Monday, May 5, 2008

Crazy European Adventure Part 10: A Series of Unfortunate Circumstances...

It was time to leave Paris, but the days ahead looked grim. There were four nights between the present and the departure of our ferry back to England, and we had no money and no place to stay. Furthermore, the remnants of Simon's food poisoning were very apparent, he looked like a ghost and was still sporadically dry heaving. There was hope, though, because Simon had 220 Euros waiting for him just down the street. I was down to a mere 15 Euros, but those amounts combined should have lasted us the rest of the trip...

We coaxed Simon out of bed and dragged him outside so that we could obtain our funds and have a meal. That was what kept us going, the prospect of a warm meal. As delicious as French baguette is, hot food is much better for the soul. We made it to the bank and, after a bit of waiting, smiled with glee as the teller handed over the crisp 20 Euro bills...

This was our ticket out. With this money, we could afford rooms in cheap hotels for three of the four nights. We found a cheap place just outside of Paris called Formula 1. It was a chain that existed all throughout Europe, so we planned our route to match up with cities that had Formula 1 hotels...

With this financial boost, our budget jumped from 5 Euros a day to 25 Euros a day. We decided to have a nice warm meal at Monmarte, but Simon was still ill and convinced us to try eating in the dodgy town surrounding the hotel. It was a huge mistake...

We walked from place to place, not too happy with our surroundings. The buildings were dilapidated, the streets not taken care of, and the people looked sketchy. We walked into a couple of places, but nobody was serving food. Three old men smoking pipes and sipping coffee would give us odd looks before an owner would tell us to leave. We needed to get back to Paris...

Now, however, we were lost. We wandered aimlessly through the less-than-pleasant streets before finding an open market. This wasn't a regular open market, though, it was an open BLACK market. People were pawning laptops, guns, obviously stolen clothing and shoes, and every step we took was a new offer for drugs. We all clutched our passports and wallets closely as we quickly made our way through to the other side which led to Monmarte. When we finally made it through, Simon said:

"Wow, that market was really sound. I think we should go back later..."

"Simon, just shut up..."

On the path to Monmarte, we found a cafe that was decently priced. A full meal cost around 10 Euros...

"We'll go here. Simon, how much money did you bring..?"

"Money? I didn't bring any money..."

Good. Now we were sitting in a restaurant that served 10 Euro meals and the three of us, combined, had my 15 Euros. We had to order one small pizza between the three of us which tasted amazing but left our stomachs something to desire...

We got back to the hotel and Simon went for a walk. About half an hour later, he came back with two things, a 5 Euro plate of French Fries and 20 Euros worth of hash. Now that I had no money, I was no longer in charge of the funds and this is what happened. Our food expenditures jumped through the roof, and he never bought anything of much nutritional value. Cherry tarts, biscuits, brioche, it all added up to no money at the end and no filling food in our bellies. Flower and I were livid one day when Simon began tossing bits of baguette on the ground! Wasting food! IDIOT!!!

We were almost arrested when we arrived in Lille the next day by plain clothes police officers. They approached us as we got off the train, mostly because we were scruffy and carrying rucksacks...

"[With badges out] We are the French police. Do you mind if we search your bags? We are just making sure you aren't carrying any drugs or dangerous weapons."

"Yeah, sure. Not a problem. [Opens bag]"

[At this point, one of the cops began rummaging in Flower's pack, only to find a wizard's robe, frilly pink pajama pants, and trippy yellow trousers.]

"Do you do any drugs? Do you smoke marijuana?"

"No."

"No."

"I have some hash! [Takes out hash]"

Guess who said that? LUCKILY these cops were cool and the amount of hash we had wasn't enough to be arrested. LUCKILY we aren't in a French prison right now. I just don't have words for how angry I was when we walked away...

Moving on...

We walked into the town center where it rained for a few minutes. I took the opportunity to snap some photos, like always...
That made me feel much better. We headed back to the hotel when we got tired, but I slept little. Now, thanks to Simon, I had a sinus infection. Breathing was difficult, and every ten minute interval required a nose blowing and a coughing fit. The rest of the adventure would be quite a struggle...

Don't worry, next time I'll have a happier entry..:-)

More to come..:-)

-Matt

1 comment:

meloogal said...

You're awful quick to blame the hardships of your trip on Simon. Might I venture to guess that it might have been more than one person's fault that you ended up with no funds for the last five days? Hmmmmm?

(Snap.)