October 31st – November 3rd, 2022
the Parisian suburbs
October 31st , 2022
When I found that secluded parking, I would not let it go easy. It was so comfortable and it had many paths around for walking. I went for walks a few times during my work breaks. After work, I decided to go out for a bike ride to explore around and do a bit of grocery shopping. It was all in all an uneventful day. The bike ride was quite challenging. The parking was up on a hill. So going to the town was nice and easy, but biking back up was difficult. Although, I wanted to go for a long bike ride, 40km or more, the fact that I finished working so late and had very little time before dark made my trip a lot shorter.
Making new friends and an eventful night
November 1st, 2022
This was what I can call an eventful day, or rather an evening. I had made a reservation for 2 nights in Camping de Paris. During my lunch break, I made the 15 minutes journey from the car park to the campsite, checked in, parked the car, and continued working.
Through my posts in Facebook groups, I got to know many people and agreed to meet some of them. One of them was this amazing lady, Mathilda. We met somewhere in downtown Paris and immediately hit it off. We had so much fun just walking around and talking about ourselves. She is a very interesting person. A true nomad in its all glory. A very calm and spiritual person with positive energy. She actually uses her energy to help others as what I call a form of therapy. I am not that much of a believer in spirituality and energy therapy, but I do believe that certain places and certain people can leave a positive mark on you. After all, we are humans and we are complex beings. I see energy therapy the same way I enjoy being in nature just wandering around. I know the forest, the lake, the mountains, or the sun do not pass me any mythical energy. But I do believe that they soothe my feelings and I sense calmness.
We went to a cafe and tried some ice tea and some French beer. Then we decided to go and eat somewhere. After walking around a bit, she had a crazy idea of going to this Ethiopian restaurant that she once visited. It was only a 15 minutes walk from where we were. It was a fabulous idea. I love food from around the world and certainly love to try something new.
The restaurant was very small with only a few tables. Probably less than 20 people would fit in. We ordered “Ye Fesef”, a very typical Ethiopian dish consisting of beef, chicken, veggies, and eggs, all spread on a flatbread pancake. You are supposed to eat with hands which is exactly what we did.
It was getting late and Mathilda had to get back to the suburbs where she was staying and I had to go back to the campsite to get ready for a busy day at work the next day. We parted ways, as difficult as it was, and hoped to meet again.
Unexpected adventure (misfortune)
I got back to the metro station to take my bike and get back to the campsite. I had my headphones on and was listening to my favorite band “Of monsters and men”. As I was unlocking the bike, I realized birds had mistaken my saddle for a toilet. I got pissed and started cleaning it. As I was riding back to the campsite, I felt or heard something clinking on my bike, I looked around and could not find anything so I ignored it and it eventually stopped. I got back to the campsite, parked the bike in a corner, and reached out to my pocket to take the keys. That was the moment I got goosebumps. I COULD NOT FIND MY KEYS! I searched all my pockets, my backpack, and inside my pants, but to my disappointment, I could not find it. Then it suddenly clicked! The noise I heard at the beginning of my 3km ride must have been my keys that I had forgotten on my bike lock. I could not believe it. I lost my keys and the only spare keys I had were inside the car. I thought to myself “oh no”, I have to find them. It was already around 10:30 PM. I knew exactly the route I took, so I took the same way back, and to my disappointment, I did not find the keys. I repeated the process over and over again. I walked with the bike several times with the bike’s headlight in my hand desperately looking everywhere as best as I could. Some people noticed me looking for something and tried to help me. But there was no success.
As I was walking on the street with my bike, a patrol police car stopped and told me that I cannot walk on the street. I explained to them what happened and they felt sorry and wished me luck. I repeated the walk several times and met the same patrol police 3 times. On the third encounter, they even exited the car and looked around and gave me some hints to look under the cars or on the side of the windows as someone might have found the keys and might have left them somewhere more visible. But to my dismay, there was no luck. Now it is almost 1:00 AM and I still don’t have my keys. I asked the security guard at the campsite if he could help. I got a hammer from him hoping that I could break one of the side windows of the car, open the door, and get my spare keys. I will deal with the broken window later. You would be surprised how strong the windshield and other windows in the cars are. I took a few hard swings and the window did not even take a scratch! Disappointed, I looked up hotels nearby and found one where the reception was still open just about 2 km away. I quickly rode there and booked a room and tried to sleep. But with all the adrenaline pumping through my system, it was an impossible deed. Even worse, because I was out for so long, I started feeling a bit sick, something like the flu.
Finally reunited with Christina
November 2nd, 2022
In the morning, I went back to the campsite and explained to one of the receptionists what happened. They were shocked and felt really sad for me. She immediately called the technician on site and told him I need help to break into my car. I met with the technician and after walking around the car, I had the idea of instead of breaking the front window, we can try to open one of the rear plastic windows on the house side, probably the one for the bathroom would be the best choice. We tried to bend the window and stick a long flathead screwdriver. It was a success, the first lock was undone and we had two more to go. While opening the second one, a small piece from the corner of the window broke down. I said it is OK and let’s continue. We tried opening the third lock which was the most difficult one, but the whole lower part of the window broke. At that moment, I did not care anymore. The window was open and I could crawl into the car. A big jump and I was in the bathroom. I ran and took the key and open the door. Finally, freedom. I had the spare keys in my hand. I waved it at the technician gloriously as if we have won an unwinnable battle. He was so happy and gave me a high-five and was apologetic that he broke my window. As if I cared. He was the most helpful person I could ever ask for. Now my mission was not to lose the only key set I have.
I was feeling so tired and so sick that I had to call in sick to work. They understood the situation so I could have the day off and just steam off the misery I went through.
The first order of business for the day was to try and look for my keys one more time. I walked back the whole route I took the night before, stopped by shops and asked if they have found something, left my phone number with them, and hoped for the best. I also had to somehow temporarily fix my window until I could replace it or fix it properly.
I started gathering the pieces of the window and used some gorilla all-purpose glue to stitch the pieces back together. I duct-taped them to hold them in place and used gorilla-extreme duct tape to keep the window pieces in place. It actually worked out really well and even looks nice. I was very proud of the result. Now it was time for me to rest and forget about the whole trouble I had gone through.
Last day in Paris (or so I thought)
November 3rd, 2022
I was supposed to meet my friend David who used to be my colleague back in the days during my previous job. We had spent a lot of time together. During each visit that I had to Paris or he had to Helsinki, we spent time with each other outside of work. He is truly a good friend and we enjoyed so much working together on various projects.
Anyways, in the morning, after working for a few hours, it was time to check out and head south to David’s place which is around 250km southwest of Paris. After checking out and going outside of Paris, I stopped at a nice rest stop and continued working a bit more. By the time I got to David’s place, it was around 5:00 PM. But he was still at work and had a meeting. So I just parked my car in front of his magnificent house and continued working a bit more.