Three years ago today, Sarah and I stepped into Paris for the first time. The only reason I remember this is because we are in the process of putting together a little proposal for a travel book we want to write. So, for those purposes, I have been writing about the stupid things we did, accidentally of course.
I don't think I'll ever forget that day. When we stepped of the plane, we had to figure out how to
get from the airport, to the train station, and then into Paris itself. I swear we waited in lines for hours, once it was all said and done. Even so, nothing could kill our mood.
But then, we took the train into Paris and had to brave the Metro System. After four long hours of wondering, we finally found our hotel, and then decided to go for a walk.
Truly, we were dressed perfectly appropriately for Paris. Just not for the area were in. Unfortunately, we were completely clueless.
We decided to go take a look at the cemetery that was down the street from us. While we walked, we noticed several men following/staring at us. We ignored them, and went about our business.
Once we arrived at the cemetery, we learned that they wanted to charge us 5 euros or something crazy like that to go in. We opted out, and turned around to head back.
That's when we realized the men were still following us. We ended up turning down a side road in an attempt to get away. In this instance, "side road" means "a road where men wait for the prostitutes they expect to 'service' them." We didn't know that, though.
However, the road, which initially looked very short, and quite optimal for a quick run, seemed to grow longer the further we walked. Men lined up down the road, staring at us. A few of them approached us to ask us questoins.
One man, and I can't remember which language he called to us in, but it must have been English because Sarah responded asked us, "Are you working?"
Sarah, smiling brightly, giddily responded, "Oh no, we're not working. We're students!"
I closed my eyes, wanting to hurt her. "Wrong kind of working," I muttered into her ear. Her eyes grew huge once she realized what the man actually meant.
We started to scurry away, and then a nice Frenchman approached us and asked us if we were working. Again, we said no, and he walked with us the rest of the way down the road. He told us to stay off of side roads. He also told us not to smile at strangers. Which, despite all evidence against us, we did actually know was a poor idea.
Ah, yes. It isn't every day you're mistaken for a prostitute. Even in a foreign country.