Friday, October 23, 2009

Now on to Paris

We caught the train at the St. Pancras International train station and of course we had to crack every "pancreas" joke we could think of. "Did I pack my pancreas?" "Don't touch my pancreas!" "My pancreas hurts!"...but I have a feeling that you really had to be there to enjoy the silliness.

The train ride took a couple of hours but I wouldn't have minded if ithad taken a couple of days. I love to ride on trains but I especially love to ride on trains where there is food and drinks served to you non-stop, there is laughs galore and the scenery gets more and more beautiful as each mile passes.

If you look really close you can see Tori's reflection in the left side of this picture of the French country side.
After several Bloody Mary's and about 100 hands of Gin Rummy Tori and Bek were very happy to get off of the train and let the world know that they were in France!
We hopped in to a taxi and had them take us to the Pullman Hotel in Paris. This used to be a Hilton property and I've stayed there twice before. I was familiar with that part of town and I really liked the hotel. I had to move heaven and earth to find out what it was called after Hilton sold it but I managed and I was very pleased with myself.

Annnndd then we got to the hotel. Wow. It was not quite like I remembered it.

In all of my European travels I've always been lucky enough to stay in really nice hotels with basically nice people. The people in France aren't really known for their warmth and adoration of Americans but I really never saw that side of them until I checked in to the Pullman Hotel in Paris, France. Tori, Rebek and I were the only 3 people in the lobby and yet the clerk at the desk was waaaay too busy to stop what she was doing to check us in. The 3 of us stood there wondering if we were being punked and then I finally spoke up and asked if she could help us. The clerk begrudgingly stopped what she was doing and checked us in. I reminded her that I wanted a room on the concierge lounge and I wanted a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. She looked at my reservation and said, "Yez. I see you wequested a mini-suite wis a view of zee tower." "Are we on the concierge level?", I asked. "Yes", she said, "You are on zee concierge level." (I must point out here that you pay extra to stay on the concierge level because you get food and drinks from the concierge lounge.)

The clerk gave us our key and then stared at us. I asked if we needed a separate key for the concierge lounge and I just stood there in a state of disbelief when she said, "Noh. You don't need zee seperate key. Zee concierge lounge is closed for zee entire month of August." "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THAT BEFORE YOU CHECKED US IN?", I said in a voice that only dogs could hear. "Well", she said "...eets closed." We just stood there glaring at each other until Tori suggested that we just check in to our room and get on with our vacation. So we went up stairs to our "mini-suite with a view" and once again we thought we had to check for hidden cameras or to see if Ashton Kutcher was going to come out and tell us that we were being punked. Our "mini-suite" was previously a regular hotel room with a double bed, dresser and television. They had recently installed a lattice divider that separated the doorway from the rest of the room. In that small separation was a velvet couch about 2 feet long. (Kind of like the type of little stool that you would find at the foot of a queen size bed.) I stood there shaking my head not knowing if I should laugh or cry when the sound of Tori's voice shook me out of my stupor. "LOOK AT OUR VIEW OF THE TOWER!" I moved the curtain on the small window and yep...there was the tower all right. Well, not the whole tower but simply a small part of one of the legs of the tower. The rest of the tower was obscured by another building. I wish I would have had the foresight to take pictures of this insane situation but I was too mad at the time. I told Tori and Rebek that this is not what I ordered and we were not going to stay in this room.

We all marched down stairs and once again the clerk was very busy doing nothing and we had to hail her to get her to help us. I took a cleansing breath and was as nice as I could be when I told her that the room wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be. It was much smaller than proposed and there really wasn't a view of the tower. (I didn't even bring up the concierge level snafu.) I told her that we would like a different room and that we would pay for an upgrade if necessary. Before I knew it the desk clerk was yelling at me about how I was the one who made my reservation and that I got what I asked for and she pretty much told me that if I didn't like what I had then I could just go somewhere else.

Oh. My. God.

I silently walked over to the lobby concierge and asked him to get the Hilton on the phone. He asked which one and I told him that I didn't care which one. (Apparently there are several Hilton's in France....but I'm lucky he didn't call the one in Honolulu!) And within 2 minutes I had secured a room at the Hilton across town near the Champs-Élysées. I had enough Hilton points accrued that our room would be free and they upgraded us at no charge so that we could have a room on the concierge level. Please congratulate me for not slapping the desk clerk as we exited the building.



Blogger Diane F. said...

My experience in Paris is that if you do resort to slapping the desk clerk/waiter/sales clerk (whatever) they suddenly become ridiculously nice and give you something for free, in the end. Really. That's how the game is played no matter your nationality (even Parisian). You have to be the boss and ORDER them to do their jobs. They like that. (I am dead serious)

11:48 AM  
Blogger Tami & Tori said...

I wish I would have known that BEFORE I went to Paris. However I was so mad when this was all going on there is the possibility that I would have hit her and then Tori would have had to spend all of her Euros to bail me out!

(Seriously, thanks for letting me know this. I will never let anyone push me around in Paris again.)

2:00 PM  
Blogger Diane F. said...

Yeah, I meant a metaphorical slap, but you knew that...

12:39 PM  

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