Monday, March 05, 2007

It’s not that fast

Living and working in Paris means that you get to know the metro system pretty well after a while. At first of course, you spend your time taking the long way around the tunnels and stairs to get to the line that you want. However, after a few months (I’m a slow learner), you start to catch on to a few little tips on how to get home quicker, or sleep in just that little bit longer, for example, whether you need to be at the front of the metro, the middle or the back end, or whether if you took this tunnel (despite the no entry sign), you would get to the exit 30 seconds faster than the legitimate route.

You also know that if you have to change to the number 4 at Montparnasse and you’re at Saint-Lazare, then while catching the number 13 will get you to Montparnasse just that little bit quicker than the 12, it’s a looonnngg walk between the 13 and the 4…unless of course, the 9km tapis roulant at Montparnasse is working (which it hardly ever seems to). The 9km tapis roulant is of course, the mythical super-fast “walkalator” (as in escalator, only flat).

This super-fast walkalator spends at least half the time en panne (moving at the rate of 0km, ie. not moving at all), the other half running in the opposite direction to the one that you’re going, and provides tremendous entertainment. People stumble, swear, and fall over constantly, unless of course, you’re Parisien, in which case, you would do a short lead-up run, cartwheel and jump, all in 2-inch heels of course. There’s also the constant drone of a dull dull recorded RATP- employed voice telling people to keep your feet flat on the floor, but no one seems to listen.

Anyway, I don’t really have a funny anecdote about my experiences on the super-fast walkalator except for watching people fall over all the time (and no, I’ve never fallen over because I listen to that dull dull voice that tells me to keep my feet flat on the ground), and we know that it’s not very funny when you’re the one doing the falling. I just wanted a good excuse to put up a photo that I took, after plucking up the courage and dodging the rush hour Parisiens to take my very own (slightly fuzzy) photo of the walkalator tunnel.

Besides, we all know that the 9km/h is just a myth. I’ve been on that thing and I’m positive that I’m definitely not going 3 times faster than the lost tourist on the 3km/h walkalator next to it. Still, there’s just something so Bladerunner about that tunnel.

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