Then we met my German pen-friend Katharina for a short while to explore the Science Museum together. She just flew in from Spain to volunteer at her cousin's elementary school in London for a couple weeks. It had been two years since I'd seen her last so it was very nice to say hello!
Our Eurostar train left at 4:22pm so by then it was just past three. We ran back to grab our backpacks at the crappy hotel, and then raced for one last ride on the Tube to St Pancras station, side by side King's Cross.
When we boarded our coach (after customs, passport stamping, and bag screening) we were immediately followed by....no fewer than thirty loud, French, thirteen-year-old boys. They immediately started blasting the Thrift Shop song on someone's phone, and made a game of throwing a package of sweets back and forth across the aisles. (It was a four hour ride.)
As I'm writing this: They've figured out we are English speakers, and now we are helping them with their British-English homework, since it's a school field trip.
Anyway, after we arrived in Gare du Norde I realized quite suddenly that I did not remember much French at all. Thinking back, I've been saying "Je parle un peu Français." for, oh, six years now. I'm really, really sorry for unintentionally deceiving you, Tessa.
After about 40 minutes of trying to figure out what ATM is in French (for we had no Euros) and where an info booth was, we made it on the correct Metro lines with a small handwritten map in hand!! By then we were both already exhausted. Packs=heavy no matter how well you pack.
Finally we got off on the nearest station and had to ask a fruit stand guy to tell us where Didot street is, and we got yet another handwritten map. THEN once we got to the street, some lady walks past us and says "oh, backpackers, right?" (No, we are just carrying around a few tons of crap on our back at 9 o'clock at night.) She has a complete American accent to my delight, and she's from California. ("Oh, I don't speak French but I live here. Where are you going? Great, I live in that building!")
We buzzed in and knocked on Micheline's door, dearly hoping our directions and contact was all right. Well, once we said who we were: "You're the two backpack girls! Mon Dieu, I completely forgot about you! Leave your stuff here and go get some food. Come back in an hour and your room will be made!" She lives above an Indian food restaurant, so we went there ("Oh you don't have money yet? Don't go get cash at night! Go down there and order and say my name, and I'll be down to pay for you in a few minutes.") so we ordered Indian food in French.
We are staying with a friend of a friend, Micheline, who is an 85 year old woman who lived in the States for a decade in the past, so her English is fair. Her hearing on the other hand, is not so fair. She also has un petit chien, Maxsu.
Now, this place is costing us $32 each, a night, so our budgeting is for four days in Paris. But we would absolutely love to stay longer, we just haven't figured out how yet....something will come up, it always does.