I could hardly keep from laughing. I turned around to the people behind me and said somewhere between a bark and a yell, “Ils ont trouvé mon passeport!” A couple people cheered at me but most of them ignored it. I gave the man all my passport application papers to shred and he wrote out how to get to the station where they were holding my passport. It was 33km outside of Paris by a train stop called Survielliers-Fosse. Whoever had taken my stuff had found my passport and dropped it off on the train, where someone had found it and turned it in. They weren’t legally allowed to send it to me, so I had to get it myself, and I had to get it that day. Okay, let the adventure begin.
The first thing I did was go to the post office to get my €22 back for that stupid envelope. By this point I’d seen the same worker there several times so when I came back with the envelope, he asked me what happened. I told him, “Ils ont trouvé mon passeport! Je pourrais baiser tout la monde!” Okay, for those of you who don’t know, the Spanish word for “to kiss” is ‘besar,’ and sometimes my Spanish gets mixed up with with my French and I Frenchify some Spanish words in an attempt to make it look like I know the word. Most of the time it works, but this time, it didn’t. Not even slightly. You see, I wanted to say I could kiss everyone (for being so happy that my passport was found), which would have been ’embrasser.’ What I actually said was “They found my passport! I could fuck everyone!” Whoops. He gave me a really strange look and some other people turned around before I’d realized my mistake and quickly corrected myself. Language learning is an adventure, right? Okay, travel time.
The metro and train stations connect underneath the city, and I would have to take the metro to Châtelet to change to the train. There are several layers underneath the city that facilitate various metro lines, and the place this becomes most apparent is at Châtelet. Several metro lines meet there as well as two of the train lines (if I remember correctly). First, you walk down the street to the metro, then get to Châtelet, walk down another level to get to where several lines cross, and then go down another level to get to the heart of everything. Exits everywhere, people scrambling to find their next destination, and it’s crazy how big it is. There are a couple places where they’ve installed those escalator-like ground strips (I have no idea what they’re called) that they have at airport terminals so people can get around faster. And this is all several meters underground…
Once you’re in the beating center, you have to find the staircase leading even farther down to the correct train station. I found my exit, descended, and got on the first train on line D heading directly north out of the city.
Since I was feeling great and happy, I celebrate with Twix. This had SIX Twix bars in it for only €2. My heart nearly stopped. Total French Twix consumption: 18 bars.
Hot guy on le train.
I ended up staying on the train even after it had stopped for half an hour. I still needed to go farther north and I figured they were ahead of schedule and that’s why we’d stopped. But actually, I was supposed to switch lines so I could continue going north. Ugh. So the train started moving backache other direction and I had to ask someone what to do, and the woman I spoke to said I could just get off at the next stop and take another line to go north to my stop. I did so, and it only put me about an hour behind schedule. I still wanted to see some of Paris and buy new clothes so I wouldn’t have to keep wearing the same thing over and over again. Anyway, I arrived at Survieiller-Fosse shortly after one o’clock.
It’s a really quiet area where you can barely tell you’re close to Paris. Plenty of green, a few neighborhoods, and generally nice people (at least from my experience asking the train ticket office where the hell I was and if there was a police station nearby [there were two, so she called them both for me to see which one had my passport], the gas station attendant who let me use the bathroom without having to buy anything, and the old woman on the street I had to ask for directions once again to get to the gendarmerie). Also, I don’t know what it is about the French police, but nearly every one of them is super attractive.
The gas station I started at. I then proceeded to walk around the entire town in a semicircle towards the police station.
It reminded me of home. Grass, and corn, and no people.
After another half hour of walking I finally made it to the police station where they had me show them my copy of my passport and driver’s license before they gave me my passport.
I came full circle around the town after getting my passport on a mini explorative adventure and came back to the gas station before taking the train back into Paris. I knew I wanted to get something from H&M so I looked up where to find it and went that direction. A little sightseeing on the side couldn’t hurt either. Immediately upon coming out of the metro I ran into this gorgeous thing:
And found this really cool street sign:
And I even found Waldo (gotta love Paris):
I got a couple shirts and eventually headed back to the apartment to meet up with Camille and her friend Katar from Morocco, and we went to a local cafe for a beer with cherry syrup.
Afterwards, we decided to tour the gay part of Paris, which is next to the Jewish part of Paris, which is next to the artsy part of Paris… Etc. On our way to the gay section, we saw a rally of conservatives with speakers talking about protecting their children against something. When we left, Camille explained that they were talking about protecting children from gender stereotype breakdowns. That is, they were protecting the gender binary and subsequently saving their children from a world with same sex marriage and men and women who have more similar gender roles/androgeny in general. I felt more at home than ever!
But then the night was saved by gay things! There were lots of adorable couples everywhere and now I miss my other half who is 5000 miles away. Blah. But the shops are really cool to look at and everything is très chic.