The first thing I did when I entered our apartment in Paris (our APARTMENT in PARIS) was burst into tears. Not tears of joy, tears of frustration and sadness. I cannot believe something I’ve planned for for so long, and looked forward to for so long has turned out to be such a miserable experience.
We pulled into Gare du Nord an hour late, because of some issue I didn’t understand or care about–as you can tell, I was perfectly happy to be on the train. And I should have been–because what was awaiting me off the train was the closest thing to my own personal version of hell that I can think of.
I don’t know if I even want to get into the details of it–a word for word play by play would be several pages long. Let’s just say we stood in multiple lines–really long lines, impossible, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me lines –in an attempt to get from the station to the apartment. I am postive, given the distance, that we could have walked in less time than we stood in line for a cab. The line was literally around the side of the building. And that was after the first line we stood in, attempting to purchase metro cards (the only working machine was not accepting cash–the cash it had taken us a half hour to procure from a cash machine that, once we found it, had a long line in front of it–surprise surprise.) At several points during this whole experience, I got to pay 70 cents (or about one US dollar) to use a disgusting bathroom that, you guessed it, I had to stand in line for. If there is a hell–and I’m sure that if there is one, I’m going there–it will look exactly like Gare du Nord Station.
We had arrived at the station at noon, and walked in to our apartment, two miles away from the train station, at 2:30. I don’t see how this is anyone’s idea of fun. I don’t even see how anyone can have fun after going through something like this.
I’ve been in Paris for four hours. Two and a half of them I stood in line, I cried for around a half hour, and I’ve spent the last hour writing home to get my flight changed to an earlier date (there is no way I’m going to Barcelona) and writing this. The shades are drawn, I have not taken one picture, and I have absolutely no desire to walk down to Notre Dame, or anywhere, for that matter.
I cannot believe how wrong this is all going. And I’m so embarrassed about it–writing this is hard, because I know people are reading it and laughing at me. But perhaps some people are reading it and nodding in agreement. Perhaps some people are reading it and better preparing themselves for their own trip. Perhaps others will learn from my stupid, stupid mistakes. That, at least, would be something.
Appendix–in the time it took me to write this, my husband went for a walk, and came back practically waving the French flag, proclaiming ‘I LOVE PARIS’. So maybe he’ll be able to bring me back a croissant or something, after his adventures.