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Burnt Cream

Paris at Night

Paris at Night

It's 3.30 in the morning. I've just got home.

I didn't intend to stay out this late, but one party led to another and well, you know, these things happen. The last place I was at is no more than a kilometre away from my apartment so that acted as justification for watching the clock tick away.

I've said my goodbyes and I get down to street level. After no more than a couple of paces, a car slows down to almost a stop and the window winds down. I don't stop walking. The guy inside follows me at a crawl until he finally asks if I'm looking for a taxi and whether I'd like to get in the car with him. Obviously, my answer is a very firm no and I walk away, faster. He continues to follow me at this crawling pace before giving up at turning around at a crossroads.

On those same crossroads is a Vélib station. As I'm quickly adjusting the height of the saddle, a homeless woman, who I hadn't spotted in the darkness, comes up to me. Hello my dear, is what she's saying. She comes close, so close than I can pick up on the funky tang to her breath. It's clearly been a while since she took any care of her teeth. The Vélib terminal beeps and releases the bike from its grasp. I take the bike and put it between us. It happens at just the right moment and thereby stops her from running her out-stretched hand over my handbag.

As I'm waiting at a traffic light (yes, I'm a good cyclist like that) a guy standing outside a bar throws a glass bottle at me. He misses. But before I've had time to fully realise what he just did, he's got another bottle and lobbed it even closer this time and is shouting at me. I decide that this is not the time to bother about things as trivial as red lights and that I need to get myself out of there.

Not for the first time, I sprint-cycle as fast as my long legs will take me down the rest of the rue Ordener and back to the safety of my flat. I'm back now, but my heart is pumping.

Lesson learnt.

Take it easy out there, kids. There are some weird people hanging around. You might naively think it's fine and that it's a safe area, but this all happened on the rue Ordener in the 18th, around Jules Joffrin.

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