May 29: Tourist-ing at Eiffel & French Open Day 2
No, I did not scream. Nor did anyone else.
The bed did. It continued to creak but not for reasons your mind must have imagined.
Or didn’t imagine. It’s a hostel bed after all, you expect it to creak at the drop of every breath.
Breakfasts at hostels don’t have a grand spread by any imagination – even paid ones – but this one does have an assortment of breads and coffee. Of course you need to understand their French equivalent names to know which is what.
It’s day two at the French Open & this is the day to look forward to. As it turns out, I end up meeting the same lady at the railway ticket counter at Gare du Nord as the previous day.
Ask for a ticket to Roland-Garros & she repeats the same question she had yesterday – “but which station is that?”
I point it out on the map. And then I politely remind her, I was the same guy who asked for the same ticket the previous day.
She instantly remembers because of the amount of time she had to spend in dishing out that one railway ticket. Flashes a smile and says, “Yes, but I forget station for Roland-Garros”.
Ohlan-Garosh. That’s what they say in case you are wondering about pronunciations.
A far tougher one is Franklin D Roosevelt. It’s a station name in Paris as well.
I will have to defer to this website here. Click on the second French option for its exact pronunciation.
Am lucky to find myself a ticket to Djokovic’s opener at Roland-Garros. Turns out to be a damp squib, in the sense it’s a one-sided encounter.
But the showman in Djokovic never disappoints. At the end of the match, he calls the ball-boys and girls over and does this little jig.
While the encounter doesn’t bring the crowd to its feet, this moment does.
In the neighbouring court, Rafael Nadal registers an even more convincing victory in his opener. I was a couple of other matches before leaving to catch the glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
Look, now I am no big fan of staring at monuments. But this is Eiffel Tower we are talking about. The real one, in flesh.
It’s about a kilometer away from this Metro station called Lena. Or Yena as it’s called.
The walk itself is a beautiful one, and the experience of finally spotting Eiffel gives a sense of an emotion that’s a tad hard to explain. You feel happy but then you don’t because hey, you have lost your Eiffel virginity.
The road leading to the Tower is cordoned off for motorists which allows tourists to stand right in the middle of that road to take as many shots, from as many angles as possible.
I help myself to a few dozens as well.
The thing about being in a city where the sun sets very late – usually after 9 pm in summers in Paris – is that you lose track of time. So it’s at around 8 pm when I realise it’s time to head back to hostel for a quick meal, some work & bit of prep for the cricket ahead.
Yes, cricket. Champions Trophy. The reason why I am in Europe.
Having covered a few cricket tournaments before this, some journalists opt to take a vacation at the end of the series. I look to have bucked the trend.
A three-day Paris vacation before the start of the competition in the UK.
Not that it’s going to stop me from taking one after the Champions Trophy too but that’s for later.
With a couple of burgers and an iced tea in tow, a television channel explaining the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370 in a language that’s equally mysterious to me, I scythe through whatever work that remains for the day.
Back in London tomorrow. Back with the cricket.