Sunday, 16 January 2011

New Friends and Projectile Vomiting

You know those frozen sausages I had a 'mare with last week that turned out to be in fact not sausages, but instead some weird spongy meat-pudding hybrid?* Well they came back to haunt me.

On Friday I noticed there was one left in the fridge, I don't know which kid didn't eat it but that just goes to show how hung over I was that I was sat at the table with three kids and didn't notice that one of them left a big sausage-hybrid on their plate. From my vast experience of every French family that ever lived, i.e. two families, I can confirm that The French do not throw food away. They are very good at not wasting food and will keep everything in the fridge, or in some alarming cases on the kitchen side, for days.

With this is mind, I decided to eat the leftover sausage thing with some leftover potatoes while the kids had fresh fish and veg. I am after all, just the servant and a shit one at that, so I deserve nothing better than the scraps. I just didn't realise that they were week-old scraps. So that's meat. Frozen meat I cooked on a Friday. And ate the following Friday. As I ate it I thought 'No, no, no, no...' but my very distant Scottish roots kicked in and a conflicting voice shouted in a (very authentic) Glasgow accent 'Ye've a stumack if iren! Eat it!' so I ate it.

But before I reveal the terrible consequences to my Questionable Sausage Consummation, let me discuss Friday night. Please, let me.

O.k so on Friday night I wasn't going to go out because I am completely skint. I know it's ridiculous because I now get four times the salary I was getting, but I have no money whatsoever, so I thought I should probably stay in and think upon my bad spending habits and maybe, just maybe, I would learn the lesson I have been trying to teach myself for four years, ever since I blew my first ever student loan installment on a pair of boots from FCUK. (I still have them now though, so what lesson did I really learn? I know I say this every couple of days but I'm trying to drum it into the world and single-handedly save the economy: You only regret what you don't spend.)

However, before I could realise the error of my spend-happy ways, my newish friend Clare popped up on Facebook Chat (what else would I be doing- learning French?) and said she would lend me money if I went out with her and her friend to Social Club. So obviously, I went out.

We went for pre-drinking at Clare's friend Anna's flat, although really it is a little room at the top of six flights of stairs, it's all very 'The Little Princes'. I would actually love it as I have decided I'm suffering from Cinderella Syndrome, an infliction that encourages me get into bad situations (case in point, forty euros a week and grated carrot for dinner) just so I can mope around smugly saying to myself 'Aren't I just like Cinderella?'

Anyway, we went to a bar near Social Club first and found our way by asking strangers and at one point imitating the bass of an electro song by going 'mm-ch-mm-ch-mm-ch-mm-ch-mm-ch' in order to communicate the type of music we were looking for.

By the time we found the club we were quite drunk and were pretending to be from London. All French people want you to be from London so it's just easier to agree enthusiastically when they say excitedly 'You are from London?'. Unless you want to talk about Manchester United. Which I never will. Because I hate them. But that is neither here not there.

The bouncers at Social Club were very Stern and Rude and reminded us of prison guards and when we got inside it wasn't much better. It was so hot and crammed that we went to the smoking area for a bit of air only to discover that the 'smoking area' is a windowless room that is so full of smoke your eyes burn. The prison feeling grew and grew and the music- Don Rimini- wasn't helping. I don't know much about music but I know what I like and it's not Parisian electro house euro trash. We had a good dance but the crazed Don Rimini fans on the dancefloor got the better of us and we called it quits at about half three.

It wasn't as simple as deciding to 'just go home' though. The one thing I have learnt this weekend is that it is Too Hard to get a taxi in Paris. Seriously, if you are reading this and you are planning on visiting Paris, take taxis out of the equation, they cannot be relied upon. If you manage to get one, they're not over-priced and it's a nice way to see Paris, but you probs won't manage to get one. So give it up. Wait for the last metro or look into the night buses (noctillien).

We waited so long for a taxi that we had to go and have a meal in a restaurant but eventually we managed to get one, although I can't remember where, when or how.

It was a good night, but it did put me off Social Club. The only other time I've been is to see that Dubstep DJ but it was a lot quieter then and I didn't go in the smoking room and the bouncers didn't seem as bastardy. For thirteen euros in and ten euros a drink I'd only go again if it was someone I really wanted to see.

On Saturday I slept until four pm. I felt bad when I woke up because I slept all day last Saturday and Sunday and this weekend I vowed to make the most of Paris, but if I don't set an alarm my natural wake-up time is 3pm. 4pm was an hour too much sleep and I felt it. My room was messy, I had no food in, no money and I'd gone to bed with my make-up so I looked like the Corpse Bride, only fatter.

Miraculously, I found thirty two quid in my English purse, so I made the perilous journey to Gare du Nord and exchanged it at the Eurostar terminal. They gave me thirty euros for it, which is weird. I don't understand money though, in my head one euro will always be one pound sterling and there is nothing anyone can say to make me see sense.

With my thirty euros I topped up my Navigo for the week and bought a bottle of milk, some apples and two bars of Milka. I'm not really sure why but if I could turn back the hands of time, I would. I've not bought chocolate since I've come back from Christams and I thought I was turning over a new leaf, but clearly not. I ate the two bars of Milka as soon as I got in and then had an apple to balance things out a bit. As I had no money and no food I decided to go to bed early in order to get up and do something productive on Sunday...

But then the temptation came- people asking me to go out... I kept saying no and was resigned to put a film on and go to bed when Anna, Clare's friend who I met on Friday, popped up on Facebook Chat:

There's a drum and bass night on!
I'm skint
I'll lend you fifty euros!
What time are we meeting?

So off I went into the night. I debated whether to wear my Adidas jacket or not, but I decided sportswear is never appropiate in Paris, but I did put my big scally-looking chain on, just to get me in the mood. When we got there I saw loads of people in sportswear and it was like London had come to Paris for the night, maybe because it was an Innovation night, a big Drum & Bass promoter. (Apparently... I don't know- I like going to ceilidhs.)

The venue was Elysse Montmarte which is kind of like a big, grimey gig venue. It was eighteen euros to get in but it was a big night and we were just pleased that we could buy a ticket on the door. Inside it was standard Paris Drinks Prices- ten euros for a spirit and nine euros for a pint of Kroenburg. Me and Anna stuck to Kroenburg but after one pint I started feeling a bit funny. We went outside for a bit (thankfully there was a real smoking area, unlike Social Club) which is where we met Renaud. We had seen Renaud dancing hilariously inside and decided he is the sort of French friend we need to have. He promised he would take us all to 'ze best clubs' and that he would let us speak French to him, which is more than most Parisians.

Inside we kept bumping into him and having a comedy dance together. The music was good. As well as DJ Hype there was loads of MCs and smaller DJs: DJ Phantasy, DJ Brockie, MC Shabba and DJ Cotesy. It was worth the eighteen euros.

The Drum & Bass was just what I needed to get over Don Romini and his hideous euro trash techno house electro noise. Everyone was there to dance and there were loads of people with rucksacks who looked like they had come to Paris specifically for the Innovation night. It was funny hearing the MCs go on and on in English and occassionally yell 'Big up the Paris Massive'.

I could have bounced about throwing my hands in the air all night but at three am the sick feeling that had been gurgling away inside me finally got too much for me to dance. You know when your jaw goes all wobbly and you get loads of water in your mouth and you know what's coming? Well I had that and were squashed at the front surounded by crusties with huge rucksacks and unfeasibly wide trousers, all swishing their dreadlocks against me. I turned to Anna and managed to say 'I think I'm going to be sick' but then my cheeks bulged and I had to turn and run to the side of the crowd where I Vomited. A Lot.

We went to the toilet because I had sick coming out of my nose (I hope you're eating your dinner as you read this) and it was all over my hands from wiping my mouth. But in the toilet there was no toilet paper and the horror of the situation began to dawn on me. I smelt of sick. There was sick in my nose. There was SICK. Inside. My NOSE.

Thankfully, a French girl saw my pain, introduced herself as Mary Poppins and then got some tissues out of her bag for me, so I got rid of the sick and went back to dance. I felt a lot better after being sick, but I still didn't know what the hell had happened. All I'd eaten that day was two bars of Milka chocolate and there is no quanity of chocolate in the world that would make me throw up.

We even managed to get a free drink off someone who fancied Anna; him and his friends had bought a bottle of vodka for their table and he insisted we have some. I thought somehow the vodka would help matters.

We danced for a bit more but at about five am we decided enough was enough. DJ Hype was gone and the music wasn't as good and I was starting to feel sick again. After our previous night's trouble getting a taxi we decided the noctillien was our best bet of getting home, but the trouble with the night bus is finding it as the bus stops seem to be randomly sprinkled across the city with no regrad for logic or convenience.

Elysse Montmarte is, as I'm sure you could have guessed, in Montmarte, so we walked to Pigalle where Anna was sure there was a night bus. As we walked from the club to Pigalle Anna got a kebab and I projectile vomited on the street. It's not really 'done' to eat in public in Paris, they expect everyone to only get hungry when you are sat at home or happen to have a few hours spare to go and eat in a resteraunt, so everyone kept saying Bon Appetit to Anna, and I mean Everyone.

As we walked, the type of people on the streets get shadier and shadier and I was feeling sicker and sicker. Finally, when we reached the Sexodrome, I projectile vomited on the side of a building and we realised we were in the sex district. I knew the sex district was there but everything looks different at night, but it suddenly seemed obvious why everyone around us happened to be a Bad Weirdo.

Luckily, nobody gave us much trouble because I was being sick everywhere and nobody likes to rape a girl while she is violently throwing up or, shock horror, eating a kebab in public. Even though Pigalle was a dodgy place to end up, we did find the night bus stand next to the metro but even more amazingly, we found about ten taxis waiting there. Clearly prostitutes are better customers than ravers because there were none at all near Social Club on Friday yet here were lots, just sitting in the sex district waiting for me to stop vomiting.

I must have thrown up about six or seven times (I like to think seven, my magic number) and Anna commented that it could only be food poisoning which made me think of that bastard sausage-hybrid thing. Food poisoning can take 48 hours to work its slimy way through your system so it must have been that.

By the time we got in the taxi I felt better and for real this time, not like before when I kept thinking I was fine and then throwing up again. We climbed up the six flights of stairs to Anna’s little room and went to sleep, not before Anna told me nervously where the toilet was in case I needed to be sick again. It’s never fun having Vomiting Girl to sleep-over is it?

Sunday was not wasted in bed like it would have been had I stayed at mine. Instead, we got up at noon and walked to the Bois de Boulogne, which is a big park in West Paris. On the way we somehow ended up sitting down to eat in a ridiculously expensive restaurant. We were a bit hungry and were looking for somewhere to grab a croissant, but then we wandered into a nice-looking restaurant and by the time we’d read the menu and realised we couldn’t afford it we were too embarrassed to leave. It was still quite embarrassing when the waiter asked us if we were having our shared pizza to start- Non, c’est tout.

The Bois de Boulogne was lovely, it reminded me of parks I have been to in England. It was also nice chatting to my New Friend and it made me realise that I am not the Social Retard I think I am. With girls I can make friends really quickly. With boys however… I can count the number of boys I would call ‘friends’ on one hand. Boys are for having awkward sex with and then projecting hate onto. (Just read that sentence back to myself. I will now Google ‘English-speaking therapists in Paris’.)

After the Bois de Boulogne we met Clare and went to the Sacre Coeur, which I haven’t been to yet, even though I’ve been here for four and a half months. What have you been doing? I hear you ask. Sleeping, mostly and borrowing money off people. I’ll leave you with some wonky pictures I took:

*I've just used Google to discover the sausage-hybrid was Boudin Blanc, a French culinary treat described as both 'milk sausage with cognac' and 'French white pudding' so that clears that up...

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