Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avoid eye contact

The past two days have not been very exciting. Since I had no thrilling sightseeing stories, I thought I would share a few words about riding the Paris Metro. At first, the subway system here was scary and confusing. It was full of sketchy people begging for money and there were so many different lines and tunnels, you could easily be lost in there for days!
After riding the Metro now for the past four months, it doesn't seem too bad. I am now used to the people going thorugh the trains asking for money, and seeing the homeless people sleeping on the seats. The one thing that I do still find amusing is the general rule of not to make eye contact with anyone.
At first I wondered why almost everyone of the train always had some sort of book or newspaper to look through, even if they were only going for two stops. I now know why. It is to insure that they will not make any eye contact with anyone else on the subway.
Just last week, while I was riding from Port d'Orleans to Reaumur Sebastopol a girl, about my age got on the train and sat beside me. As she sat, I looked over and made eye contact. BIG mistake. She waited a couple of minutes, then started loudly saying something fast in french that I couldn't understand. When I said "je parler anglais," she got up and moved seats. Who knows what that was all about. All I know is that if you make eye contact, you are opening yourself up to all the crazies on the train! So remeber if you are ever in Paris and riding the Metro, avert your eyes. Avoid all eye contact, or they'll single you out!

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