“Fuck no, I don’t want to go to Paris.” —Me before I went to Paris and loved it.
Don’t hate me too much. But I really had little to no interest in going to Paris. I would’ve chosen 50 other cities before choosing Paris. Overrated, smelly and dirty are all things I had heard of in relation to Paris. I guess most big cities come accompanied by those types of adjectives, right? I have to say, though, that the idea of Paris being one of the most-romantic cities in the world also made me throw up in my mouth a little. However, I must confess that Paris gifted me with one of my favorite travel stories to tell.
Due to our budget and my extensive pre-trip research, four of my friends and I headquartered in five different Airbnbs during each leg of our two-week European adventure. In Paris, our walk-up two-bedroom apartment was located in a limbo area right between the southern part of the 10th arrondissement and the northern part of Le Marais, just a couple of blocks away from the Porte Saint-Martin. I know that might mean nothing to ya, but that’s why Google Maps exists.
After two of us had showered on the first day, we realized that the water wasn’t going down the drain completely. In fact, it was beginning to grossly gather on the floor of the walk-in shower. After that, we tried to be conscious of how much water we used and how long our showers took. (Except for Gabe, he still took some long-ass showers.) Showering in Paris meant I had to get in, get wet, turn off the water, soap up/shampoo my hair, turn on the water, rinse off, turn off the water … and you get the idea. Despite our efforts to save water and time, the water kept on forming a disgusting little pool of soaped-up dirty water ::gags::.
The next day, we had all planned to do different things on our own during the morning. The recently engaged couple (now married; cue the wedding march!) Tania and Alfredo had planned to visit a Masonic Lodge, Gabe had planned to go to the Catacombs, and Carlos and I had planned to meet up with Gabe later because we didn’t want to leave at the crack of dawn.
A much-needed brisk breeze flew in through the tall open window in the slightly stuffy bedroom, while I sat on the floor doing my makeup in front of a floor mirror and Carlos showered. I was minding my own damn business and beating my face to on-fleek oblivion, when all of a sudden I hear Carlos yell from the shower, “Is the water overflowing?”
I kind of popped my head out of the room without getting up from the floor and saw nothing. “No!” I carelessly yelled back and continued to get my face on fleek. “Are you sure?!” he insisted. I, being who I am, rolled my eyes and actually moved my body so I could fully see the door of the bathroom.
What I saw next almost made me pee my pants. It was as if the single step that led up to the bathroom had metamorphed into a tiny waterfall of doom. Our doom. Our Airbnb doom. Let’s be honest, the first thing that came to my mind was the bad review I was surely going to get because of this! As my mind raced through all kinds of irrational scenarios, many of which included Airbnb hosts forever not wanting to host me in their places, the tiny waterfall kept raging on. The water was spreading all over the ironically stylish gray laminate flooring of the living room, where several of Gabe’s belongings found themselves astray.
Then, the real panic set in. “OH, MY GOD!” I yelled. I heard Carlos ask what was going on from the shower. I ungracefully sprung up from the floor and began to uselessly pace back and forth while the water got closer and closer to the bedroom. I desperately looked for a mop or broom, or frankly, any other possible cleaning utensil we could’ve used to save ourselves from the biblical-flood disaster we were facing.
All I could hear were Carlos’s OH SHITs and his steps splashing on the floor as he walked out of the bathroom with a face full of hilarious disbelief. We tried to clean up with some paper towels we found in the kitchen, but it was obviously too much water for one measly roll of le Bounty. We gave up and fearfully messaged our host. Fifteen minutes later, he walked in and saw the watery mess that had ravaged his Parisian two-bedroom apartment.
“What happened?!” He asked. I stood frozen in silence not knowing what to say or how begin to explain what had happened, because I didn’t even know what had happened. I waited for Carlos to save the day, but he, too, remained in silence. For a second, I thought I was going to cry. I didn’t.
“WHAT HAPPENED?!” He asked again in a slightly angrier tone, his voice a smidge louder, and I thought to myself, “Das it, I’m going to have to fight this French dude.” Both Carlos and I began to messily and apologetically explain what had happened (even though we knew it wasn’t even our fault!). The guy calmed down and said he’d be back with something to clean up. Needless to say, and unfortunately for me, there was no fight and I didn’t get to show off the fighting skills I learned from religiously watching the Bad Girls Club.
I expected this dude to show up with an army of French ass mops so that we could clean up. Instead, he showed up with two black trash bags full of towels. TOWELS. He brought TOWELS to clean up a flooded apartment. And no mops. Do the French use mops? I don’t even know. But I kept thinking, “Where the fuck did he get SO MANY towels?!” He gave me a small tower of towels and I got on my knees to wipe up the water that had spread throughout most of the living room in that freaking Parisian apartment. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. Me. On my knees. CLEANING. In Paris. The fuck?
While Carlos and I cleaned, the guy went into the bathroom to figure out what was wrong with the shower. A few minutes later, he walked out holding a vile-looking big ass ball of hair and said that it must be the reason why the shower was flooding. I said “No shit,” in my head. But I knew for a fact that, judging by the size of the ball, it HAD to be much more than two day’s worth of hair. There was NO WAY we could’ve collectively lost that much hair in only two days.
And not much happened afterward, besides us wiping the whole damn thing. This flooded French odyssey ends with the shower working perfectly fine the rest of the time we were in Paris. And I lived to tell about it — without any fights.
I ended up loving Paris despite the strong smell of days-old piss in certain corners and the obvious smell of romance that in no way pertained to me in the air. One of my favorite memories from that short stint in the City of Lights was seeing the Eiffel Tower twinkle and sparkle when the sun went down. And Montmartre’s Sacre Cour, surrounded by the most-quintessential cobblestone streets, was charming, as was the view from the top. By the way, if you don’t want to walk up ALL those stairs, and I’m telling you it’s a climb, there’s a funicular that’ll take you up the hill (something I found out about until AFTER we had walked to the top).
Paris is one of those places you HAVE to visit at least once, if only for the sake of being able to say that you’ve done it. I’m glad my friends went against my grumpy-cat ass and decided to keep it on our list — because I totally couldn’t have lived my life the same way without being able to tell the story of the time we flooded an apartment in Paris. How many people can say that?
Please delight in the visual representation of our trip below.