Pussycat à Paris

Such a short flight to Paris, but long enough for the woman in front to freak me out. She was an older lady, traveling with her son. She had an elongated Celine Dion/Afghan Hound face, made scarier by the world’s biggest pair of glasses. Her brown eyes were three times magnified and bobbed around behind the octagonal glass like dying goldfish, staring me down as she tottered down the aisle to the bathroom for the seventeenth time. I told Rhi I was scared, but she assured me it was a big city and we would lose her at the airport.

As soon as we jumped off the train at Gare du Nord a rather aesthetically pleasing young man appeared and asked if we were lost. We immediately assumed he was going to kill us, because this would prove correct The Mothership’s theories about Young Ladies Out In The Big Bad World. But no, he was just simply some hunky random lad who spent fifteen minutes patiently explaining how all the different trains worked and where to go and what to do. Then he just smiled and ran off without any trouble, while I will still trying to figure out how to say, “Take her, she’s got more cash!” en français…

Before long we were on a sightseeing bus, our cameras clicking away in harmony with assorted tourists. It was overwhelming, around every corner another disgustingly famous and fabulous sight to see. We oohed and aahed appropriately, then the Arc de Triomphe loomed into view and it turned into a “Holy fucking shit!”. There was much mad cackling – we were in Paris!

It felt so unreal, like we’d run away from boarding school and would get busted by Matron at any moment. We hopped on and off the bus, trying to do as much as possible while spending the least amount of money.

The pace slowed down late afternoon, when, after wandering around the Notre Dame for a long while, I barrelled back onto the bus and promptly whacked my head on the roof as I ran up the stairs.

Eventually we were sitting under the Eiffel Tower, too weary (or slightly concussed) to join the queues to go the top.



“I just did my first fart in France.”

“Awww! I haven’t done one yet!”

“Don’t worry my child, your time will come.”

Saturday morning we went out to Versailles super early in order to beat the crowds. Not a bad little chateau, I tells ya. We had a wander around the town and an argument over who would buy lunch:

“YOU ask for it.”

“Noooo. YOU ask for it!”

“No. YOU ask for it! You’re the one who did the classes!”

“I wish I knew how to say ‘Rhiannon’s being a bitch’ in French!”

So I asked for it and somehow ended up with three croissants and a tiny quiche, which wasn’t quite my intention but it was all very tasty. Afterwards we went back into Paris and trekked around some more, ending up at the Louvre in the scorching afternoon, stretched out by the fountain working on our pink (we don’t tan). Sunday we took in delightful sites like the Moulin Rouge, the Musee de L’Erotisme, and the porn shop where the guy worked in Amelie.

Then we went on a walking tour of Montmartre. Finally away from the tourist hordes, we were treated to hidden streets and wacky little stories.

Sunday evening we were sitting on the floor at Charles de Gaulle, where the British Airways staff had just told us we couldn’t check in yet.

“Isn’t it funny how the British Airways slogan is World’s Favourite Airline?” I grumbled.

“I know! Bastards. These advertising claims should be substantiated with lots of data from the Bureau of Statistics.”

“Exactly. It’s just like Caltex: We’ll share the driving with you, they say. But have they ever shared the driving with you? No. Not once. We’re out there on the highways all alone, fighting fatigue!”

An hour later BA told us there’s a “mechanical problem” and they are “flying an engineer over from London”. For a flight due to leave in an hour.

“Don’t you have engineers in Paris?” I asked.

“Oh no, not the special ones needed to fix your shitty little plane back to Edinburgh,” they assured me.

Another hour later the flight was cancelled. There was only about twenty of us, but we managed to make an appropriate amount of outraged shouting and thumping of fists on counters. Except me who couldn’t stop giggling like a madwoman, tired and delirious from sunburn, because it was just like that Airport show on TV.

That was when I noticed Afghan Hound Lady, of course her and the son were taking the same flight home. Her eyes were fat with panic as she clutched his arm and he clutched a green duffel bag. I almost felt sorry for her. But those glasses. They were freaking me out.

Yet another hour later we were on a plane to Bristol, where we were put up in a hotel and told BA would pay for our breakfast, and a taxi would pick us up at 5.30 AM and take us to the airport to finally go home. The next morning we check out, bleary eyed, and the receptionist made us all pay a room service fee, because our breakfasts had been delivered “outside of zee core breakfast hours”.

Outside in the cold, Afghan Hound Lady stood looking haunted while everyone else huffed and puffed and vowed to nasty write letters to BA, until we finally noticed that the taxi was half an hour late. We called the taxi company, and of course they had no idea about taxis booked for the BA Refugees.

After much frantic negotiations and another lovely Bristol taxi driver (Britain’s friendliest town, they say), we made it to the boarding bus with 30 seconds to spare. Then we spent an hour on the tarmac waiting for take off.

I was two hours late for my shitty new job, but I didn’t care. It just made the holiday a wee bit longer! Besides, I can say I’ve been to England now, for 6 whole hours. I’m going global, baby!

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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24 thoughts on “Pussycat à Paris

  1. that’s nothing, i was stranded at guatemala airport for 789 hours and all i had was three pesos, my underpants and a ball of string.

  2. Sluuuuut. I hate you. I think I drove through France, but I was in the back seat and finishing a bottle of something, or sleeping. I woke up in Amsterdamdamdam.

  3. I’ve got a good one. Our flight was delayed for “mechanical problems” in Munich, missed the connecting flight to Frankfurt, which didn’t matter anyway ’cause the Air Canada flights were cancelled ’cause they were on strike. Put aboard an Air India (never fly Air India) flight to Chicago, taken by bus to Toronto, bussed from Pearson International Airport to Toronto Island Airport then finally flown to Ottawa. Total travel time of about 42 hours for what should have taken 8 or 10 hours. 🙂

  4. Also jealous. Your trip to Paris was way more exotic than mine last Dec. Never went to the erotic museum! I guess the one-upmanship I can do on you is that we went to the 24 pig parts restaurant. Now I forgot what it was called…Anyway, all pig all the time.

    So now you’ll have to go back and out-tourist me. Also, I can beat you ’cause I not only farted in France I also barfed, etc. So hah!

  5. Canada. Fucking. 3000. Being stuck in a snowbound Montreal airport thanks to a mechanical fault that’s not serious enough to stop you flying from the UK to Canada but is serious enough to stop you flying the 50 minute hop from Montreal to Toronto… mmm. Joy.

    Glad you had a good time. No memorial?

  6. lukey – i forgot where it was! you should have made me write it down!

    miel – don’t be jealous… i only stood outside the erotic museum and looked longingly inside. we were down to our last 0,10 euro by that stage. but i DID take a photo of the Erotic Chair with the built-in tongues of pleasure!

  7. “The World’s Favourite Airline” started off as a statistic, but then one of ’em Saatchies reworded it (but I s’pose everyone knows that now, it’s been on the telly a lot recently). Perhaps it’s ‘favourite’ in the sense of ‘least disliked’?

  8. “It felt so unreal, like we’d run away from boarding school and would get busted by Matron at any moment.”

    Heeheehee! You and your Enid Blyton novels, Shaunygal!

    It all sounds superb. 🙂

  9. You found out where the porno shop from Amelie is? Ooooo, I wish I’d had a chance to stop by there! And Mitch is absolutely right. I’ve flown to India about 7 or 8 times in my life and every time, Air India was horrible. Good food (for us Indians) but just horrible service and overall satisfaction.
    On a side note, I’m assuming you didn’t get to fly first class where they have those nifty seats that recline all the way? 😉

  10. You ACTUALLY flew Air India! Good GOD! What were you thinking? That’s tatamount to Insanity!

  11. I will think about all of you the next time I want to bitch about ATA and trying to get from Chicago to Seattle within 48 hours.
    It just doesn’t seem as harrowing anymore.
    Thanks everyone!

  12. “like dying goldfish” I loved that. Your stories have tempted me to maybe start up a blog one day. Good stuff.

  13. There is this new trick in LaGuardia airport here in New York. Passengers are put into the plane on time, they are then driven out onto an area near the other planes and just left there screaming.
    This way nobody can hear them in the terminal, they do not clog the terminal and the gangway becomes available for more people that fit into more planes.

    So happy for Paris that he finally got to see you. ; )
    Old Paris, showoff… ; )
    So, did you get some good wine?

    Sorry for this highly chaotic comment… : )

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