Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why You No Pay Me?

In Paris, they simply stared when I spoke to them 
in French. I never did succeed in getting those idiots 
to understand their own language.
~ Mark Twain

We are finally in Paris.  In truth, our flight from Las Vegas to Heathrow left less than 20 hours ago. Still, I feel like we've been traveling forever.  I could tell you about the uneventful flight on the Honking HUGE British Airways plane and our layover at Heathrow, but that pales compared to what happened once we arrived Orly. Yes, friends, the adventure started  as soon as our feet touched French soil.

"You need taxi?" a guy asked us as we walked towards the transportation doors shortly after we disembarked at Orly International Airport.

"Yes. Yes" I was happy to find a taxi driver without having to look forever.  He motioned us to follow him, and we took off down the concourse, walking in the direction opposite to the way the "Taxis" arrow sign pointed. We walked outside, and he turned to us.

"We must walk another two minutes.  My car parked two minutes," he said.

"Wait a minute," I said, turning to Mike.  "I think he's trying to scam us."  I faced the "taxi" driver and asked how much to take us to our hotel.

"Fifty euro," he replied.  Two of you and four bags."

"No. No. No. There are carry-ons.  The cost should be only 30 euro at most."  I glared at him, and he shrugged his shoulders.

"He thought he'd get tired tourists and scam them," Mike said as we walked back toward the taxi door.  "I had a funny feeling when we started walking outdoors and didn't see taxis."

We got back to the main area and found a taxi.  The lady taxi driver was very nice, and told us she had been to America.

"I came two weeks," she laughed.  "I stay two month. San Francisco I like.  New York.  Some place Pennsylvania.  Nice."

"Did you get to Las Vegas?" we asked.

"No time," she replied, and. while dodging Parisian traffic, she proceeded to tell us about her visits to about 10 cities in the States. She also was kind enough to tell us to avoid taking the yellow buses because the red buses were geared toward tourists. "You see what you like. Go back later."

In 15 minutes or so, we arrived at our hotel, and she clicked the meter. We owed her 25 euro. Mike handed her a 100 bill. She shoved it back.

"No! No!" she exclaimed.

"You no have change?" Mike asked.

"25 euro," she repeated.

"No change?" Mike asked again. "I only have a 20 and a 100." He showed her the 100 bill again.

"No Deutsch," she said. "Euro." She disgustedly threw the 100 bill back at me. I looked at it. Mike had told me we had 500 euro left over from our last trip, which surprised me since I thought we hadn't brought any back. We hadn't.

"This is a Czech Krona," I said to Mike. "She needs euros." We looked at each other.

"Why you no pay me?" the taxi driver asked. "Why you do this?" I was terrified she'd call the police. Mike handed her the 20 which, thankfully, was euros.

"What about the coins?" I asked him. Luckily, he had about 6 more euro in coins. He handed them to her. She huffed out of the taxi and slammed our suitcases on the pavement.

"Merci. Sorry. Merci," I mumbled at her. She ignored me.

"Sorry. Merci," my dear husband said.

Luckily, as we were spending the longest 120 seconds of our lives looking for euro, passengers walked up, and she got another fare.

"That's what I get for not paying more attention," Mike said as we walked into the hotel.

Tell me about it.

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