ParisScope: Metro Ride from Hell!

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Jan 31st, 2006, 09:00 AM
  #1
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ParisScope: Metro Ride from Hell!

I've ridden the Paris metro for years and love every ride - or at least i did until one 'ride from hell' i took last December. It was on the line from Gare de l'Est to Austerlitz, a line i ride often and a line that attracts mainly blue collar riders and lots of immigrants - fine no problem with that.
But at one stop shortly after leaving Gare de l'Est a clochard got on - visibly drunk and clad in what seemed like several heavy dirty coats, he had trouble even getting on the train, which was quite full with only a folding seat by the entrance left vacant so he tumbled towards it and plopped down. Soon a nice prim and proper lady sitting next to him decided to stand up and heading for the rear door - getting off at the next exit she made that motion of waving her hands in front of her nose as to the stench that by now was even wafting to the rear of the car - she got off and reboarded another car. Now the stench had fully permeated the car and all the seats around the clochard (wino) were empty and at each exit people bailed out - finally there were just a few folks left and the clochard seemingly oblivious to it all - still clutching his half-filled bottle of cheap wine and occasionally swigging a bit of it.
This type of incident is rare and i found it rather amusing and sad at the same time.
Have you had any memorable metro rides?
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Jan 31st, 2006, 09:07 AM
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I recall one ride on the tube where a woman who hadn't bathed in years was standing near us. She saw my mom's Harrod's bag and tried to sneak her hand into it. Mom snatched the bag away and gave her a dirty look. She then exited at the next stop, much to everyone's relief.

I suppose that woman thought she would snag a Rolex from Mom's bag. Little did she know that all we bought at Harrod's was candy.

I recall another metro ride in Munich where a couple of drunks overheard us speaking English and asked if we were American. When we said yes, they started singing, "Country Roads, Take Me Home." (Remember that old John Denver tune?) Then they sang "Hang on Sloopy." It was hysterically funny!!
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Jan 31st, 2006, 09:26 AM
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I guess being from NYC, the unsasvory train riders are routine. In Paris, my memorable metro rides have all been positive - great entertainment! Music (traditional French, classical, American pop) and a very memorable puppet show.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 10:47 AM
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The puppet show! Was yours two young guys, one held up a 'curtain' while the other one did a hand-puppet routine? Absolutely hysterical, I've never forgotten it.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Speaking of the puppet show reminds me of the 'Ninja' street entertainer that 'terrorized' all the tourists on the steps at Sacre Coeur. My face hurt very badly from an afternoon of laughter at this guy's antics, miming/mimicking the local 'flics', getting in/out of taxis, lying on the ground in front of the street cleaners, and sneaking up behind Japanese girls, who giggled and screamed as they scattered. Haven't seen him since 1999...
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Jan 31st, 2006, 11:12 AM
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It helps if you like accordion music, especially bad accordion music played on old accordions when riding the metro - these guys seem to be a fixture.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 11:14 AM
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We loved the old Greek woman singing Karaoke style to a boom box for change. What was great was that her lips weren't even in time with the music. It was like she was singing a completely different song, kinda like Ashley Simpson on Saturday Night Live.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 12:34 PM
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We took our kids to Paris a couple of years ago. They were 13, 11 and 8 at the time. We live in Dallas (a driving city) and don't use public transportation. In Paris, we used public transportation exclusively.

We had just arrived and were sitting on the train at CDG, waiting to ride into Paris. Right before the doors closed, a very old, very dirty man entered with his accordian. My kids' eyes were huge! I guess we hadn't told them about what they might experience on public transportation in Paris.
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Jan 31st, 2006, 12:44 PM
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I've ridden the train from Roissy (CDG) many times and there always, always is an old guy playing the accordion! Always, always!
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Jan 31st, 2006, 05:17 PM
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Why yes I do remember one ride I'll never forget.

I can't remember the ligne it was on, but it was early in the evening.

Two young, attractive Frenchmen were...ahem being very friendly with eachother.

My friend who was with me at the time was so mesmerized she wrote a story about it.

liz
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Jan 31st, 2006, 06:25 PM
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It happened in New York, not Paris. I used to commute into the city to go to school. There was frequently a scruffily-dressed guy who would board the subway and begin blasting off-key notes out of an extremely dented old saxophone. In the enclosed space, it would really hurt your ears. He would play until people started giving him change to move on. I never succumbed to his trick - it seemed too much like blackmail. Sure could give you a headache though.
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