Wednesday, October 27, 2004

How to..

get out of paying a public transport infringement fine...

To get to the appeals office before it shut, I raced from one end of Paris to the other in a record-breaking time of 40 minutes armed with the dodgiest 'I can not speak French very well' accent I could pull off, in an optimistic attempt to talk my way out of paying a 50 euro public transport fine:
"I did not understand"
"it was the first monthly pass I ever bought"
"they did not tell me" *struggles slightly with verb conjugation for effect*

Context? I'd been caught late one night down ye olde subway system with a monthly pass that DID NOT CONFORM (I hadn't got around to attaching an oh-my-god what happened to my face? replica of myself - aka a passport photo - to my pass) . While I tried to explain my laissez-faire attitude to the ticket officer using a subtle mixture of half-truths, ignorance and argumentiveness, I could tell from the look of aggressive disdain and barely concealed resentment that she wasn't buying it. Actually the pass was a spare that had been given to me a week before (however, confessing that a pass has been given to you is tantamont to declaring high treason before the state, best to keep that information to ones self).

So I had the choice of paying 25 euros on the spot, or 50 before 2 months was up (if not, the fine just keeps increasing exponentially until you have a sum resembling the national yearly expenditure on baguettes). Having no money, and not inclined to hand over 25 euros to the conformist police even if I was more financially liberated, I went with the delayed payment and an 'I'm a slightly confused female' explanation plan to get me out of it (no, where 50 euros is concerned, I have no shame).

You'll be thrilled/dismayed/uninterested to learn that my crafty plan worked, which only goes to show that dishonesty pays off.

The moral to this story is that, at best, some stories have ambiguous morals.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

old and dusty

So, after living in Paris for over two months, I finally hauled derriere to check out one of Europe's largest collections of 'look at all the stuff we stole from other civilisations' (though, granted, some of it was bought...) aka the Louvre - a building with a very long history having first been constructed sometime in the 1100's as a fortress (no-one needed museums back then you see, everything was new, but they did need to protect themselves from other folks set on stealing all their stuff that would itself later end up in a museum).

That's probably ironic somehow. Lets progress...

After a time, the Louvre lost its military significance and became a royal residence, where very rich people could loll about being decadent all day - until it got plundered by the English (amongst others) in the 1400s who came and nicked all their stuff to put in their own museums (told you it was going to be ironic, right?) Anyway, eventually it became a museum in its own right (after all the lolling nobles had their heads chopped off), though there are certain areas that make you feel like you're about to bump into a very annoyed man in breeches demanding to know why all these peasants are trampling through his hall