-

Left my newly made friend, G who wanted to go to Disneyland, and went to Versailles with another newly friend, W who is the close friend of an ex-JC mate whom G knows as well. Yup it's a small world after all, we met some 14,000km away from home.

After we returned from Versailles, we met up with G again to have dinner before my bus to London. We had a really good time laughing at nothing in a Kebab restaurant near our hostel. Dinner took a little longer than expected so I had to rush off to the bus terminal but not before snapping a photo to commemorate our meeting in Paris. We decided that we should take it in front of something symbolic so people would know we met in Paris so we decided on the statue at République metro. The statue turned out to be SO tiny and I have no idea why but we just couldn't stop laughing. Was it the kebab? No time for that though because I had a bus to catch! So they accompanied me to the metro and in a frantic mess, I couldn't find my metro ticket! I kept digging but it just wouldn't appear. So the other two attempted to help me buy a new one but they couldn't remember the station name. So I decided to crawl underneath the turnstile because time was ticking. (Kids, please don't try this out. I was desperate.) But there was another plastic door behind which I couldn't squeeze past. So mission failed and I had to crawl back out. It was quite a sight... The two of them were half laughing, half trying to remember the station name. AND THEN, this French lady tapped her card, past the turnstile and held the plastic door open for me! Tears of gratitude flowed down my cheek. I was so so so extremely grateful that I wanted to give her a hug. So with a quick wave to my two new friends, I crawled underneath the turnstile (again), merci-ed profusely and ran to catch the metro to the bus terminal. I kept checking the time, afraid that I would miss my bus because if I did, I would have to find another way to get to London, spend more money and ah, it would have been so troublesome.

After I reached the bus station, I headed straight to the car park where all the buses were. However, I realised everyone was holding onto a card of some sort. I sought help from another French lady and changed my email print-out for a boarding pass. I even acted as a translator for the bus driver who was communicating frustratedly with a Chinese man. Finally, it was time for the bus to leave the station and off to London I went!

P.S. My metro ticket showed up when I was on the bus. Pshh. Well I guess my day wouldn't have been half as exciting if it didn't decide to play hide and seek with me.

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