24 March 2015
But upon reaching where I was most excited to visit, I had very bad encounters and impressions immediately. Firstly, there were indeed many fake surveyors aka scammers asking us if we speak English (if you answer yes, it shows that you are tourist and a potential victim) the moment we alighted from the train. I mean I did heard about all these scammers in Paris before the trip, but I didn’t expect it to be so 夸张 please! We just ignored but there were like so many of them!!! So scary~
So we went to queue to buy our transport passes and even then, they would be scammers pretending to be the station staff, asking if you need help. We were warned about this before going and were told to not even answer anything. If you accept their help, they will ask you for money after that, that’s what we heard. And halfway when we were queuing, some police came and started chasing after the scammers, but all of them fled at very fast speed, which I think it’s something common everyday there. But still damn scary and way too happening!!!
There are basically such people EVERYWHERE in Paris and you really don’t know who is genuine to help and who is not! Unfortunately, even for those who are supposed to be genuine to help, they didn’t turn out to be very friendly either -_- So what happened was the staff at the counter could not really speak English, and she just kept saying something about “photo” in a really fierce tone. Again, I don’t know is it racism or French are just perpetually-angry people.
After much yelling, we finally understood that she’s saying we need our photo to apply for the transport pass, which is damn stupid! So we asked where can we get our photos taken and she just simply chased us off saying that she doesn’t know and continued to serve the next customer! She was just really pissed with us for no apparent reason!
There was actually a Singaporean couple in the queue who witnessed this, but I think they didn’t really dare to help us too because there are just too many scammers there and we could be one too. In Paris, it’s always 多一事不如少一事。The couple did tell us in the end that they just implemented this photo rule because there are too many theft incidents in Paris, so they actually read about this before coming and got their photos ready. They had no idea where we can take the photos either.
So Bro and I just stood there, feeling really lost as to how we gonna travel around without our transport pass now. Then this French man who was in the queue beside just successfully got his pass and he actually offered to help us. To be honest, I was in a dilemma as to whether to accept his help or not because there are really so many dishonest people there! And nobody bothered to help us in the queue except him!
But thankfully he was really genuine to help us and thankfully he could speak English too!!! He helped us to translate what we want to the counter staff and even though the staff still looked damn pissed that the man was trying to help us, the latter continued to help us translate to the angsty staff. And we managed to get a 3-day pass that does not require photos! 😀
I couldn’t be more grateful for his help and I felt bad for being skeptical about him! But there are really just too many bad eggs there! I felt damn ridiculous that even the staff refused to help us, so what were we supposed to do if the nice French man didn’t help us???
The man even told us to be careful of scammers around Paris, and he said that most French people are nice. Well, I think he’s like the nicest one already. The rest all look like we owe them a million >.>
Anyway, the train system in Paris is very much like ours, so there wasn’t much difficulty in finding our accommodation place. But the train stations are all quite dirty, dim and sometimes smelly – smell of urine and all. It’s quite surprising, because that’s definitely not the Paris that I had imagined.
Reached our Airbnb house and was welcomed by the owner’s boyfriend! He’s a very nice chap who answered all our enquiries patiently, drawing maps for us and all. I almost got the airport station wrongly, but luckily he pointed out because there are 2 stations with very similar names~
This is our first time staying in an Airbnb apartment and we had decided to give it a try because the hotels in Europe are all pretty expensive. The initial thought of staying at someone’s house felt a bit awkward, but it turned out that it’s not a bad idea!
Especially when we were lucky enough to have the whole apartment to ourselves (even though we only booked the room) because the owner usually stays at her boyfriend’s place! Weeeee~ Can cook, can lie unglam-ly on the couch to watch TV and all! xD
The first thing we checked out was, where is the nearest supermarket? Because that’s where we gonna get most of our meals from! 😛 Thankfully, the owner has already prepared a map, showing all the directions to the supermaket (just 3 minutes walk away!!!) and train stations. Super convenient!
So after grabbing some snacks and biscuits, off we went to our first destination in Paris! The initial plan for the day was actually to visit the Eiffel Tower, since that’s like the main main MAIN motive of visiting Paris, but it was raining so we decided to change plan to somewhere indoor~ Visited the Sainte Chapelle instead! (:
Back to microwave yummy salmon and baked pasta for dinner! Still can’t believe I didn’t take photo of any of our pathetic but yummy supermarket food! Anyway, feels so good to be back to nua in the apartment! Can use wifi, can watch TV and most importantly, so much warmer in here!!! I really hate colddddd.
Stayed tuned for our Eiffel adventure in the next Europe post! Can’t promise when it will be up though xD