You must understand that I didn’t take Pierre the Cross-Eyed Janitor’s initial refusal to talk to me very seriously. He kept telling me, “Je ne parle anglais!” to which I would respond, “Oui, mais je parle francais un peu… s’il vous plait…” I was just trying to show him an address and ask him about two stations… frankly, my French is good enough for that.
Well, apparently, it wasn’t. I am pretty sure that Mr. Bauer didn’t teach us all the words that Pierre the Cross-Eyed Janitor used, but I got the gist of it. In what I can only assume was colorful French, Pierre the Cross-Eyed Janitor let me know 1) That my French sucks, and 2) He can’t read.
I finally decided to just guess. My first guess was a good one. I went down to the next station, got off, and followed the person in front of me. We walked out of the metro station into what could only be described as an industrial park. But look! There… it’s my hotel. The only thing standing between me and my hotel was a four-lane highway and a couple of walls. No big deal, right?
I went back into the metro station and bought another ticket for the metro… because you can’t get into the station without one and you can’t cross the highway without going through the metro station. I spent two euros to cross the freaking road. Oh, well… lesson learned. I have ridden that train several times this afternoon, and every time, I have gone out the right exit.
After meeting the EF staffers, I settled into my room and then went exploring. I went back to the metro station which is literally right across the street from my hotel. (The only way it could be any closer would be if it were in the lobby.) I took the RER back into central Paris, and then I took the metro several stops up. I got out, wandered around aimlessly for a while, and then decided to head back. It was no big deal, but I was proud of myself for not getting lost.
After a bit of a rest and a shower, I joined the EF staff for dinner. My group here consists of one group leader who is in management in the Boston office, a manager from the London office, three tour consultants from Boston, and another experienced group leader (more about him later). There are two other groups doing Paris O this weekend, and their staff joined us for dinner at a little restaurant in central Paris. My dinner was good, but the goat cheese salad was something I could have done without. It was an appetizer that I found not very appetizing. It was truly the less of the evils, though. The tour consultants on either side of me had frog legs and snails. If I could have sung “It’s Not Easy Being Green” by Kermit, I totally would have.
After dinner, most of the EF staffers went out for another couple of hours. I am feeling pretty wiped, so I came on back to the hotel. I have checked the email and written this… and now I am off for bed.
I’ll let you know about tomorrow!