We seek out, whether we like it or not, typical travel experiences like drinking a little espresso in a cafe on a terrace in Paris or sitting on a lawn chair drinking a Corona on the beach in Mexico or eating at a hawker stall in Thailand. I guess they all include consuming.
It’s like in Under the Tuscan Sun, the worst movie ever made, when they turn two saw horses and an old door into a table and she eats lunch with the laborers, grand gestures, big smiles, the typical Tuscan scene, and everything goes slowly. I hate that movie.
Anyway, as a person who writhes at the idea of being cliche and wants to think he’s above all that grand gesture bullshit, it was alarming to find myself on a scooter, riding on the Seine under the Eiffel Tower, thoroughly enjoying my typically Parisian moment. I even smiled! How gross is that? And I got a little lost and ended up on the Champs Elysees with the Arc de Triomphe right in front of me and I thought, “Well, I’ve already come this far,” so I dove in and did the roundabout – one full turn driving safely – and spiraled off toward the north.
It was exhausting – the streets in Paris are relentless. There are no parking lots to pull into to rest or ask directions and since I’m on a scooter and have to be so cautious I ended up missing the signs for Gare du Nord over and over again. All the scooter drivers here are aggressive, so all the cars expected me to be aggressive as well, even when I was hanging back to look for a sign (a literal sign, posted by the city). I got thoroughly lost (ended up on the other side of Montmartre) for 2 hours, I got frustrated that I had forgotten to bring my map, but ultimately it was not unlike my first times traveling when the most trying experiences only forge competence. I’ve heard that if you haven’t tried something by the age of 29, you’re unlikely to try it ever. I’m NOT going to be part of that group. Let the scooter buying be evidence of that.
So it’s supposed to start raining today and not stop as far as the weatherlady could see. I’m curious how that’s going to go for me, on the scooter, doing my typically French countryside riding.