We know quite a few people who have been to Paris. And 4 out of 5 of them, had bad experiences. Some of them got ignored, yelled at, even robbed in broad daylight, and so on and so on. This actually boggle both of us at Le Sac Perdu HQ because from all the times we’d been to Paris, everything was wonderful. And our last trip was no exception.
So we arrived in Paris from Budapest with 2 gigantic luggages and 2 handbags and 2 doughnut pillows hanging from the handbags (what a sight, eh?). At that point in our journey, for some reason our weight had increased to about 25 kilograms for each person. From CDG we took the RER Train B to Gare du Nord, the closest station to our hotel near Jardin du Luxembourg that had accessibility. When we got to the station and had to go up and find the exit, we took a few escalators so it wasn’t so bad. But the last escalator, although the shortest one, thank God, apparently was out of service.
Now normally this would be no problem for both of us. We had our fair shares of traveling with big suitcases when we were in college. And we’re actually quite strong! But this time was different. My foot was injured, which had made me (Primarita here) limp in pain for a few weeks. Standing firmly on both feet was impossible, who knew how I had survived a week of walking around Prague and Budapest. And to top that, my travel partner (Maharani) tripped on a Budapest tram track and sprained her right arm. Bottom line, we were idiots.
At the sight of the broken escalator, we had déjà vu, a bad one. We had predicted this would happen at some point in our journey, especially at a train station. And for some reason that I still don’t know, at that moment my, and apparently Rani’s too, immediate thought was to actually pull ourselves onto that frickin escalator and try to climb it, instead of, I don’t know, be calm and look for a working elevator maybe?
As you could imagine, once we got on to the escalator, and this was during rush hour so foot traffic was crazy, I went ahead of Rani who was also struggling with her suitcase behind me. And with my shaky legs I only managed to pull my suitcase up two steps. After that it was completely anchored. It was a rock. It was Excalibur and I was a random peasant. My luggage was Mjolnir and I was Loki. You get the idea.
But a few milliseconds later that seemed like forever I could feel the weight of my suitcase was lifted and a strong push was moving me up and forward. Once I got to the top of the escalator I turned around and saw the man who wisely decided that no lady deserved to lug her suitcase on her own anywhere, let alone climbing a broken escalator. With the most grateful and sincere look I had ever had I gave him like a thousand merci beaucoup and he just de rien-ed me lightly and went on.
The next day thankfully wasn’t as dramatic. Our injuries didn’t dampen our spirits to walk along La Seine, roam Quartier Latin, climb up to Montmartre, selfie-ing in front of Louvre, and take refuge under La Tour Eiffel. We ate along the way and everyone serving us was polite. The little Asian lady at La Galette des Moulins bakery, the Arabic owner/waiter at SaintSev restaurant, the Italian chick who tended Galerie Kamel Mennour, and the Latino guy who owned a souvenir shop who greeted me with a bonjour and Rani with an hola (happened twice).
So both of us came home with wonderful memories of Paris. We didn’t dwell on the fact that the only full day we got to spend in Paris was the very same day that Charlie Hebdo tragedy happened. A terrorist attack surely is much much worse than all the experiences our friends had in Paris combined. But the city has been nothing but wonderful, welcoming, and warm to us so we’d like to remember it that way.