In May I traveled to Paris, France with 19 other classmates and teachers. I was excited, and had expected to arrive into a city of wonderful food, historical art, and trendy fashionable people roaming the streets. I was pleased to find that all of my expectations had been met, and then some. What I didn’t expect though was the diversity the city had.
The most memorable thing on my trip was the diversity I encountered. My own ignorance was part of the reason that the diversity of the city weighed so heavily on me. I saw African natives fluently speaking French, interracial couples everywhere I turned, and languages from several continents being spoken, all on the boulevard Champs Elysees. A t first, I just thought it was because I was on the world renowned avenue known for its cafes, cinemas, shopping, and the Arch de Triomphe. I was wrong though; everywhere I went, from Euro Disney to Le Grenier (a small diner) the blend of people continued to stun me.
Diversity was unexpected, but there was also a certain mannerism I had that I expected to be universal wherever I went. I was naive enough to keep saying “Pardon” every time I walked in someone’s way. At first I thought that the people in France were rude, but I soon realized with millions of people bustling around everyday it becomes pointless to keep saying excuse me every 10 seconds. This was a little irritating at first, but I soon embraced the Parisian way and accepted the lifestyle.
I expected nightlife in Paris to calm down quite a bit, but I was very wrong. After eating dinner at this very upscale diner a small group was dismissed to catch the metro home. It was only 12:50, and we were told to rush down to take the metro back to our hotel before it closed. We ran down into the station with minutes to spare, and gladly took seats as we waited for the last metro back to Gare de Lyon to come through. We sat for awhile, but the metro never came. We missed the last metro by a few minutes, and the metro station actually started to close while we were inside. Our group headed out of the metro in a panic, and realized we were on our own. Who knew that in the city of lights transportation actually closes for the night? Fortunately we all had a couple Euros left on us to pay for a taxi back home (barely). Lesson learned, things really do shut down in Paris, and be prepared to take a taxi.
We’ve all faced it at some point in our lives; we pull out our cameras for an amazing shot and find a dead battery. I was on top of the Eiffel Tower. I went to take a picture and discovered my camera had died. My backup camera immediately came to life though, and I got some beautiful pictures of the city at sunset. Bring a backup!
I had my first scoop of sorbet (non-dairy ice cream) at the Castle Versailles and fell in love immediately. I actually went to my local Wegmans looking for this frozen gold and haven't stopped eating it since. Sorbet tastes nothing like American ice cream; it tastes like frozen fruit with very natural good texture.
This trip was a catalyst for trying many new things. I returned open to experiences that I normally would have never tried, and ready to embrace different cultures with open arms.
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