This crazy story from the road was written by the pop artist, Marian Mereba. You can check out her story, after the break.
My first tour was this past February, and it was in France opening for Cody ChestnuTT. I speak absolutely no French except for the few words I googled before going over there. It wasn’t until I arrived that I was like “whoa, maybe I should have worked on learning a bit more French!” It was intense to not know anything that anyone was talking about around me. On my last day of the tour I was dropped off in Paris super early after a late show and a few drinks in. From what I had heard, the transit system was really similar to New York, so I was confident that I could make my way around despite not having a working phone. I was meeting up with a friend who is a dancer in Paris. So I get on the train and immediately these four dudes walk up to me and start speaking a mile a minute in French. I’m like “um… I speak no French!” Their eyes light up and they say “where are you from?” I say Atlanta, Georgia and they start rapping T.I. and Outkast lyrics.
I get off the train and follow my friend’s directions (or so I think,) and end up getting lost on foot for a solid two hours. It was a Sunday and apparently everything in France is closed on Sundays. I started walking up to strangers only to get looks of confusion and lots of shoulder shrugging. I make a turn and see the one open establishment in a 10 mile radius, a tanning salon, and walk right in. A black girl isn’t the most common patron of a tanning salon, so they start staring skeptically. I ask for directions in English and one girl steps forward and says “I speak little.” I tell her where I’m trying to go and she tries to explain to no avail. Finally she just picks up a scrap of paper and pen and draws me the most detailed map, including crosses symbolizing churches and a big hospital I would pass. I kept that map as a reminder of the kindness of strangers and the power of universal images. Turns out I was only 5 minutes away!
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