SJ on the Move

Monday, May 17, 2010

High fashion

So, after spending the morning hoping my luggage would arrive, I eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to happen. AirFrance seemed so efficient at the lost luggage center, taking my name, assigning me a case file I could access from the internet, giving me a toiletries bag, etc., I really believed they were going to find my bag quickly. But, to no avail. BTW, if there is such a thing as pyschological disorder whereby a person brushes their teeth too often, they should give them the toothbrush that comes in the AirFrance emergency toiletries kit - they will be cured of their toothbrushing compulsion in no time.

So, since I didn't want my travel adventure to be for nothing, I decided I would go out and buy some clothes for my meeting. I asked the concierge where to go, and they directed me to this little pedestrian mall near the hotel. So, I went over there and went in the only clothing store I could find, but it seemed to be 'surfing style' clothing, which I didn't think was much of an upgrade over my jeans and T-shirt. So, I went back to the concierge for more information, and they gave me the name of a specific store in the pedestrian mall.

So, then I went back to the mall and found the store. I walked around the store, and couldn't really find anything appropriate. They asked me if I needed help and I said "I'm looking for men's clothes". They said "Sure, right here and pointed to a rack". I looked at the clothes and said "No, I'm sorry, you must have misunderstood, I'm looking for clothes for a MAN". They replied, "Yes, right here" and held up something like a cross between the 'Pirate shirt' from the Seinfeld episode and a Nehru jacket. I said,"Thank you, but that's not really what I had in mind".

So, I went back to the concierge again, and told them I couldn't find anything at the store, so they told me I should go to the mall. I went to the taxi stand, and then realized I no longer had any cash. I asked if they would take credit cards, and he said no, so I had to find an ATM. I looked around for one, unsuccessfully, and then headed - back to the concierge - who gave me directions to an ATM a few blocks later.

I get to the ATM, and it was one where you put your card in, and you have about 3 seconds to open the door before it locks again. Unfortunately, the handle of the door was broken off, so there were just a few shards of metal there. I tried 3 or 4 times to put my card in, and pull open the door by using the shards of metal, but I just couldn't do it. So, I went and found another ATM.

Flush with cash, I returned to the taxi stand and asked to go to the mall. The cab driver said "It's just right there, 2 minutes walk". So, I got out of the cab, walked 5 minutes in the direction he said, and there was no mall. So, I went back to......the concierge and asked again where the mall was. Well, it definitely wasn't within walking distance. I went back to the cab stand, and asked again to go to the Bercy 2 mall, but they didn't know what I was talking about. So, I headed back to the hotel, but decided to give it one more go and returned to the taxi stand and finally found one of them who understood where I wanted to go.

I finally got to the mall (time was getting tight now) and went to the store the concierge told me to go to. As I had feared, all the sizes were different than what I was used to, so I was completely lost. I asked for help from someone who helped me out, but I couldn't find anything appropriate in my size at the store. So, I went to another store, where they found me something appropriate - but all the pants were unhemmed, and wouldn't be ready until next week. "No, I'm sorry, but I need these pants right now". So, I went to a 3rd store and found success after taking a bunch of pants into the dressing room and figuring out my size in EU standards.

I raced back to my hotel room to quickly change before my meeting equipped with some dress pants and a nice dress shirt. Of course, upon opening up the dress shirt I realized that it was short sleeves. Oh well, no real option at this point. I may look like somebody from Office Space, but I had less than 15 minutes before I needed to leave for my meeting. Second problem, the shirt was incredibly wrinkled with that "fresh out of the box look". Fine, I'll just iron it. No iron in my room. So, I call down to the front desk "I need an iron - STAT!" Of course, I didn't really say "STAT", because they probably wouldn't know what that means, since I'm not sure anyone in the US really knows what it means, either, but Americans are more likely to have seen the term used on ER so they at least understand the sense of urgency.

Thankfully, even without punctuating my request with "STAT" the iron arrived in short order. I ironed my shirt, and fled to my meeting. Which, I might add turned out to be in an entirely different area of town than I thought it was going to be, as my client moved their world headquarters (how often does that happen?). But, I did make it there on time.


At 2:37 PM, Blogger Kansas Mom said...

Hmm, apparently purchasing clothes in Paris is not as easy as it seems in all those novels. I'm glad you finally found something remotely appropriate. Too bad you can't get the airline to pay for it.

I remember now that our experience with a concierge in Paris was similar. Namely, not as helpful as you would have hoped.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Joel said...

Another great Seinfeld episode in the making...

Good luck making it back home--hope it goes much smoother.


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