Top of the World in Paris – Day 5
Getting to the presentations today was a complete hassle. Our academic directors were not informed of a site change! Nor did they have the phone numbers of the people in charge of the other end of the program. In the end, it took us thirty minutes to arrive at the correct building of the European Economic Commission, somehow postponing our presentations an entire hour! We barely had enough time to eat lunch between the presentations at the EEC and our later presentation at UNESCO. Both were very informative though and I took some big books as souvenirs! I thought it was a good end to the academic portion of this week, because after today, NO MORE CLASS! All fun and games from now on. 😉
After UNESCO, Michelle, Arturo and I went back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready to go the Eiffel Tower. I was aware that the line for the Eiffel Tower was going to be very long, so I was appreciative of its somewhat shorter nature. Once we made it to the front of the line, I asked the woman if we could get three tickets to the top of the tower. She told me that we would have to buy the tickets once we’re on the second floor, but also that currently the summit was closed. She made it clear that we could buy tickets right then and there and then come back in half an hour to an hour, when the summit might re-open. I asked Michelle and Arturo if they felt comfortable with this arrangement and they said it worked for them, so we all bought the tickets (with a student discount yay!) and exited the line.
On walking away from the tower, we tried to occupy our time until the summit reopened. It was 17:45, and we wanted to get back at around 18:45 or so (6:30 PM). Military time is so much easier, since I don’t have to write stupid letters after the numbers, so please bear with me! We found a fabulous deal: a one-hour cruise on the Seine with dinner for €20! Excited, we got on the boat at 18:30 and promptly returned at 19:30. We saw quite a few buildings on the coast of the Seine and I wish I remembered what all of them were! But at least you could check them out below… And when I say dinner, I mean we got soda and microwaved spaghetti that was deceivingly delicious!
Happy about our boat cruise, we walked back to the Eiffel Tower and got in the line for reserved tickets. I walked up to the security guard and handed him my ticket. He told me it was no longer valid. Surprised, I told him exactly what the woman at the cashier informed me and he said she must have given me false information, because the ticket said entrée immédiate. I wasn’t going to miss this for the world. My bucket list includes getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower, so excuse me if I wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Completely frustrated, we came to the conclusion that we would stand in the long line to buy tickets, but instead of buying tickets would immediately go through security. This was a good decision because we noticed that in the security check, the officers did not check tickets.
We made the security checkpoint successfully and were well on our way to present tickets to the man right before the elevators when I thought he looked familiar. He glanced at us and I saw a glimpse of recognition but was unsure if it meant anything because it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Once it was my turn to present my ticket, he said to me, “Félicitations!” and I wasn’t sure if he was congratulating me on making it to the Eiffel Tower or for making it in with my false ticket…because he looked like the security guard from before. I shook my thoughts off when we got to the tower.
On the second floor, we took a few pictures here a few pictures then and were all set to get to the top. Why else were we there? When in line for the elevators to the top, an Asian man in front of us asked me to take a picture of him on the tower. Having nothing better to do, I took a picture of him. Then, he offered to take a picture of the three of us. Though this was sweet of him, he ruined everything when he starting winking at Arturo saying that he was very lucky to be surrounded by two girls at his side. He suggested taking a picture of the two of us kissing his cheeks. Ew. At that point we said something nasty to him and he stopped bothering us.
Did you know that they sell champagne on the top of the tower? I didn’t know either! But it cost €10 for one measly flute so we immediately declined. And we just happened to make it 5 minutes to 9:00, when they began flashing the lights on the tower! A picture-perfect moment. Although I don’t have any of the photos, I’m hoping Michelle will upload them soon and I could show them to you.
We had made it all the way down from the Tower and it was around 9:30 in the evening. Arturo stopped the two of us, claiming that he wanted to take a picture of a leg of the Eiffel. Michelle stayed with him while I walked a little further out of the tower and looked back at the crowd of visitors, when… The guy from the ticket reservations/ticket booth approached me and said, “So how’d you guys do it? Did you just hand over the old ticket without getting a new one?” I was confounded! It had been a couple of hours and not only had he still remembered us, but he happened to get up to the top and get out of the same elevator as us! The coincidence was just too uncanny. Finally I answered him with one word: “yep.” He smiled and told us we were very lucky and walked away. When Michelle and Arturo came over a couple of seconds later, I retold the story and they wouldn’t believe me, until I pointed out the guy from a crowd of people. Michelle said disappointed, “He’s cute.” Yeah, he was.
Guess what. It’s time to reveal the actress we saw in Brussels! I was in the hotel lobby waiting for everyone to get ready for the evening and flipping through a magazine when her face popped out at me. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen her in a magazine! As soon as I saw her, I gasped and said, “No way. This can’t be. This is too perfect.” Michelle was right next to me and she said, “What?” and when I told her I found the woman she basically ripped the magazine out of my hands. Of course she was really shocked when she saw that it was the SAME WOMAN. It was:
DIANE KRUGER! This photo isn’t very obvious, which is good because I didn’t want to give away her identity by simple use of the photo. Look her up on Google! She’s really beautiful; she was in Inglourious Basterds, Unknown, National Treasure, Fringe, Troy, among others. Of German descent, which somewhat explains her presence in Brussels…
Back at the hotel, I started getting dressed for a night out when a friend of mine from university paid me a visit! He’s studying in Paris for a year (so he better be fluent in French by the end!) and we thought it’d be great to meet up. Michael met me at my hotel and I introduced him to a couple of girlfriends. We all took the metro to a bar where the rest of the group had spent around 30 minutes already. They managed to get themselves kicked out of the bar, but as we were new blood, Michelle, Michael and I were let in. We spent about 20 minutes in there until we came to the conclusion that it was already boring. Before we left, I told Michael that it would be amusing if he pretended like we’d just met in the bar and that he only spoke French. After all, most of the people in my group had never seen him before. He was thrilled with the idea! At first it was a little strange. I was talking to two friends and didn’t quite get to introducing him, and since he “can’t speak English” he didn’t say a single word.
It was time for Michael to head home, so when I was walking him over to the metro, we encountered three other people from my program. They asked me who the boy I with me was and I told them I’d met him in the bar. The guy from my program asked him, “What’s your name?” Michael answered with, “Je m’appelle Michel. Je viens de Paris.” The guy from my program told me to have a good night and winked. He didn’t seem to understand that I was just walking my French friend to the metro… The two girls got a little jealous, it was great. The guy asked me the next day how my night went! I told him “Michel” and I texted a little (even though we hadn’t) and then called it a night. He still didn’t believe me. I still haven’t told those three who Michael really is. And I don’t plan on it. 🙂
After Michael’s departure, Michelle, Jihane, Skyler and I really wanted to go to a club. After walking around for 40 minutes, we finally found one! It’s called Mix and it is everything I thought a club should look like. When you walk in, you are located on the second floor and look down on a crowded dance floor with a tiny stage in the middle. It looks exactly like the cool clubs I’ve seen in movies but never in real life! I took two pictures with my phone but I’m not even sure if I could send them to my computer. 😦 The cool part was that there was a deal that day for students in the program Erasmus, so there were lots of international students studying abroad in France at the club. All of them were wearing stickers with their flags on them. It was curious simply to look at all of the students and guess where they might be from.
The only thing wrong with the club was their unisex bathroom. You heard me. I walked in to the bathroom and saw urinals (granted this was not the first time, the same situation was in Brussels) and was hit on for the first time in a bathroom! I really wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Really. The reason to have a bathroom in a club is to be able to run away from all of the creepy guys. You can’t do that there because all of the guys will just follow you inside! Sick. What is this gender equality movement coming to?