Friday, April 3, 2015

Ne Marche Pas!

Contemporary image from Hotel Duminy

The Duminy Hotel, Paris, circa 1976, was a modest place. The blinds were wooden slats, the rooms small, and the accommodation basic.

The daily hotel tariff was less than the cost of a good meal. Baths, however, were charged separately. To bathe, one had to get the chambermaid to unlock the room which housed only a tub.

I wanted a bath. After mentally going over my carefully composed French sentence, I approached the woman with the ring of keys. "Je veux baigner, s'il vous plait."

Her response was unexpected. With a shrug of irritation, or possibly indifference, she turned on me and said in a loud voice, "Ne marche pas!" It doesn't go.

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