segunda-feira, 20 de março de 2017

Je ne regrette rien

Last week I went to Paris, for a 10 day trip alone.
It was my 4th trip abroad alone, and I am afraid it won't be the last, for the better and for the worse....I know that. Anywas before all my solo travels, I get a bit anxious and nervous and with less self confidence, I secretly wish I could have a travel friend but it just never happened....some make promises and plans that they break, others give up, sometimes the people who said they would join you are no longer your friends, we need time and money and both things are dificult to get, when you have one you lack of the other...but I decided long ago I can't wait no more for anything or anyone because people and situations change out of your control and I need to live my life and live the dreams I worked so hard to get and wished for too long. So regardless of dangers I decided to live out of fear and alone if I must, because waiting is regret and my life and my happiness are very precious things to delay and rely on other people. So whenever I dream out of making plans I don't fool around, I fulfill my primises to myself and others and I believe in me so I can live my dreams, now,today,tomorrow and ALWAYS!!!
So all those fears quickly disappeared and then finally vanished...everything about my trip went well, literally everything...I got a lot of apprehension because I have seen on TV and read on the newspapers and even in alternative media that Paris was on the verge of a civil unrest, with riots everywhere, robberies, violence, terrorism everywhere, explosive multiculturalism cauldron, refugees sleeping in tents on the street...and I saw any of that, I felt any of that (actually simply saw about 3 tents on the street totally abandoned...what was that? I don't know but it is not like it was in November, according to TV). I am very skeptical about everything I read, see on TV or internet or hear from people but still that fears really got an hold on me, and Paris is very cheap to travel right now because they lost a lot of tourists, because of the supposed attacks. But once again it was proven to me, never believe everything you are told, go see for yourself.
Also surprisingly to what I expected, contrary to what I have been told since ever....parisian people are super nice and polite even with my lame french and even when the security anti terrorism researching in my  bag when I got inside anywhere,the bus drivers, it is just merci this merci revoir ici au revoir là, smile here smile there, they ask for pardon everytime they slightly bump into me on the streets or seat in the seat in front of me in the metro...and maybe because I always take off disguise of tourist and pretend to be a local, confident fast walking, cigarrette, just pretending I know where I am going altough I am just walking randomly, I had tons of french people asking me where things are on the street and I actually turned out out to help because I had a map. I haven't met one rude person, not even one, unbelievable! More examples, when I was eating a quiche in the garden, an elderly sir passes by and says "Bonjour, bon appetit mademoiselle", or the lady that saw me getting out of metro in the morning I was on my way to leave Paris, trying to see where the bus station was, and she just looked at me and my bag and without me even noticing her or ask her anything she asks me if I want to get to the transfer to the airport and I said yes and she says "tout droit, tout droit!". Small things that mattered a lot to me!
But my first reaction when I was getting in the centre of Paris was not good because when I was on the bus I saw a lot of rubbish on the highways and barracks where gypsies lived, besides of the ugly buildings of the suburbs that are said to have a lot of social problems. 
But besides all of that, the centre Paris is like an open air museum,full of nice retro buildings and majestic monuments, chic stores, and lively cafes. But the big chic streets can also make you feel oppressed, because it is streets made for the rich, and rich don't walk on the street, they move inside smoked mirror cars, they live in luxurious appartments, they eat inside chic and expensive restaurants away from everyone who doesn't belong to the same social status as lots of streets in Paris miss space for people to live and hang out, I didn't feel like most part of the town were made for people to enjoy being in, but instead seemed like streets were only meant for people to walk by to get to their metro, taxi or bus or workplace.
I was really disappointed the fountains in the Trocadero garden, in front of the Eiffel tower were switched off, but what made me not enjoy Paris the way I thought I would was the pollution I felt in the air, the tap water that is full of calcareous and totally ruined my skin making it older and much drier, and the fact that I almost got sick for drinking from it, I really shouldn't, and my throat got really really dry. As if all this was not enough the colour of the river is grey/brown which totally ruins any landscape of any town because it looked like the sewage.
Another negative points would be the amount of homeless everywhere, even though Paris has much less homeless and beggars than London, and of course the amount of rats (big big rats) I saw...2 of them appeared under the bench of a garden I was in enjoying my hot wine and another huge rat simply running in the metro when it saw me, got afraid and moved the way back sneaking in a door....I should have felt gross and all but actually those rats were kind of cute, they were more afraid of me than I was of them I noticed and they had that inocent looking face that ressembled me of Ratatouille.
I heard that Montmatre, Pigalle and Place de Clichy were no go zones full of burglars, prostitutes, creepy guys and potential I totally avoided it at night, but during day time I must say Montmatre is a beautiful place, very multicultural yes, but in a good healthy way, I wish I went there more often, particularly touched by an old man in a wheel chair with no hands knitting hand made bracelets and keychanes for 2 euros with an adorable smile in his face, I wish I could go back there and buy him more stuff, this person really touched my heart...Pigalle, and Place de Clichy are like the red district of Paris, where the Moulin Rouge cabaret is, where there is prostitution and tons of sex stores, I didn't like that place at all. Besides I decided I should walk and walk and walk until I see a bench or a garden to sit in which I only saw like after 1h30 walking, because once again, Paris, besides the cafes seems not to have space for people to enjoy the space and hang out. I found very little green areas as well, and very few trees on the street, which makes me wonder how hot and dry and smothering it must be during the summer.
I was a bit disappointed about the Catacombs, because we can only see a small part of it, and it is always the same thing, just pilled bones everywhere (there is a church in Portugal with the chapel lined with heads of skulls much more spooky) , and the Versailles castle, that besides being huge you can only see a small part and it is almost completely empty because the things inside the mansion were stolen by peasants during the french revolution. Apart from that, Notre Dame chapel is magneficient, going up on the Eiffel tower is unmissable, doing a cruise in the Seine river is a great experience and it is cheap actually, and Louvre is way too big. Also I found Paris pretty affordable, for real.
What I enjoyed the most about my trip was going to Disney, and this way I fullfilled a childhood dream, becase my parents never took me there...anywas, with 27 at least I could ride all the cool things,so it was a lot of fun, specially the other new park, the Walt Disney production studios, it was really a surprise.
But overall, I must conclude, Paris is like a very expensive and beautifil piece of art in a museum....good to look at for some short moments but soon you just get bored and realize there isn't much you can do with it. Ironically it ressembles to me a lot of beautiful people I have met....good to look at but with nothing interesting to say and no particular appeal to their presence...sooner or later you just get bored and have to leave the date...and I need more than beauty to fall for something or someone...being eye candy is not enough for me, and definitely a city to be great has to be more than just beautiful.
Just another note, at a more personal level, we all have seen romantic movies about Paris and in Paris, and I saw some couples in love kissing and holding hands, I won't lie, I would like that, specially with the person I love and doesn't love me back, but just for a short moment I thought I got the chance to feel a bit of romance as well, when a good looking young french sees me taking pictures at the Notre Dame Cathedral from a bridge and starts talking to me out of the blue asking me to take pictures of him as well, he looked really nice and smart but I got a gut feeling he had something twisted about him, because this behaviour is not even very normal but he asked me for my number and I gave it to him,
it didn't take too much time to understand that, that person was not very interested in romantic walks holding hands or romantic dinners or even get to know me, just another dude driven by lust impulses, trying to mask his luxuriance with a cute smile and friendly good looking face, he asked me if I was "celibataire", which means single, and I said yes, and he says what every single person says to me, like I am a circus freak, "how is that possible?"....well I could answer now, it is not my fault, I keep meeting assholes, assholes like you...Heaven please send me better, or send me nothing, stop messing up with me. Anyways his name is Antoine, or so he said so, and if you cross a bridge near Notre Dame, beware of him, I wouldn't be surprised he does this trick a lot to lonely female tourists.
But still, I wonder about my soulmate, one day,if we ever meet and if you are even real, I will be back there and we'll put our padlock here and the only thing I would regret is all the wasted previous years we lived without one and other.
But until now, je ne regrette rien.