An Evening in Paris (3/3): Paris ‘Night Life’

As I had mentioned in the prologue, we did not have any hostel/hotel reservations for our night in Paris. So, after the photography extravaganza, the (literally) cold reality struck in the form of a 2°C wind in our faces. We patted our own backs at having displayed the smartness of finding out in advance the time of the last metro to Gare De L’Est, the Railway Station. The masterplan was to enter the waiting room flashing our mighty Eurail passes and spending the night in the benches, purportedly waiting for a train.

0000 hrs
So we took the said metro and landed in the station, only to be welcomed by a deserted platform, marked by a sole sweeper. Of course he spoke no English. Of course we had to resort to much animated Dumb Charades to communicate. Of course French waiting rooms Cholbe-Na at night. And of course people weren’t allowed to wait elsewhere in the station. “So how do people wait for morning trains at night in France?”, we blurted. But for all the answer we got from the gentleman, we might as well have asked his broom.
0030 hrs
I had been partying the last night through and desperately-drowsy-me had little regard for the laws of the land at the time and in the circumstances. “Nothing else works here. So why should the law?”, I reasoned. So I found us a nice and stealthy corner in the station premises, behind the statue of a guy relieving himself and I had dozed off before the protests of my unwilling accomplices reached my ears. It was the perfect crime. At least for the moment.
0100 hrs
Long story short, apparently the only working part of the French societal fiber is the policemen looking for people dozing behind statues of peeing men in the station. And as we were quite disgracefully escorted out in the cold to be with our other homeless compatriots, I sent up a silent prayer of gratitude to God. I thanked Him for giving me the good sense to not have told my mother about not having booked a room for the night, if not sense enough to book one. (Or sense enough to not blog about it and send her the link.)
We next sought shelter in the nearest fast food joint where Raj kindly ordered a Coke and we dozed off with our heads bent on the table to exercise our rights as theoretical customers to the fullest. But the restaurant, we knew, was open only till 2 am. Needless to say, we were fast running out of options.
0200 hrs
The dreaded unavoidablecame with a welcome unexpected. Guessing our true motive for ordering one measly Coke for three people was not exactly the stuff mystery novels are made of. Very luckily for us, one philanthrope I can never thank enough saw the obvious. He whispered to us about a certain bus route that runs round the city throughout the night.
Armed with our 48 hour Paris public transport passes, we were on the bus within minutes. And I was asleep within moments.

0315 hrs
My next memory is Lakshmi prodding me awake. It seemed life on the bus had come a full circle. As we got down from the bus to find ourselves in front of the same restaurant, the hands of my watch were the only indicators to me that any time had elapsed at all. While I was still coming to terms with the depths of my slumber, Raj was already walking purposefully ahead. With no better idea in my head and no strength for a discussion, I silently followed. And for good measure, as I saw him boarding another bus for the same route standing, voila, quite adjacent to the last one! Eager for more sleep, I happily boarded the bus. This time though, immediate stupor was not in my fate. I found myself seated next to not a very pleasant smelling lady. Hell, I thought I was in the Fashion Capital of the world. The least you would expect is deodorant. By the end of the 20th minute, I realized that olfactory adaptation was not an option here. So, at the risk of seeming rude, I moved to another seat. Here though, I found myself sitting right across one of those I-will-stare-at-you-like-you-are-a-talking-frog guy (and I hadn’t even opened my mouth yet!). Nonetheless, snooze mode thankfully took over soon and the next memory was again being prodded awake.
0430 hrs
As the metro doesn’t start until 5am, the same story had to follow. My memories from the last bus brought up interesting observations though. Stinking lady and staring guy were on this bus as well. Apparently we weren’t the only smart homelesses-with-passes in town!
0545 hrs
Exit bus no 3, enter metro no 1, which goes on a return journey after reaching its last stop. There would thankfully be no need for a prodding here. Enter dreamless, thoughtless, brainless snooze mode.
0800 hrs
The Louvre is one of the most outstanding places I have ever been to. And to bridge the gap between desirable and irresistible, it has a free entry on the first Sunday of every month, which was another masterplan we were very pleased with ourselves about. The gates open at 9, but the queuing begins early on. It would indeed be a pity if we missed out on a premium queue positioning for the sake of a slumber party in the dilapidated metro of Paris. And thus ends the great tale of the nocturnal adventures of the stingy Indians as they emerge—tired, totally unrelaxed, bleary-eyed—with cricks in their necks yet victory in their hearts, for they were Indians who had managed to save a buck. And that makes the juice worth the squeeze.
At least till Mommy dearest hears about it…

4 thoughts on “An Evening in Paris (3/3): Paris ‘Night Life’

Add yours

  1. You have a great flair for the narrative ma’am. This Paris adventure is a nice read- really descriptive and humourous. PS: This 6-1 theory must have been culturally ingrained in us overeating free food and many many like these which make us so culturally Hindustani


  2. I thought u were there for studies. What’s up with these Euro-tripping? Nonetheless I am not complaining.Don’t need no blog posts about PPT sessions and market analysis.


  3. Yeah well.. To show off my vocab, studies is the purported reason, Euro-Tripping is the clandestine one! ;)And don’t you worry, me-the-narcissist only blogs about stuff me is good at. 😛


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