11 November 2012

underneath the city

I am fascinated with public transportation.  Perhaps this is because I never grew up with it, and because I have never had to take the metro or bus or collectivo on a daily basis.  There are so many people going so many different directions- a couple all dressed up for a party, a group of teenagers up to no good, a family with groceries, grandmas and babies- and everyone is in their own little bubble even though they are standing right next to each other.

They say that the Paris metro system cuts the city underground like the holes of swiss cheese.  Buildings can only be so tall because otherwise the hollow ground won't support them.  There are 14 different lines all going in different directions, starting and ending at 301 stops throughout the city.  The metro carries 4.5 million passengers a day.  As you walk from line to line, crawling deeper into the earth, you see dripping from the ceiling, cracks in some places, areas that smell like urine.  You hear the whoosh of the cars rushing through dark seemingly forgotten tunnels and you try to steal a glance out the window of what is down there.  You think you see a shape, or a light, or a person flash by.  Some people say there there is a whole 'nother Paris down there.  A whole urban city underneath the one that most of us know.  


  1. I remember riding the Metro in Paris on a school trip and simultaneously feeling so cool and so embarrassed because my classmates were speaking so loudly (and in English! with American accents!)

    1. haha this is hilarious because actually, when we are abroad (especially europe) I try to speak spanish as much as possible to avoid looking like "that" American! I think in France, my Spanish improved a lot!

      The world has made us self conscious of our language when they are just jealous of our fluency!