Noilly Prattle: It's Bloody la Bohème

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's Bloody la Bohème

     We thought we had stumbled into a Puccini opera!

        The day started somewhat somberly as we tore ourselves from three weeks in a really beautiful canal side apartment (away from the madding crowd) in the Castello Sostier of Venice, Italy. Perhaps the somber mood was a foreshadowing of things to come or, conversely, maybe the mood led to the things to come.

        Things were going well enough transportation-wise; vaporetto to the Marco Polo Airport, LCC flight on (everything is for sale, including reclining seats on low-cost carriers), we even figured out how to get a train ticket into Paris from a machine at the airport. Then the fun began.

       We had arranged to call the apartment manager after arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport and when we knew which train we were taking to coordinate the meeting at the apartment. However, we couldn't figure out how to place the call on our Japanese cell phone. After trying every which a way with no luck, we decided to look for an internet hot spot to send an email announcing our immanent arrival in the Marais section of Paris. We spotted an airport helper and asked if there were an Internet hot spot in the vicinity. She said the whole airport was wired and we could send an email from anywhere there. Road Buddy suddenly got a brainstorm and asked the helper if she would be so kind as to try to call the agent's number for us. She kindly agreed. We had three different numbers and she was finally able to connect on the third try. I talked to the manager and he said that “Javier” would meet us at the apartment. Well and good I thought.

       I had been given a door code for the street door on the online agreement contract. When we found the street and door number the door wouldn't open when I punched in the code. As aggravation and frustration mounted—door code didn't work, cell phone didn't work—we pondered what do we do now when the door suddenly opened and a young man named Javier stepped out. Relieved, I asked him how he knew we were there. He said, simply, he was in the window of the apartment just above the door and he saw and heard us. “Everything's OK now,” I thought. Ri-ight!

Early evening:

first impression
first impression 2
       Walking in the door and looking ahead was a shocker. Shabby hardly describes the condition of the entrance "hall", with exposed pipes and wiring, with bare lightbulbs dangling from the peeling ceiling leading to the dark hole of the staircase. The rental agreement said there would be an elevator, which turned out to be non-existent but, fortunately, the apartment was only one floor up. Even with me bum hip I could handle that! When we arrived, in the early evening, the apartment was in dim shadow, although not as bad as the entrance hall. Javier explained and checked to see that everything worked although almost nothing was as we had been led to expect from the Internet description and pictures and the contract arrangement. Even the WiFi provider and password, like the door code, were different from the contract. Nevertheless, everything was now, finally, under control and working. A few photos are probably worth more than all this venting verbiage.

second impression
apartment door
       We went out to eat not in the best of moods and not really hungry and overtired and a little depressed and sniping at each other. Not a lovely picture. We woke up after a decent night's sleep and discovered that we had both been thinking the same thought, that we had wandered onto a stage set for la Bohème (down and out in Paris). What else to do but take it in stride and learn to sing an aria or two?

note the old fashioned
pull chain from above

The morning after:

Rue des Rosiers in the Marais
view of some rooftops out the window


       The sun is streaming in the windows and the street is alive with the sounds of people on a Saturday afternoon. The mood is a little more upbeat, though still unsettled—time to go out exploring.  

same room as above

people lined up for take away Falafel -
a kind of Middle Easter sandwich in a pita cone -

this shop appears to be very popular

No comments: