Je’taime Paris

It was a marvellous day! We came out of Disney land at 18:40 exact. We somehow made it to the bus in the parking lot. With  all the management fiasco over first 3 days of my package tour, this was the best day so far! We managed to experience 7 rides and cover many other stuff in Disney land.

It was time to visit the Marvellous Eiffel tower. On record its the most visited paid monument in the world. I will not go into the technicality of the construction or the history but you will need to see the tower in person to experience how majestic the tower is. No picture or video will ever do any justice to this monument. We reached the tower sometime around 8. It was summer and hence we still had day light in abundance. Vikram( our so called organiser) collected the tickets which he had booked on-line and distributed among the group. It was decided that we had to come down the tower by 22:00 SHARP and a boat cruise was scheduled at 22:30. We ascended the tower and it was a magnificent sight! We were able to see each corner of Paris form up above and what more we were at the second level of the tower and there was still long way to ascend. We reached the summit and that was a sight i can never forget! I was in most senses like how i imagined. I don’t know why this is supposed to be one of the most romantic place on earth but it sure was wonder-full view. The scene from ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ came to my mind when i saw many many couples exchanging french kiss , or since i am in France let me just call that a kiss 😀

Well , It was raining hard and the summit was too crowded by pairs and damn windy. It was time for us to come down to earth again. I saw organiser Vikram  a bit ahead of us in the queue to get down. We came down by 21:58 , We had made it early!! We came 2 mins earlier to the stipulated time. One of the couple from our bus joined us and we went towards the parking space. To our surprise the bus was missing! The couple tried to call Vikram but he wasn’t reachable. The couple very much frustrated with Vikram with previous nights incident concluded that the group has left and they decided to go back to their hotel. Me and Sunil(my flatmate) were not convinced that the group could leave us when in fact we had come early. We again checked if we had got the time wrong. France is in a time zone which is one hour ahead of UK and with our clocks still set on UK time, it was easily possible for us to be confused. That wasn’t the case and we indeed had made it on time. We had no reason to believe that our group would leave us stranded at Eiffel tower for being 2 mins early. Naturally we thought that the bus would be parked some other place. But how were we supposed to know that new spot! We assumed that one of our organiser would be below Eiffel tower directing  other people to bus. That wasn’t the case, We looked around the 4 legs of the tower till 22:45 and nobody was to be seen. We had organiser Vikram’s number and so thought we should call him. We has some euros and we went to a telephone booth and it took us a couple of mins to see that there is no place to insert coins. When we approached a nearby guard seeking help, We had a revelation that there are no coin telebooth in France or at least in Paris unlike India or the UK. We caught hold of a lady who was using the telebooth. Lucky for us that the lady was from US and not France ans so we got a quick knowledge transfer on the telebooth. We did a quick call only to be directed to voicemail and that too was full and we were not able to leave a message.

We had spent close to 45 mins seeing around and we were half convinced that we are left behind. Some part of me was still not able to believe it! Who is sane frame of mind would leave behind two people of the group in a alien city with some strange language(yeah..french wasn’t romantic anymore) and with the reputation of being the most rude people on earth(well.. read on and you will know). We had our luggage in the bus and most importantly our passport were in the bus. We couldn’t get out of the country even if we were to go on our own. We had spent an hour previous day on how we need to keep our passport with us all the time in France and how cops drag you without asking any question/justification.

It was close to one hour since we were stranded. We had checked out the hotel and we didn’t know anything bout the new hotel, Vikram had kept that a secret. Vikram wasnt traceable and both our mobiles were not on roaming and so were as good as dead. All we could do was to go to the hotel where we stayed the previous night as Vikram was supposed to stay there.  It was 23:00 and so we expected that our group Will be enjoying their boat ride. We had pit stop in front of the Eiffel tower where Vikram got down to enquire about the boat ride timings, So we decided to hunt our group while they are on cruise. We went to the spot where bus was stopped the previous night and started a 360degree hunt for the group on cruise or the bus in parking. As per our knowledge all the cruises were along the small patch of river and so it was easily possible for us to catch up with them. Well… at least that’s what we thought at that time.

[Time 23:45]
We had again spent 45 mins along the banks on the river and around eiffel tower. The Eiffel tower was flashing in background and I had already got bored of that sight. There was some huge concert going on and some guy started singing “Hallelujah, Hallelujah” song by Rufus Wainwright(Yeah! the song in Shrek). Suddenly, It was such a soothing moment, I listened to the song walking along the river bank with the marvellous flashing Eiffel tower around me and it was close to midnight. I wasn’t angry anymore and I enjoyed the moment. I have always loved this song but this song at this moment was made me feel calm and absofabulous. After this for rest of night, I somehow didn’t lose my cool, We still had our hope that we could catch Vikram at our hotel. the hope which would soon shatter. Sunil was getting into a bit of panic mode and i somehow for no reason was enjoying the song.

It was past midnight and so was time for our PLAN B, To get a cab to hotel Formulae one. The place which we had checked out in the morning as it was not qualified to be called a hotel. It was less fancy than a dormitory with 2 separate dirty single beds(consider all the couples in our group) and more surprisingly was that it had no private facilities. The common toilets were at a corner in each floor. And the view from the window was of a huge cemetery!  Vikram however had decided to stay there. Well..As for our plan B, WE assumed that Paris is a navigationally developed city and the cab driver would enter the hotel name in his Satellite navigation device and we will reach the hotel. Well, Could we be any more wrong? With the ray of last hope, we joined the queue of people waiting for taxi. WE had a lady first in the Q , next to her was a lady and gentleman and we were standing after them. In a span of 5 mins, the Q grew close to 20 ppl. A taxi came and before the lady could get any close to that, A couple came from nowhere and the man boarded the taxi. All 20 ppl in the queue shouted in a loud voice to get them into Q. The Man ignored the pleading and boarded the car and the lady too didn’t seem to heed any voice from the Q. Before the rude lady could board the car, the first lady in the Q pulled her away from the Car! I smelled a Cat fight! The rude lady wouldn’t give up without a fight and she pushed away the Q lady and made her way into the car. The entire crowd in the Q booed the couple in the car. The Q lady wouldn’t let them go away either!! She opened the front door and explained the situation, and the driver asked the couple to get down the car. The Q lady turned to the crowd with the winning grin on her face and the whole crowd cheered for her asif she has won some olympic gold medal. The guy in the CAR finally said something to the Driver and the driver took off with them. We assumed that he agreed to to pay more. That was an anti-climax.

We finally got a cab and we felt that we would call it a day and things were about to go crazy! The driver didn’t understand English and we had to let the cab go. The next driver understood a bit of English and told us that with just the hotel name, he can’t take us there. He needed an address to drop us! That’s when we realised that the night aint ending here.. It was like we stood in front of bangalore airport and ask a taxi to go to ‘hotel Durgaprasad’, Nobody would know all the hotel in the town if not for a few branded hotels. We decided to give Vikram a call again and again were directed to the voice mail. We saw some cops standing by and approached them, Made them understand our situation and asked them if there was any way of knowin address of the hotel with just its name. They were blank and with bits of english told us that they cant help. We again called up Vikram and again got directed to voice mail. We were blank!! We had no idea whatsoever on what to do!

We had nowhere to go, nobody to call, nothing to do and no idea on what we could do next. We never had a PLAN C. We again spotted some cop and with nothing else to do asked him if he knew English. He had a pretty good English and suggested us that we go to some nearby hotel and ask there for the address of our hotel formula one. We roamed around looking for some hotel. That moment we spotted ‘HILTON’. One of the best hotel in Paris and with a view of Eiffel tower was one of the most expensive too. We expected no help here and would be very happy just if we were allowed inside. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We had nothing to lose and so went inside. The receptionist greeted us with a huge smile and made a sad face when we explained him our situation. Seeing the comp on his desk, I asked him if we could look up for the address of Hotel formula one Paris on Google. The guy was more than helpful. He was able to spot 3 hotels with the name Formula 1 in Paris, We told him that it was around 10 mins from Eiffel tower from what we knew. That didn’t help, He gave us a print of the address of all the 3 hotels and a Google map print out of the directions to all the 3 hotels. The confused look on our faces disturbed him I guess. He again looked up and called up all the 3 hotels asking if any of them had a bulk booking of 20 rooms in name of Vikram. No luck! We told him that some other booking agent other than Vikram had booked the hotel. He again called up all the 3 hotels and asked if there was a bulk booking with any name for a bunch of Indian people arriving from London. No luck! He told that none of the 3 hotels were what we were looking for. We couldn’t ask anything more from him. We got a map from him and looked for ourselves. He rounded off all the 3 hotels on the map for us and wished us best of luck. My eye somehow spotted a word ‘montrouge’ next to our hotel. I asked him if this meant grave yard in French. He affirmation brought a wide smile on our face. We remembered that we had a huge cemetery next to our hotel. That was it!! We had finally found our hotel!! We asked if we could use his phone to try and call Vikram. He told that he had helped us as much as he could. The guy wasn’t too positive as he had called up that hotel too but he told that he wish that we were right. With a happy look on our face we went out of the front door and as we were walking, the guy again came out and asked whom did we intend to call. When we told that it was our organiser, He told that we could use his phone if that could help us in anyway. We tried calling and again it was directed to voice mail. With the address and maps and directions to all the 3 hotels, we walkd out agian with a happy face. I promised that day to myself that I will respect Paris Hilton from now on 😀

We were happy that we have found the hotel. We spotted a bar close by Hilton and stopped for a Drink. Sunil got his usual beer and I got Vodka, It was the best Vodka i have ever had i think. We carried on roaming for few mins and finally arrived at the same taxi stand only that we had address with us this time. We got into taxi and gave address and the driver dropped us to our Hotel Formula one! We made it. The Hotel was empty and Vikram still hadn’t come to the hotel so far. We roamed around for sometime.

While we were walking, Sunil spotted a bus which looked like our bus. I blurted out that every bus looks like ours tonight. It indeed was our bus and we waved. People in the bus to recognised us. the bus stopped at the red signal and while we were crossing the road, It ripped off again. Me and Sunil were shell shocked!! We had no clue on why the bus didn’t stop to pick us up. We had caught them by sheer accident and they were on their way to hotel , then why didn’t they pick us up!! We thought they will come back to us but they didn’t. We had no option but to go to the old hotel and wait for Vikram over there. Me and Sunil again waited for some 20 mins and set for a small walk.

We decided to walk for few mins in the route the bus went. I was getting a gut feeling by spotting a set of flashing parking lights. I was somehow convinced that it ws our bus. WE walked some 10 mins and that indeed was our bus!! We spotted Vikram over their and me and Sunil had almost lost our temper and wanted really badly to slap him. I still don’t remember what stopped me from slapping or yelling at him. It was close to 02:00 and the driver came quickly and apologized for not stopping the bus. He told that it skipped off his mind. Pradeep the junior organiser jumped in and told that they tried to look for us and couldn’t and couldn’t keep others waiting. He told that we will have a talk the next day. We were too exhausted to fight. I was relieved to find the hotel and come together with rest of of ppl.

After the dinner was sorted out. We group of 7 boys again went out of hotel just for a drink. We roamed around the streets of Paris looking for a bar or pub. Our quest ended after some 15 min walk and we all managed to grab a drink in a bar which was almost closed. WE came back at around 03:40 and called it a day.

Even with all the panicking or tension, It was nice feeling all day. It was the most eventful day of the trip. Starting well with loads of fun in Disney land and then excitement at Eiffel tower and tension after being lost and the relief after being found for first time and anger after getting left out again and finally happy with a drink and walk with friends to end the day.  Je’taime Paris

5 Responses to “Je’taime Paris”

  1. Kulkarni Says:

    Horrible experience Good narration and enjoyed reading it. Keep them coming. It looks like movie story.

  2. Dude, i am angry with you .. you SHOULD HAVE slapped Vikram .. the story would have been more spicy then 🙂

  3. You have a great attention to detail, I must say.. This sounds like a horror story out of dreams!

  4. hey, very nice narration…sounded like some adventure story…we had been to paris on our own and I must say I am surprised you had such experience!

  5. vinisha Says:

    Thats really a fine narration to a very good bitter-sweet time! 🙂

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