Discount Métro Passes

by Travis Oltmann


Our time in Paris had ended and saying goodbye proved difficult. I would miss the poetic rain and inspiring architecture, the grooved and powdered cobblestones beneath building walls that spewed graffiti, and the cloaked alleyways with bottles of cheap wine dangling from our fingers. It was everything I hoped it would be, which meant it wasn’t a postcard or hopeful imagination. Beauty mixed with the tangible. Drug dealers peddled underneath the illuminated Eiffel Tower at night, angry drivers swore at each other as they circled the Arc de Triomphe, and the Place de la Concorde was covered in bird shit.

Adventures were on the horizon, Spain awaited with sangrias, tapas, sunlight, and white-walled promenades. The only obstacle was getting to the Eurostar terminal somewhere off Fayette. When traveling, I’m not the type of person that likes to know what the day will bring. Wandering and last minute decisions have always yielded more memorable experiences than schedules or crowded attractions. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the ideal personality trait when we needed to catch a specific train and had no directions or general sense of where we were going. It also didn’t help that I drank three grand crèmes at a sidewalk bistro before leaving and had to stop every two blocks and find a washroom.

The three of us stumbled into a train station with the aid of blind luck and selective stupidity. Late and irritated, we hurried downstairs, rushing so we could blankly stare at the French metro lines for thirty minutes. Best bet memorized, we followed the crowd to the ticket kiosks.

Standing near the waiting commuters was a Parisian shouting about a deal in broken English. Naturally, being the thrifty travelers we were (beer money>comfort), we decided to investigate the bargain.

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