Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh To Be In Paris (Part I)

I'm not sure if this will be the first in a series or just a one-shot dedicated to comments I HAVE to make about Paris and France. So far, here's what I can think of:
  • Coffee machines, similar to soda machines, can be seen all over the place especially on the metro. These things make brewed-on-the-spot little cups of a very wide variety of coffees. I've seen similar ones in North America before but not ones that have such variety (i.e. long Italian names, sounds hard to make and elaborate descriptions) and are so abundant and actually not expensive
  • One has to actually do work to enter or leave the metro trains because the train doors don't automatically open like the ones in the Toronto, Montréal or New York. Plus, each train seems to have a different system to open the door. For example, for one train, you have to press a button while for another you have to pull up a lever. These mechanisms are located on both sides of the door. Both the commuter waiting on the platform and the ones in the train need not both do work but one of them have to do something for the door to open. The beauty of this sytem is that all the doors on the trains don't all open at every stop. A particuliar door on a train doesn't open unless someone wants to enter or leave from that door.
  • The metro stations where one can transfer to another train have the longest walking distance between connectiong trains that I have ever seen. In fact, today I got off one train to transfer to another train and the walk was so long that although they had one of those moving walks (like the ones at big airports) it still took me almost 10 minutes to get to my other train, and this wasn't rush hour AND I was walking fairly fast.
  • This morning, I had a stranger ask me to allow her to follow directly behind me to get into the train station. So we both squeezed through the turnstile together. Then from there I went to take a train headed for a different zone where one would either need to buy another ticket or have a metro pass valid for the zone like I did....only to find said lady at the turnstile pretending to search for her nonexistent ticket. Her face lit up when she saw me and she asked again to have us both squeeze into the turnstile. So I got another reason for the conductors doing random ticket checks.
  • When people go to restaurants and cafés here, they can literally stay at their table chatting for over an hour, after finishing their meal, without the waiter even glancing their way to rush them out of the restaurant like they tend to do in North America. This is even if all that was bought was a glass of orange juice.
  • Above mentioned orange juice can easily cost 3,50 Euros BEFORE taxes and this being from a very small bottle.
  • The buildings ARE as beautiful as they look in movies and on TV. Even ordinary stores are in, what to me look like, magnificent buildings.
My uncle told me that my metro pass will allow me to go to Versailles! A place oft mentioned in my European History 'A' Level classes. Uber-cool!

1 comment:

Case No. 3KY687p said...

Tania, it's funny--I have the opposite experience with waiters rushing customers at a café. In France (in Aix, at least), the waiters were very impatient, but in the U.S., you go to a café, plug in your laptop or pull out a book, and you can sit there for hours. All day if you like. Sans problème.