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Impressions of Paris II

On June 21st we arrived to the city after a few days visiting the estate of Loire and all of its castles. Summer had officially begun, and La Fête de la Musique was happening, so I was set on the idea of experiencing that night as a true Parisian would.  I got online and did a little research on where to go. Everyone on our group was in the mood for Latin music, I guess their nostalgia was kicking, but not mine. After baring the disappointment of founding out that the free Lana del Rey concert was over, Natalia and I decided to go to club down in Bastille that would be open until 6am, around the time the metro would function again. We got set, and fleeted the hotel. I was wearing a black and white plaid midi-length dress with a cut-out back, a dark pine-green oversized blazer, red lips and my hair down, which gave its final touch to the outfit. I was overdressed as usual, but my hair was messy enough to balance my style. We went off to the metro station, which was pulsating with energy. The city was bustling with music, everyone seemed to be in a lighter mood, and anything felt possible as if the night was reassuring us that no matter what, it was going to be the best night of our trip. And it was, though I can’t deny we encountered our share of odd characters.

 As soon as we got out of our stop, in Bastille, we realized we hadn’t taken any note on where the club was. Needless to say it’s hard enough finding an address in Paris, we hadn’t the slightest idea as where to go. We had been there before with a friend of mine that lived in the city. She had invited us to a pub a few nights ago. That night we had just wondered by the streets, paying more attention to the novelty of it all, and the constant awareness and inner joy of being in Paris, rather than to any actual directions whatsoever. So at the time being, we would just have to roll with it, so we decided to go wherever the music was loud enough to draw us in. We stumbled into a band that was playing right on the lane, with a precarious set up a drummer with mysterious eyes, and a lead singer with the face of an angel. We entered the crowd around them and started dancing and fake-singing the hymn that had everyone so excited. It all ended suddenly, and my secret imaginary plans to get with them faded rapidly, so we were off again. Up that same street nothing seemed to be interesting enough, perhaps because it was already 11pm and Paris has a reputation of going to sleep early, or maybe we were just in the wrong place. As we kept going, we took a random turn, and we ended up in a corner between what appeared to be a Mexican/Puerto Rican

/Spanish/Venezuelan/French bar and a small crowded pub where a band was playing. We stayed at the pub, hoping to get some drinks, but there were too many people gathered around the bar. We noticed two guys standing next to us, trying to get our attention. They could’ve been the creepiest guys, for they were just staring at us, but they were oh-so-dreamy we didn’t mind. The one right next to me was so so tall, at least 1, 95 meters (6’3 or so). He had long-ish dark blond hair, he was not too skinny but not too big, wearing a washed out pink t-shirt and a denim jacket. He stared at me, and as soon as I glanced at him he would smile and talk to his friend. The other guy was shorter, though still tall, with blue eyes, thick black eyebrows, short messy hair and a scruffy beard. He had this bad boy look to him, like you could know all his torments would become yours as he seduced you. They kept looking at us, but not saying a word, so Natalia and I looked at each other and decided that if it was meant to be, that could be the new turn our night would take. She asked to go to the Latin bar to get something to drink first, and as we went away, both guys turned around and as we passed them by. The shorter one whispered something in French in Natalia’s ear. -Ça va?- He said, and perhaps some other cheesy line she didn’t understand.
We entered this neon green painted lieu, a
nd some old reggeton was playing. We order a tall jar of rum and coke and a somewhat shocked waitress tried to persuade us of having something else. We were stubborn in our choice, and drank the whole thing in what seemed a second. It had obviously been too long, and as we got back to the pub, our male suitors were nowhere to be found, not that we looked too much for them. We enjoyed the band until the whole it ended and decided to continue our quest to find a cool place to end out night; it was roughly 1 in the morning.

After walking for a while we bumped into two other guys, but it was the complete opposite of our former encounter. They were two short muscly Asian men who seemed very wary with their Ed Hardy t-shirts and silver chains (more Jersey Shore than Parisian chic). They asked persistently where we were going, and invited us to go to a big club with them. I was bluntly ignoring them, but they were persistent, and since I didn’t want to end up my night going into slavery trade, I took Natalia by the hand and we started running aimlessly until we bumped across another bar. The place was bursting with happy people, all singing and dancing to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. We entered the crowd and danced along for a while.
Out of nowhere came a girl and started talking to me in rushed French, and all I could gather was that I had the same print on my dress as her friend had on his shirt, so she wanted to take a picture of us together. I agreed, happy with the fact that apparently she hadn’t mistaken me for a tourist by directly talking to me like a native. The guy on the plaid shirt was almost passed out drunk, but he got around putting his arm around me as the girl took the picture. For no particular reason, he thought necessary to kiss my cheek, which I found awkward but cute, and subsequently he stuck out his tongue and licked my face like a dog. I saw the disgusted face of all of his friends, and my reaction was only to try and move away from him hopelessly, until the girl taking the picture accurately gave him a slap in the face and apologized. They quickly went away as I think by that time they were all too drunk, and Natalia and I did the same, is had been enough for one night.
We had heard that the metro was still open for that night, so we started looking for a station near us. Somehow we managed to get back to the same place we started our night at, but the metro was closed. As we searched for a taxi stop, a guy started talking to me, saying how he liked my big round dark-purple glasses. He seemed interesting and sweet, so we kept the conversation going. He told me he was studying History and that his parents were from Haiti. I didn’t catch his name, but he was kind enough to invite us to Mc Donald’s with his friends. Natalia was already too tired so we passed, and as we were going to the taxi stop, we encountered the horrid image of a guy in a pool of his own blood being aided by two paramedics as he tried incessantly and foolishly to stand up. It looked like he had been hit on the head against the bench next to him and wasn’t aware of the gravity of the situation. Some people kept passing by as others gathered around the scene. I couldn’t even speak; I was sobered up immediately by the scene, almost to the point of throwing up, so we kept walking in silence. Only a few meters went by until we came across some other men fighting over a girl in front of a restaurant, the police was trying to break them apart, and I knew the party was over.

After a while waiting for a taxi, the guy we’d met just before found us again, he was with a blond girl who seemed interested in our conversation but who’d never talk. He gave us a brown bag with fries and cokes, saying he had seen us waiting there for a long time and figured we would be hungry. We were, and though Natalia wan't into the idea of taking fries from a stranger, I went for it. He asked us where we lived to see if we could share a ride home. At that point we parted ways, because he lived in the opposite direction, and also because at that point perhaps we were pushing our good luck too far. More than two hours had gone without even the sight of a bus or anything that could take us home. We thought of walking, but the night seemed too dark to start wondering around the city, not even knowing which direction to go. A police van parked behind us, and we could see how the two officers were talking about us, pointing as they giggled. The one on the wheel rolled down his window and asked me if we needed anything. I tried to explain, but he had a blank face once he inferred we weren’t from around. The guy rolled up his window and said nothing else. We were starting to get set on the idea of keeping each other warm until the metro started running again, since it was almost dawn. Fewer people were left on the streets, and everyone behind us in line for a taxi had already gone. There were just us and a group of guys standing a few meters from us on the same lane. All of the sudden, a taxi came by, it stopped closer to the guys in front of us, and we could just manage to wave our arms trying to get the driver’s attention. A woman came out, and unbelievably the guy drove up to where we were standing. We felt pure joy, but as I opened the door of the taxi, a guy got in before me, and behind him the others tried the same. I’m never the kind of person to start a fight or anything like it, but I didn’t feel like letting them take away our only chance to go home before the sun came up. It was too cold and we were too tired to give in at that point. Every insult I knew in English, French and Spanish came out of my mouth as a cascade of frustration and anger, half of them were already inside the cab, but I never let go of the door. They were also yelling at me, saying there were there first and whatnot (which was obviously not true), so I looked up to the police officer to help us. He just shrugged with a weird smirk on his face. I felt to the point of tears, how could that happen? Natalia told me the next day that I looked like I wanted to punch one of those guys in the face at that moment, but I just remember I kept telling them to get out and let us in. The policeman stepped out of the van and looked at me, he made me let go of the door, took a long look at the guys, and finally said “Elles étaient ici avant” (“They were here first”). They got out and we got in, not caring anymore for their empty insults. We were going home.

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