Thursday, January 05, 2006

Angela, France Welcomes You Back with Open Arms

Honestly, I dreaded coming back to France. I had such a good time in Germany that I didn't want to come back, but I had to turn in grades, so back I came. The train ride from Germany to France was long and I had to stand for about an hour because I did not have a reservation, then some man took me five cars away from my luggage to give me a seat. I got all paranoid because the guy was acting very strange and I could not relax or stop thinking I was in the middle of some weird mugging experience. Nothing ever happened, but I was on edge for the duration of the trip.

I called my friend, Seb, to help because my suitcase and backpack weighed so much. He met me at the train station (again, he is one of the nicest people I have ever had the honor of knowing). We went to his house and unloaded some of the weight so I could make it safely back to the ghetto.

From Seb's house, I have to travel through Chatelet, one of the busiest stations in Europe, and it is a little dangerous. I am always very careful, especially at night; most of the time, I pretend to read a book in order to stave off some of the weirdos. Well, luck was not on my side that night, because as soon as I sat down to wait for my train, a man came up to me asking for money. He asked in French first and I told him I did not speak French, hoping this would get rid of him. It did not; he just started speaking English. He had this odd way of clicking his tongue while he talked and he made me very uncomfortable, but he finally left.

Next, and as God is my witness, I am not making any of this up, a man with the worst rug ever walked up and sat so close to me, he was actually sitting on my coat. He also starting speaking to me, telling me how he just had his pocket picked. I told him I did not speak French, again hoping this tactic would get rid of him. No luck. He started telling the whole story in English. I am not talented enough to begin to describe how creepy he was. After he told me the whole b.s. story in English, he then asked me for some money for a ticket so he could get home. I told him I did not have any money (usually I try to either ignore people like this or get away from them, but he was SITTING on my coat). He then told me he knew I had money because I was American and all Americans have lots of money. Belligerant and argumentative, he was, and for some reason that made me want to resort to violence. Anyway, I spun some ridiculous story about how I was in the military and they don't pay with cash. He then told me to use my credit cards that he knew I had, to go and get money for him. He was so aggressive and hateful that I was starting to get a little worried, so I just pushed him as hard as I could, got up and walked away. I happened to look back about 10 seconds afterward and he had completely disappeared. He was nowhere to be seen. I have no idea if I was being "worked" by him or what, but I made it back to the dorms in one piece with all my belongings. Needless to say, I was mentally cursing France and the French and public transportation the whole ride to the ghetto and let me just add, regardless of all of my education, I have an immense arsenal of foul language at my disposal.

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