Making The Most Of It

5 May 2011

Paris, France

I wish they told me breakfast wasn’t free, as I stuffed myself with croissants thinking it was all I was going to have today. For now, I sit in reception waiting fora reply, bookign a hostel and gulping down more tablets.

The adrenaline and anger rush, mixed with determination forces me back out into Paris again to find my booked hoste. As fuel, I buy a baguette and a big, warm bottle of orange juice. Lovely. In not giving way to anybody, and jumping in front of cars that should give way to me, I imagine myself as a true citizen of this city. If I didn’t have my backpack, I’d be employing all the tricks of getting into the metro for free that I’ve seen done every time I’m at a station, including squeezing, pushing and leaping, through and over barriers.

I take a wrong turn, but at least witness a ptifiul student demonstration of twenty people holding up signs. Hey look, that’s cool:

Stands out from the piles and piles of s### on every other wall.

The sun is warm and I finally get a sighting of the River Seine, giving a sense of how non-touristy and sick I’ve been.

The array of flags over a building tell me that it’s the hostel I’m looking for. “Parlez-vous anglais?” “I… uh… try…” So this is what you get at an English-named hostel? I speak French anyway; English is a luxury I can’t afford despite how dog tired I am. I dump my bags and pop some pills.

This is the view out of the dorm. Typical capital city.

Soon I’m due to meet my grandfather’s sister’s granddaughter. Despite the remote connection, when we meet (which was difficult considering we didn’t know what each other looked like) we get on splendidly, talking for at least two hours at a brasserie until 9pm. Very French indeed. These late sunsets still confuse me, since my cousin informs me that it’s time to go even though it’s perfectly bright.

There’s something about speaking to any family that you always connect at some level; you understand, you agree even though you disagree because of this. People don’t realise how closely related a so-called ‘distant’ relative may feel. It’s uncanny and interesting when they are socially a complete stranger.

I’m happy. I’ve done something typically French with another cool new person who happens to be family. Oh and I bokoed a train from Paris to Apeldoorn, Netherlands, leaving 7th of May. Finally meetng all the supposed thousands of family members there. Not sure what I’m going to do there, but getting there will sort that one out.

Satisfied, make the journey back to bed, shivering out of my skin with teeth chattering.