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Saturday, September 23, 2023


City of lights brightens UH students’ experience

After seeing the last train back to our hostel across the platform, James Cox, Aaron D’Souza and I raced to it. As we descended on the other side of the platform, the train’s†doors were closing, but fortunately they were just in Cox’s reach. He opened them and we ran in. A split second too late would’ve meant an expensive cab ride to the distant MIJE.

Minutes later we arrived in our neighborhood, but D’Souza, still irritated by the waiter at the cafe at not bringing the beer he ordered, wanted another drink. So, as 2 a.m. approached we searched for a place that was still open.

We noticed a restaurant, but right as we entered Cox spotted a rat running across the kitchen floor. Preferring a cleaner place, we turned†around and left. There was one bar open, but we saw no waiter, and there were steps to a dungeon-like area glowing with red lights. We knew if we went down there we might not come out alive, so we left.

Upon our arrival, the MIJE’s door was locked and the doorman’s seat was empty. We searched for him, and a member of our party (who shall remain nameless) had to relieve himself – on the MIJE’s sidewalk. A moment later, after walking to the MIJE’s back door, I heard a loud splash, then a curse word. Someone, nobody knows who to this day, had dumped a bucket, full of an unidentified water-like liquid, on the person relieving himself.

Our friends John Nguyen and Daryl McDowell, waiting for our arrival, were looking down at us from their room windows. As the bucket recipient drunkenly cursed his unknown assailants and challenged them†to reveal themselves, the doorman finally opened the door after pretending not to see us while†on his cellphone. We returned before 2 a.m. after all.

Everyone had to pack and evacuate†their rooms by noon, so we woke early and dined on†croissants and baguettes, which we washed down with unlimited hot chocolate and orange juice. Then Cox, myself, Willie Wright and Roger Ranton began exploring Paris. We visited the Notre Dame for the first time, and arrived right as mass was beginning.

As the service began, the room became smoky with incense. Notre Dame’s crowd was huge. We then walked along the Seine River to Le Louvre. This area had many souvenir vendors, so we bought keychains, vintage black-and-white postcards and books.

We went to a cafe, staying for nearly two hours, talking about life and our future plans. As we talked about ourselves, we realized we had close†mutual acquaintances that we didn’t know about before.

Though we partied often in France, it was balanced with relaxed, contemplative moments such as these.

We visited the Louvre one last time and headed to the Latin Quarter for lunch.

Unlike Angers’ abundance of kebab shops, the†Quarter instead had many†falafel sandwich places.†After sampling many†falafels, we had some delicious sandwiches.

While walking and eating, a bird dropping landed on Cox’s shoulder, which went unnoticed until†Jason "Cousteau" Godfrey pointed and asked "Is that bird poop on your shirt?" Cox promptly switched to a red University of Houston shirt.

We still had one more item on our to-do list: seeing L’Arc de Triomphe.†We†took the Metro†to L’Arc, and it was amazing to see it with my own eyes. It is huge, and the street to cross to get to†it was also very wide, so we had to walk an underground path.

Satisfied after a great final day in Paris, we went to a cafe across the street from the Gare Montparnasse train station an hour before†returning to Angers, relaxed on the patio and reflected on the weekend.

As we rode the train back to Angers, we thought about all the unforgettable memories of the last 48 hours: our first excursion in Paris.

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