On our first night in Paris, we all went out to the Moulin Rouge and a Cabaret. After that some of us went to a bar called O’ Sullivan’s downtown. I was having way too much fun to go home with the coach at 11, and ended up staying until 3 in the morning. Drunk off goodness knows how many drinks, Matt (Aussie) and me begin to head home. But hang on a sec. We have no idea where “home” is. In fact, it isn’t a home, it isn’t even a hotel or hostel. Home means a tent in a campsite on the outskirts of Paris that is not even located on the Paris map. The address of the campsite is on an address sheet that both of us conveniently didn’t bring along.
First we hailed down a cab and my French skills were put to the test. It didn’t take very long for me to start drawing a bunch of tents and trees for the cab driver. It was all useless. He had no idea where we had to go and neither did we, so we got out of the cab and wandered around. Hours later, nothing had changed. We were still drunk and still at a loss of where to go. We decided to try another cab. The driver fiddled around with his GPS and began to drive us to our campsite. However, about one hour and 100 Euros later, we were in the middle of nowhere.
The price of the cab ride sobered us up a bit and we told the driver to take us back into downtown. Matt and I walked around aimlessly as it started to rain. All I was wearing was a tiny purple dress and a shiny black sequin beret. To wait out the rain and warm up, we both ordered a coffee and noticed the sun starting to rise. As we walked past a phone booth, Matt decided to call his mom in Australia to look up the address of the campsite for us. She did just that, and as we had no pen or paper, I pulled out my lipstick and used it to write the address down on my arms and legs.
Next, we got into yet another cab and tried our best to read my limbs. Once we reached our destination, we were unsatisfied yet again. We both didn’t recognize a thing and our spirits sank. We got out and watched the cab drive away as it started to pour. By this point, it is about 8 in the morning and I am freezing cold. We are beyond frustrated. We started to ask people on the street and in stores for directions, and eventually hopped on a bus to get out of the rain. Thankfully, a woman on the bus spoke English and I asked her if she knew how to get back. She got off the bus with us and guided us to a bus stop that would take us directly to our campsite. I was extremely grateful for her and she was so incredibly nice.
At approximately 10 in the morning, we arrived. Matt and I endured the walk of shame as we slowly walked through the campsite, with the others cheering and laughing. I was dirty, wet, freezing, and covered in lipstick. The next day, we were informed that the site we both didn’t recognize happened to be the back entrance of our campsite. . . which we were unfamiliar with. The bus rides and hours of walking aimlessly were not necessary at all.
The journey home cost us 7 hours, 3 cab rides, 2 bus rides and approximately 180 Euros.
Never again will I leave the campsite without my address list. Never again. As frustrating and costly as the journey home was, I don’t regret a thing. It was an experience I know I will never forget and the memory of that whole night brings a smile to my face.