Paris – Versailles
I've always wanted to go to Versailles. I just want to have a big, slammin' party right in the middle of the mirrored ballroom, invite all my friends, and hit the bottle all night long! So did Kim and Kanye apparently. The couple requested to have their wedding at the former Louis XIV home, but the French responded in turn by saying "Hell-to-the-NON!" After Kanye's behavior towards Beck at the Grammy's last night, it's clear the French were right in keeping their distance. I get why Mr. West wanted to use the grounds though. Versailles is the ultimate baller pad. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't able have a drink in the former bedroom of Marie Antoinette like I wanted too, but we had fun there nonetheless.
One thing that's nice about France in winter is that you really don't have to fight your way through the tourist traps. It's not peak season. For example, take our ride to Versailles today. We were the only two people on the entire tour bus! We basically had our own gigantic, private VIP bus drive us to the palace, drop us off at the front door, and take us home when we were done. What a feeling! The funny part was when we decided to meet the driver back at the bus earlier than he asked us to be there. We had finished our tour and still had an hour to kill, so I figured we could leave a bit ahead of time. "We're the only ones!" I said to my wife. "Why can't we leave when we're done?"
So we got to the bus and we saw the driver sitting in the upper deck through the window, but we couldn't tell if he was asleep or awake. After a few shouts and waves, we finally got his attention and he opened the door for us to come in. I asked if it was OK to go back to Paris now and he said, "Sure, if you want to." He let us in and we went up to the upper deck to take our seats, while we waited for him to start the bus. After about five minutes we still didn't hear an engine, but we did hear a repetitive air-generated sound that I thought may have been the hydrolic system. We ignored it, but after about ten minutes we still hadn't heard the bus start up. Instead we heard the same gust of wind, followed by a repetative computer beep. After about fifteen minutes I finally got up and walked downstairs to see what the deal was. When I saw what was happening I wasn't sure whether to laugh out loud or run for my life.
I decended the stairs to find our tour driver blowing repeatedly into a breathalyzer machine hooked up to the engine, which he apparently needed to clear in order to start the bus. By this point he had blown into it at least thirty times with the same negative result. That's what we had been hearing before—his repeated breaths, gusts, and attempts to somehow convince the computerized system he was sober. It seems that while we were out touring the royal palace, our driver was getting his drink on—having a few extra glasses of wine with his lunch. When we came back earlier than expected it was clear he wasn't quite ready to get behind the wheel. "C'est bon?" I asked him. "Oui, c'est bon," he replied.
"C'est pour l'alcool?" I then said.
"Oui," he answered without feeling the need to explain. Eventually he got it going. If at first you don't succeed...