This week so far has never been dull, and everytime I step outside for a new adventure I am reminded why I got so addicted to traveling in the first place.
There is also something to be said about traveling alone, which I had never done outside the United States before. It forces you to meet new people and learn about their backgrounds and lifestyles. I also find that sometimes, people are more willing to open up than they would under usual circumstances. If you may never see that person again, will it really hurt to be honest and open? There is much more to be gained than lost.
Yesterday and the day before I spent my time at the Young and Happy Hostel on Rue Mouffetard, one of my favorite streets in Paris. It boasts a beautiful market with all the best foods you can imagine.
It was actually one of the top places in Paris I wanted to see before I left for Laval, but I had forgotten the name and worried I wouldn’t find it. I wanted to go there, above all, for the insanely delicious chicken and potatoes available for only 3€30. As you can see in the picture above, the boucherie roasts chicken and all day long the juice seeps into the small, crispy potatoes at the bottom. I am drooling right now just thinking of it.
I bought a chicken leg and potatoes and ate them with my bare hands, using the bag as a napkin. One Parisian woman that passed me actually pointed and laughed, probably because of how uncivilized I looked sitting on some steps, slumped over a greasy half-gnawed chicken leg. (Keep in mind that the French usually eat things like pizza and canteloupe with a knife and fork.) This, among many other reasons, is why I will probably never be a sophisticated French woman.
Spending time with other travelers, however, made me feel a little less self-conscious. My stay was enhanced by all the friendly people I met at the hostel, most of them in their early 20’s like myself and from the US, Canada, and Australia. A group of about seven of us went to Sacré Coeur at night, and just a word to the wise: be cautious when using free toilets in Paris. Especially if they look like this:
An Australian in our group named Steve stepped into one of these, and the next thing we knew he was screaming and banging around as we heard jets of water spraying at the walls. The door electronically locked itself, and we realized that the toilet was on clean mode and wouldn’t open until it had finished. After about a minute, the door slid open and he emerged with drenched feet and a frazzled look on his face. He said the toilet had disappeared into the wall as cold jets of water sprayed at his feet and legs! Scary for him, but absolutely hilarious for the rest of us.
Today is actually my second night in Laval, which I will write about soon. The next blog probably won’t mention toilets, or the improper way to consume food in a public space, but I can’t make any promises. Even though I would like to think I can morph myself into a sophisticated French woman, sometimes toilets and chicken legs are just much more fun to write about.