My first meal in Paris was curried lamb and Naan bread. When I saw a small Punjabi restaurant on my way to my hotel, I knew that nothing would stop me from having dinner there. I have an intense love for curry. Granted, I think Trinidadian and Guyanese curry wins all the curry battles, I can enjoy traditional Indian curry as well. I used the time to try to get some hints from the cashier about things to do. He offered, instead, to show me around. I had a second ticket for a cruise on the River Seine burning a hole in my pocket so after running the suggestion through in my mind, I accepted. He was around my age, spoke very good English, seemed not to be a serial killer (but neither did Ted Bundy) and I surmised that if we stuck to the touristy places I’d be fine if he turned out to be a creep.
Of course, I regretted this decision as soon as I woke up the following morning. Anyone who knows me though, knows that I couldn’t back out without feeling badly. So, instead of texting him and saying thanks for the offer but no thanks, I found myself mentally preparing escape routes.
Included my package was the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest as most hotels stick to breakfasts of the continental variety. However, I was immediately converted when I saw bacon and sausage. There aren’t many things in this world that I love (although my waist line hates) like bacon, sausage and pancakes. The buttermilk pancakes, bacon (though not American), sausages and several cups of coffee were just the distraction I needed to take my mind of escape routes and possibly inviting a psycho to spend the day with me. I could feel my mother’s disapproval from thousands of miles and time zones away.
Shortly after breakfast I met up with A, who was an incredibly good tour guide and possessed not a creppy bone in his body. He was also very patient about taking lots and lots and lots of photos for me. No awkward selfies with the monuments for me that day. I was able to get the proper pictures that I’d craved so much the day before.
We started off our day with me getting my Starbucks fix and being pleasantly happy that the French barista spelled my name right AND pronounced it right (I swear, it was a monumental day) when so many English baristas don’t.
Our first stop was the cruise along the Seine. Seeing Paris from the river was an amazing experience. I was happy that I had A with me to point out the buildings as we went past because try as they might because of all the languages they had to contend with, the company we were booked with didn’t do a great job at pointing things out. We grabbed seats next to an English man who brought five or six little boys who at various moments made me smile (waving to everyone on other boats), chuckle (bursting out into a pretty good rendition of ‘Let It Go’ and laugh out loud (bursting into another rendition of ‘Happy and You Know It.’ Their excitement was infectious. When we sailed under the Lovers Lock bridge the man said to them in a very serious voice, “This is where you will bring your girlfriends when you get older.” In the next twelve years or so, those kids will not be able to say the rules of romance weren’t laid down for them.
The cruise lasted for about an hour, after which we ambled back in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. First, though, I was able to take what might have been the most epic photo of the trip.
Later, A showed me the best place to get photos with the Eiffel Tower. Hint: It wasn’t where I tried to get photos the day before. If you are in Paris, I swear the best spot to take photos of the Eiffel tower is from the Trocaédero. We people watched for a while which was interesting because there were two recently married couples taking photos before we got down to our own photo-taking.
I wish I could spam the blog with all my favourite photos but that would be overbearing. The day was a whirlwind from there. I was happy I wore my trainers (even though they were not very inconspicuous being Neon Green and all) and I was able to convince myself that I might have walked off my huge breakfast. We visited museums although we didn’t make it to the Louvre. I didn’t mind though, as I decided that I would put that under the next time in Paris list (along with being kissed atop the Eiffel Tower 🙂 ).
The afternoon was spent meandering down Champs-Élysées which was excellent with its assortment of shops and restaurants. After grabbing refreshments we were able to watch street dancers perform. At this point, not even my comfy trainers could save me from the fact that I was exhausted and so was A. Despite this, we walked on because I was intent on visiting the Arc de Triomphe, which is a monument to those who died in the French Revolutionary war, as well as the Napoleonic war. It was well worth it. I was staggered, as I’d been many times that day, at the beauty and detail in the architecture.
It was a laid back, stunning day filled with lots of beauty and laughter. In the minutes that I tried to get a bit of writing in before bed, I realised that although I was sure I’d have had a good time on my own, the day was all the better because I stepped out of my comfort zone. In a way, the entire trip was a step outside of my comfort zone. I made a promise to myself to do it more often! We’ll see in the coming months how that turns out!