The Paris Diaries: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
It's been a while since I've shared a nostalgic Paris Diaries post from my au pair days in Paris. Here's an old favourite. My heart is racing. It’s 11 p.m. and I’m going out for dinner, a whiskey and coke playing the trombone in my empty stomach.
I'm dressed all in black and racing to catch my metro. I have a dinner date with a new friend - the music publicist - along with Busta Rhymes and his traveling crew.
I get off at Concorde and run across the street, away from the Jardin des Tuleries. The lamp posts are glowing and people are taking photographs of themselves all around me.
I approach a handsome young guard donned in a hat and arms, and ask him for directions. His serious face lightens up, and he leaves his spot and rigid stance to take me around the corner and point me in the right direction. I thank him in sloppy French-handsome men make me lose my vocabulary-and he grins.
Soon I’m walking down the stairs towards a large table inside of Buddha Bar. Indian dance music blasts through the room, the entire restaurant glows under candlelight, and a large Buddha looms over the dining room.
I seat myself at the table and am introduced to a variety of people. I meet Busta. He’s three times my size. His wrist reflects off of every wall because of the amount of diamonds on his watch. His head has been shaved, his warrior dreadlocks gone, but his knowing smile and Busta Rhymes t-shirt let you know who he is.
The table is covered in evian bottles and soon the food starts to arrive. There’s egg rolls, spring rolls, chicken fried rice, mashed potatoes, sushi and noodles. Plates take over the table, and some food makes its way around while some doesn’t.
Everyone is in their own world and drinking something different. I go for a Jack Daniels and Coke. An older woman in heavy eye make-up sits across from me, shaking her head to the music. Busta’s boys nod their heads. I start to like the woman beside me. She says she speaks French with a Bronx accent, and orders sushi that doesn’t chew back.
My friend is busy on his Blackberry, but lets me know he’s there and keeps me feeling comfortable as I don't know anyone.
After pinching as much sushi as I can from the large platters, I’m full, and only have hunger left for my whiskey.
But then the waiter brings…the main course. Out come plates of filet mignon, chicken, sea bass, rice, more sushi, and a lot of expensive meat. Not everything gets finished. The final bill, for two large tables, comes up to 1700 euros. I blink.
This is all too much for an au pair who makes 80 euros a week. Thank god someone else is paying.
While the crew retires at the hotel, we make a quick trip to a VIP club filled with skinny models the size of one of my thighs, loud music and flashing lights. We leave before I get a seizure and start trying to force-feed the models.
It feels good to go home at the end of the night, going into the old part of my building, up to my tiny apartment, down the hallway with the crumbling walls, and into my humble room.
Another night in the city of lights, and I fall asleep calm, my mind tamed and my body tired by trying to keep up with the city's pace.
From my old blog, Confessions of a Young Woman, May 2006