I’m staying with my mama who’s taking care of me – and up at 6, as I have been since landing. So, time to tell you the story of my last night in Paris. You bloggees may remember my dilemma – how to get to Charles de Gaulle airport as cheaply as possible early in the morning with two heavy suitcases, computer etc. A sensible person would have simply given in and called a cab, which would have cost about 60 euros. But not your faithful correspondent. Not the simple way for her.
No, she accepted an offer from Denis, a young acquaintance who said, “I’ll take you.” Wonderful, I thought – a drive! He told me it’d cost 20 euros for gas. No problem. Then he said, it’d be better if you came to my place the night before, it’d make it easier in the morning. I knew he still lived with his family, though he’s 27. Do you have room? I asked. Yes, they’re away, he wrote back. Okay, I thought. It’ll be good to just get out of here and have a night in a picturesque French home.
Denis is a computer geek who worked wonders with the internet in the Paris apartment, a family friend of my landlady, an odd duck and someone I hardly know. I happily packed up and left with him on Monday night, noticing that we were driving away from the airport – it’s north east of the city, we were driving south west. It turned out that he lives past Versailles, in a suburb way, way on the complete opposite side of Paris.
In the French version of a gated subdivision – cute, ye olde row houses on streets named for artists – rue Renoir, rue Corot, rows of identical houses. Oh well, I thought. I’d offered to take him for a simple meal somewhere for my last night, a little local bistro, so the plan was a nice meal and a quiet night in the empty house.
Inside the house was the worst jumble of mess – bottles, a hookah, mattresses on the floor, old food, DVD’s and dirty dishes – I’ve ever seen, in the middle of which were 3 young men. His 19-year old brother and his 2 best friends had been living there for a month in the absence of parents. I stood in the living room, knee deep in chaos, calling myself names. And then Denis suggested that instead of going out, we order pizza. Okay, I said, thinking, well, that’ll be cheap, a nice artisanal pizza.
My final dinner in France was the Pizza Hut special – a pepperoni pizza and chicken wings, shared with 3 hungry 19-year olds. Denis had his own. It cost me 30 euros.
Then Denis told me that in order to get to work on time, he’d have to get me to the airport by 7.30, which meant getting up around 6 because, of course, we were so far away. I didn’t have to be at the airport till 8.30. And, he said, the cost for gas would be 40 euros.
My clever ruse had me at the airport three hours before the flight after not much sleep, 70 euros lighter. Just to complete my idiocy marathon, I went to the duty free store and found Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte at 18 euros less than I’d paid for it in Paris.
What to say but – ah well. I will never forget that last night. In fact, the three boys were fun, and once they’d cleared some of the mouldy food and empty bottles from the table, we had a good time as we ate our tasteless appalling Pizza Hut special. Whereas a tranquil last night in my beautiful Latin Quarter apartment, a special, delicious meal, a cab on time and relatively cheap, would not have made a good story.
I do these stupid things just for you.