Today's post is another one of my attempts to keep it real, so I hope you'll read it without thinking that I'm being ungrateful or that I'm bashing others. While my trip to Paris has been amazing thus far, there are some things about Europe (and Paris) that I don't particularly like. Take a look:
1. Lack of ice - I prefer my drinks with several ice cubes, preferably crushed. Fuhgeddaboutit, they don't share my affinity for ice on this side of the Pond.
2. Few comfy chairs - no wonder the French get a bad rep for being grouchy; it must be bc there are like 3 comfy chairs in the entire country. I mean, I'm estimating because I haven't actually found any of these elusive comfy chairs yet myself.
3. Strong body odor - this is really noticeable for me when riding the metro. Certainly, the temps change so much that it's impossible not to get sweaty. But there's a difference between sweaty with slight body odor and knock your socks off, nostril burning, make your head swim body stink. The latter makes me dread crowded metro cars on a stuffy or muggy day.
4. Steps, thousands of steps - while I know all of this stair climbing is good cardio and good for toning my thighs and tush, I do get a bit tired of constantly facing dozens of steps in any direction I go. (Living in Montmartre gas only highlighted this dislike.) After a long day, knowing that I have 39 steps out of the metro + a 3 minute walk + 87 steps straight up to my apartment is sometimes more than I can handle. And yet, I haven't been found sobbing on the street corner at the bottom of the steps yet; somehow, I persevere.
5. Smokers, smokers everywhere - thankfully, no one smokes indoors, but I've had many a lovely meal made difficult by chain smokers on either side of me at sidewalk cafes. Since part of the European dining experience is to eat outdoors whenever possible, I just hold my breath, fan the smoke away, and try to not think about the secondhand smoke dirtying my virgin lungs.
6. So many coins - besides the 'normal' coin amounts, 1 and 2 euro denominations are also coins. That can make for a heavy change purse to lug around in your bag constantly. Plus, if you aren't careful, you might tip or donate more than you meant because you think 'it's just coins.'
7. Dog poop - a lot of it. I love my dogs dearly, and I also love that they poop in my backyard; then I mow over it, and it fertilizes my grass. Win - win. Here in the city, lots of people have adorable dogs that must be walked regularly, but almost no one picks up after his dog. I've stepped in a couple of messes already and spent the rest of the day trying to escape the odor of dog poop ground into the sole of my shoes. Ick!
8. Being on constant alert - while this is prob more a big city issue than technically a European one, I get tired of being on constant alert against pickpockets and scammers. I don't like to look at others as potential thieves/adversaries, but traveling in large cities will definitely do that to you. It gets old keeping your bag across your body and your hand on the zipper, even when you're eating dinner. It gets old having selfie sticks or petitions or Eiffel Tower key chains stuck in your face at every turn. I understand these people are just trying to make a living, but it becomes obnoxious when you deal with it every single day.
9. No freezer, no clothes dryer, no patio space - these are the things that I'm missing in my apartment. While it doesn't ruin my quality of life or anything dramatic like that, it does remind me of things I miss about my own home. What a luxury to have ice! How wonderful to dry my clothes instead of hanging them! Sitting on the patio in a comfy chair at the end of the day is something I used to take for granted. I get the feeling that most people here in Paris don't have those things either. On a recent tour, the guide told me that my 30 square meter flat was a veritable mansion here in Paris. To me, it's like living in only my living room at home would be. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
10. Trash and graffiti - yes, I find them both offensive. Here in Paris, it seems that there are multiple trash and recycling pickups each week, but trash does collect in stairwells and in heavily populated tourist areas pretty quickly. I think tourists themselves need to be more considerate and responsible with their trash. While I will admit that some graffiti can be considered street art, I despise the tags of gang signs and random words/numbers on the sides of buildings and even monuments. (Graffiti is much more prevalent in Italy than anywhere else I've traveled, btw.) if your 'art' sends a real message and improves the appearance of a place, that's one thing. Unfortunately, most graffiti doesn't accomplish that, at least in my opinion.
There you have it. I'm exactly halfway through my trip, and these are the things that I really don't like about Europe at this point. Of course, these are my opinions, so you might not agree. I'm not expecting Europe to change for me, but these are the things I've found most challenging about living here the last three weeks. What about you? If you've traveled here, what frustrated you? Oh, and don't worry, I'll soon be sharing a things I love about Europe post too. Ciao for now!