Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Paris! Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves --and the European sex ring

paris pictures

Paris! *Sighs wistfully*

I’m not boy crazy, I’m American. I’ve been raised by American cinema constantly telling me that if I travel abroad, I’ll fall into the arms of a prince, an eccentric artist, or an Italian pop-star. I blame Disney, really--and the Olsen Twins.

Our group mostly consisted of Aussies who didn’t understand this sensibility, but fortunately there were two other American girls on our tour just as moon-eyed over Paris as I was.

My first night in Paris was perhaps the most terrifying and yet the most magical night of the trip. How could a night than began with almost getting traded into a sex ring end with champagne and romantic kisses on the Champs Elysees!?!

We arrived at our hotel and to my disappointed we weren’t situated on the romantic streets of Paris overlooking the Eiffel; we were in de hood, du ghetto, du projects de Paris! To give you an idea of how rough it was, our Hotel needed a bouncer to stand outside to keep the gypsies, tramps, and thieves from drifting into our lobby.

Literally ten minutes after we got off  of the coach, gypsies accosted us, and my friend was almost robbed in front of me. No lie, I caught a random guy with his hand in her purse and shoed him off.

Crossing the street to our restaurant was like playing football. We had to clutch our wallets, fake left of African peddlers, and pull a Heisman move on gypsies simultaneously. It was exhausting, but, at least the restaurant didn’t disappointed. Snails, baguettes, red wine and beef were our French faire for the night and it was delicious!

While the rest of our tour went to bed early, claiming exhaustion, we American’s weren’t letting a minute in Paris go to waste. We promptly decided it was time to check out of the ghetto and check in to the Parisian night scene, getting “sick and sexy-fied” for the discotheque.

The receptionist informed us, in French, that the best place to go was a club on the Champs Elysees called “Queen”. Why we didn’t realize it was a gay club from the name, I cannot explain.

We thanked him and we set off into the night, foolishly thinking that that 3 American girls could safely prance around the ghetto in Paris and ride the metro after midnight.

Bad choice. If the streets were dangerous in the daytime, they were downright nefarious at night. We caught the attention of every scoundrel lurking in the shadows, and when we got to the metro we wished we hadn’t. It was dark and vacant, and it looked like the perfect place for a mugging/rape. Increasingly worried for our safety in de hood, we decided to book it back to our hotel and scratch our plans entirely.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get far. Two steps out of the metro and we were accosted by a group of Somalian pirates out for our booty and herded into an ally. We were completely surrounded; I was spinning around frantically to find only leering faces speaking harsh French rapidly. We realized this was not just how the Parisian men tell a girl she’s pretty and started trying to force our way out of the narrowing rape circle.

Near a street light, I spotted two guys watching calmly as this happened and tried to plead with them, using the international language of, “Help, please. Don’t let these thugs trade us into a sex ring like Taken” to no avail. One of them looked me in the eye, shrugged, and made a gesture as if to say, “Not my problem”, then looked away, allowing the men to have their way with us. It was becoming clear to me that if I didn’t act fast, we’d be living La vie en chains and black leather.

Luckily in times of peril I morph (anime style) into my alternate persona, who is also from the hood and speaks the international language of gangsta. I opened my mouth and made them feel the power of an angry black woman who’s watched at least 3 Madea movies and is well trained in figure waving, eye rolling, and extreme lip pursing. They were no match for the endless stream of threatening expletives spewing from my mouth. They backed off instantly. One of them doubled over and began bleeding from the ears. At least that’s what I’m assuming he was screaming in French. The only words I understood were, “American, crazy, and bitch.” The circle widened enough for us to weasel through and we ran, faster than Usain Bolt, to our hotel.

Did we learn our lesson? If the lesson was to take a cab to the club instead, then I guess so. After convincing the hotel bouncer that we weren’t gypsies we went to our rooms, changed into more conservative club wear, and headed off to the club in a cab. Shout out to our cab driver, Kamel from Morocco. If you’re ever in a taxi in Paris and the driver’s name is Kamel, tell him those 3 crazy American girls said hello. He’ll remember us. Trust me. 

hot Parisian guys
We didn’t go to Queen. Instead we got flagged into a really fun club called 67 by a bunch of French male models moonlighting as club promoters and given a complementary bottle of Champagne. One bottle of champagne and many shots of Tequila later, the three of us were showing the club how we Americans dance: like whores.

It was an exciting night. One of us took all our passports and went off with a Parisian guy without telling anyone where she went (You know who you are)! Some of us made out with French boys and got told, “This is why they call it a French kiss”. Some of us flirted shamelessly but remained faithful to our boyfriends back home. I won’t tell who because, as a beautiful male model informed me on the Champs Elysees, “Qui passer en Paris, rester en Paris.”

Paris is a beautiful city--nothing like London. It’s like a sugary little confection. Though much of its monuments were built to commemorate war, you look at them and you immediately get swept away with romance. The city didn’t disappoint. Streets lined with bakeries and bistros, Parisians styled impeccably, gypsies charming you out of your money, and men who say things like, “I would very much like to make love with you,” made me see this vie in rose everyone’s always talking about. By the time we had to leave, I was seriously considering becoming a gypsy and never leaving those beautiful, tree lined streets.

Oh, and it’s important to note: Don't go to a bar in Latin Quarter and order the largest beer they have; you somehow get a giant penis. I’m not sure if it was just my bad French or something got lost in translation but that’s just a head’s up.

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