The Parisians. They walk fast, I think I may of heard that somewhere before.
They walk really fast – more of a “pace with a purpose”, I witnessed it for myself, as I struggled to rotate ways of walking to make my already aching muscles, ache less. They walk because Paris is the walking capital of the World. It makes sense, there are beautiful things to see everywhere, from the corner coffee shop to the grand museums and sculptures. Beauty has imprinted itself on every stone, crack, brick and polished granite.
Jessica and I followed a Parisian walk through a few streets, few streets meaning a few blocks. A few blocks with 15 minutes, now that’s no strolling or gazing of the surroundings, that was running to catch up with her. There was a point that, we admittedly, lost her on purpose later that day. She was determined to show us that one bakery with the best prices, that one bar that has memorable drinks so it must have great coffee, and to show us how to hop trains. We greatly appreciated her interest to show us around, but it was rather speedy that we couldn’t even take in anything.
Hop trains means exactly as it sounds, to hop over the guard rails of the ticket booths, to quickly follow behind a paying customer through the turnstiles and to not get caught doing so. I was watching a pro, or should I say, delinquent at their finest as she hunted down the most convenient victim to stalk. Her goal being to catch the wind of the turnstile as a paying victim put their paid ticket in and passed through the metal device. She spotted her victim! She slowly came behind them, as a lion to its deer, in the busiest station of Paris, and she attacked! She launched up, and went through that metal machine as if it was her bitch. Apologize for the vulgarity. She glided in, almost rhythmically, behind the lady who never even saw her approach and was as close to her as you would be in closing of a kiss with your spouse would put you. She slid through the ticket turnstile within a half of a second of the woman before her. She came out on the other end a winner, or should I say, a delinquent. She just saved herself 3€. I could imagine how much that would save over time. Jessica and I, at first, were hesitant. We handed over a few euros each and went through the turnstile numbingly, that’s the right way to do it and a tourist way to do it. Once we came to our second time to pay for another train, we firmly did not want to. Since we saw the brief view of rainbows and fairies featuring free trains and the hopping train life style, we were intrigued! Jessica watched her little possible preys like a eager daughter of a lioness, and she went for it! She followed behind someone and then the unimaginable happened, she got stuck!!! She didn’t move fast enough, or the giant backpack on her back acted as if she trying to sneak in two people through the turnstile at once. We do not know what the caused the failure. We may never know. But she got stuck, the metal doors got stuck behind her and in front of her backpack, she wiggled ferociously trying to get herself free. Her little arms flaring back and forth. The Parisian woman that we were following, whom we met from our last host, grabbed ahold of Jessica with both of her hands on both backpack straps of Jessica’s and shook her back and forth to get her lose. An Indian man came from behind and tried to push her free. The longest 10 seconds, I am sure for Jessica, till she was able to wiggle herself free. It was a sight Ill wish forever, that I had caught on camera. I cried tears from laughter.
Needless to say, we never tried again. I’m sure the money saved would be large, but not worth the humiliation or the chances of being caught by a police in a foreign country!!! (Plus they do random ticket checks in the metros themselves.)
Well.. We did do it again. Yet, a different method. We applied the A and B concept. Person A buys the ticket, the smaller person of the two. Person B gets right on person A’s back and they both slide through easily. That way, there is no stalking, no humiliation and no chance of the unknowingly person you were trying to follow, turning around and lashing at ya.