The month of January really kicked off well. I had been staying in NYC cat sitting for nearly a week previous to the New Year and was excited about my first trip of the year, Paris, France. My year was starting off on the high octane that I was wanting.
I had a 51 hour layover in Paris and had all sorts of things on my list to do, tooling to the Eiffel Tower, checking out Pere LaChaise cemetery and even reached out on Twitter to a couple of Paris running groups for possibly meeting up.
I pulled in to Paris with a cold and rainy day, full of wind blowing sideways and cold temps. The running groups were awesome before I left the US, and wanted to meet up. The plan was to get in, sleep 5 hours, go run with the group before dark and then the next day go sight seeing. The weather threw a wrench in my plans so running was out on the arrival day. We agreed to try and meet up another time. I fully expected the next day to be raining, but looking out the hotel window next day was nothing but “alrighty then”, sunny skies and “Bon Jour Paris”….. I hit the hotel gym and with plans to be all over sight seeing like white on rice. The crew was fun, they would’ve been up for some of it too, but I was up at the crack of dawn and I was an eager to get rolling.
I got a map, directions to which trains I needed and headed out. There was a cafe I wanted to go to, as well as the ATM and Mono Prix (the French version of a US Target). Given the attacks that happened, the French aren’t messin’ around, and everyone got scanned getting into Mono Prix, myself included. They checked purses, bags and anything else looking suspicious. I’m cool with this, and hate the attacks happened. I first got my salad at the cafe, and gave the roll I didn’t touch (or take out of the bag) to the homeless guy sitting roadside on the way to Mont Parnasse metro station.
I never seem to be able to figure out the French metro machine, even in English. I needed a day pass, for 7 Euro on one train (the Green Nation), that would take me to Pere LaChaise and then I could hop off and get back on and tool down to the Eiffel tower. Out of nowhere, a girl speaking good English asked what my problem was, and I knew I’d probably be asked for money. My life is a trip, and there I was in Paris, trying to figure out a machine, and getting summoned by a local homeless girl on what and why I was fooling with the machine. She got my ticket in two seconds and the fare was 7 Euro. I gave her the 3 Euro change from the 10 I used. She was pissed and wanted more. I walked off wondering if I should have just said leave me alone. I don’t need the guilt trip for not paying more. I work my butt off, and used to work two jobs, so I kinda don’t want to hear it. I didn’t tell her, but she got the money I was going to use to buy my coffee at the shop near Pere LaChaise. Oh well, business is business.
My funniest experience with a homeless person was in New York City, back in 1992. I used to take the train to the city to use the Jack Lalane gym (an affiliate then to Bally in FL), near 5th avenue and 53rd from Union Turnpike in Queens, NY. The homeless guy there was a scream. I watched him one day while waiting for the E train. Locals would get off and say while giving money, “that’s all I got today man, have a good day”, and he was asking another woman how her son was doing while she waited on her train (obviously they’d chatted before). It was cheap therapy, “homeless style” from what I gathered. And, you got a friendly face on the other end of the coffee cup asking for money. He usually got people to laugh at something, too. The New Yorker’s loved it. I wanted to tell sweetie in Paris to go to training in NYC.
Pere LaChaise was a blast this visit. I had gone in 1992 or 1993 to see Jim Morrison’s grave. He had a following then, and it hadn’t changed. (See my social pages at Instagram or Twitter, bethadair13 for pictures or videos). When I got there this year, there was a sunny sky, cool temps and what had changed is you can take a picture of the map at the entrance of the cemetery with your phone, eliminating the need to buy a map. (Back in 1992, funds were so tight I didn’t buy the map and tooled around hoping to run into Jim, which I did). This year, the funniest thing that happened was on my way out of the walkway of Jim Morrison, towards Chopin’s grave site. There were three local French cemetery caretakers fixing a mausoleum. They were humming the tune “Light my Fire”. It was probably one of the Doors biggest hits and so appropriate to cap off my trip out of the cemetery. Just hysterical, I loved it!
In my domestic travels, I’d sometimes layover in Cleveland, Ohio. Once, I took a visit to the Hard Rock cafe in Ohio and noticed Jim Morrison’s Dad had written letters to a judge asking him to pardon him for some of the stuff he’d done. He’d been in trouble with the law. Doubt any Dad wants to see their son get hooked up with LSD or any other drug.
Next stop was to the Eiffel Tower. I got there and it was about to be dark. Two legs were shut down to visit and the lines were long, but will only be longer when the summer gets here. Security is tighter than ever. I opted out of a tool up the tower (I’ll do it later) and walked across the street to get coffee and sit on the wall to watch the boats. Dinner that night was a trip back across town and at the hotel. I ran into the crew on their way out to dinner. I was shutting it down, and headed to bed.
The next morning, I hit the hotel gym and worked back to the States. Another successful layover.