Hi all –
I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile actually… So I am sure many of you know that here in Paris, most people either walk or take the Metro – Paris’ inter-city subway/train system. It’s just more practical. Paris, IMHO, is not that big of a city. You could pretty much walk from one area to another. I can’t really tell you which side is the furthest 🙂 But I think the longest I walked from the 7th Arrondissement to 3rd Arrondissement, it was about 3.5 miles. You could walk pretty much everywhere. I try to take advantage on that because 1. It’s good coz hopefully it means I could drink more champagne and eat more food here. 2. There are so many great views. 3. I don’t walk – like at all in the US, so I figured I should do something different here 🙂 My longest walk in one day was 11 something miles. Isn’t that crazy?!! In the US, I would have had to sign up for a marathon to be on my feet for that long!!
Anyhow – another way that people here get from one place to another is by the Metro, which is what I want to talk about here. Paris’ Metro system is really good and organized, you could practically get to anywhere in Paris taking the Metro. There are just two issues about the Metro though….
- The “close proximity” with so many people in one tiny space. This one – I don’t think is specific to Paris’ Metro. London’s Tube has the same issues. New York’s Subway as well. So this one…. there’s not much you could do. If you’re taking public transportation of any kind, this is bound to happen. Same thing if you’re taking the bus in Indonesia. Yikes! The thing is though – it is so crazy in there sometimes that you’d be in position where you’re so close with someone you almost want to look at him and say “Oh OK – you haven’t even bought me any drinks yet!” You’re literally back to back. And sometimes it’s so damn packed you don’t even know where to put your hands to keep you steady (coz if you’re on one of those crowded Metro, you’ll most likely be standing up the whole time). Sometimes I don’t know if I should put my hand on the rail that’s closest to me, but already have like 5 other hands on them and there’s no more space for my tiny hand?! Do I try to reach out to a rail that’s a bit further than me but risking poking someone eyes, or worse, have my hand lands on something or someone I don’t want?! Or … do I just hang on to the person next to me, which is always an option but most likely not a very good one if you don’t know who they are 🙂 Of course it’s also the other way around – some people sometimes would just reach out to the rail closest to you, and when you’re short like me (and I have been wearing flats here in Paris) – sometimes I’ll end up in a position where I’m underneath their armpits! It’s gross!! When that usually happen, I usually slowly let my hand go off the rail, and move myself a bit so that I am no longer in the same position – though other people sometimes get pissed coz I am basically taking up space that’s not there to begin with. In addition – there’s also the part where you have to get off the train. When the train is packed, is not that easy. But one of the great things about Parisians, in this instance, is that they’re so damn rude just in general – there’s no need to apologize when you basically just bump people out of your way so you could get off the train. And people seem to be OK with it too. I think they all just understand … It is what it is on the Metro.
- The Body Odors – for me, this one is the more serious issue. There are two different body odors I am talking about here. It’s not just the regular BO we all know about. But it’s also the excessive use of perfumes and colognes here in Paris. I am not sure if this is a French thing… or just a Parisian thing. One of my French friends did warn me that French people loooooove colognes and perfumes. But oh man, do they really! I guess when you’re just walking down the street it’s fine coz at most you only have to smell it for a few seconds. But when you’re in the a very packed Metro … the different colognes and perfumes… they give me a fucking headache. Then of course there are those with the usual “BO” we all know. And no – some of them don’t need a cologne or a perfume either! So – I learned just to hold my breath when I find myself in that situation. Thank God for that triathlon training I did coz we were taught to manage our breathing for the swimming part 🙂
Those are my thoughts on Metro… I so do think they’re so convenient and efficient. I bought one of those monthly card which require me to have a picture on the card… so official. Though my picture on that card looks quite sad. So I don’t usually show it to people! I like taking the Metro though right now, I’m trying to walk to where ever I need to go unless it’s quite far or I’m pressed on times, otherwise, I just walk.
So glad I’m about to get these thoughts off my head 🙂
Till next time!