Our arrival in Paris marked our return to the western “cultured” world…or so we thought. That notion was dashed the 1st night at dinner when 2 French gentleman had a tiff that resulted in one body slamming the other into a table. The table split in the middle and shattered plates and glasses. There was an undercover cop at the table next to us who pulled his gun and broke up the meelee. I didn’t feel bad about eating with my elbows on the table after that.
We had a few days to spend in Paris before heading to Hossegor and the next day we met our friends Tom and JL at the Louvre. Picking a tourist hot spot like that was not our brightest idea as it was packed and it was like trying to find “Waldo”. We were so stoked to see them that we walked around in circles and really saw nothing but the Mona Lisa.
The next mandatory stop was the Eiffel Tower where we sat in the grass, ate cheese and drank bottles of wine purchased from hawkers in the park for a couple of Euros. The next few hours turned into a blur and before I knew it we were singing and taking absinthe shots. I had not had a big night out in months and was clearly in over my head. Things got a bit fuzzy as we found our way back to our hotel (it was more like a closet) in the wee hours of the morning.
The alarm rudely brought me back to a miserable consciousness. My head felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck and my mouth felt as if I had just attempted the “Saltine Challenge”. We had to check out of our room at 10am and meet Tom and JL to pick up a rental car for the drive to Hossegor. I took some Tylenol and we hired a cab. The cabby was weaving in and out of traffic and the Parisian roundabouts were relentless. I felt like I was on the Octopus ride in Coolangatta again. He pulled up to a red light in front of the Louvre. The Tylenol, the roundabouts, the absinthe, the viscous throbbing in my brain, the wine…it was too much. I had reached the tipping point and told him to wait while I hopped out and bolted to a tiny patch of bushes. I wretched and grunted like Maria Sharapova as I spent the next minute hunched over. I turned around to see a small crowd of pasty tourists with high socks and fanny packs gawking at me. Several old ladies were shaking their heads and a younger kid gave me the thumbs up as I wiped tears from my eyes and ran back to the cab. We finally got to Tom and JL’s hotel. I hobbled in slowly, in the manner of an invalid, and planted my derriere on the couch in reception. Thankfully, they let me spend the next few hours there in my personal hell. I didn’t recover until several hours later as we were on the road to Hossegor at which point I had written off drinking for good.