Friday, 23 June 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 28

I returned to my building after midnight but the guests were still in the restaurant.  The drunks were laughing away with Mme. Empathy.  But I was relieved to find that the chef was outside smoking so at least there would be no more cooking.  This chef was an Asian which is considered trendy in Paris these days.  He did not know then that Mme. Empathy would later reveal her racism and threw him out after stealing his French-Asian fusion recipe.  A woman who tramps down her neighbors would have no scruples mistreating her employees.

However, there was one group of people Mme. Empathy would turn her charm on and that was 'elites'.  She boasted of being chummy with famous food critics.  Even her brother had a connection with someone in the Council or in French le Mairie.  Can such a thing be possible in an advanced nation like France?  But how do you explain the fact that their permit to open a restaurant was granted by one person at the Council only a few months after the first application was turned down by a different person?

I walked up the stairs expecting my apartment to be quieter, but even after the cooking had finished I could still hear the staff’s every movement, every shelf and indoor door slam shut as they were in the same room.  Mme. Empathy and Mr. Pride had not insulated their ceiling AT ALL and yet they were granted the approval by PASU for the facilities in their restaurant.  In Paris, you need two types of permit, one from the Council and one from PASU, but our two clever pair managed to cheat both systems.  

To my dismay, their dishwasher was set in motion.  Even in France the electricity rate is cheaper after midnight.  Of course, Mme. Empathy would take advantage of that.  Eventually the guests and the staff would leave, but I was to be left behind exposed to their electric appliances for hours.

After the sleepless night, I opened my door to Mme. Landlord.  She saw my distress but was too honest to offer me unrealistic consolation.  In silence one old lady with one Asian woman headed for the restaurant.  Power was not on our side.    To be continued.  

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 27

The hell-turbo engulfed my apartment.  The invisible but strong force gripped my lungs and pinned me down onto the floor…which transmitted the vibration from the extractor of the restaurant directly into my body.  I had to push myself up with all my strength while losing balance to the vibration from below.   I was fast losing breath and felt the blood pressure rising. 

I managed to stagger towards the small kitchen that was half shielded by a wall.  I gulped water down instinctively in hope to ease my heightened blood pressure.  With my shaking fingers I called Mme. Landlord.  She immediately perceived my distress.  There was concern in her voice which felt like a ray of light in dark.  She promised to come the first thing the following morning to speak to the restaurant.  This small new hope gave me enough strength to go back out to the hell turbo, walk across to the door and leave my apartment.  I ran out of the building, passing the restaurants where guests were making merry with drinks.  Mme. Empathy was flirting away with guests, not shedding a thought to the hell she had subjected me to.  In fact, I did not even exist in her mind judging from her jubilant face.

I could see that the opening party was to continue until midnight, or even later, so I started to roam around.  The beautiful city of Paris suddenly looked ominous.  The river Seine at night looked rebuffing.  You might advise me to move out of the hell apartment, but I had already changed my address several times because of an attempted burglary, crooked locksmiths, a dishonest landlord and rats.  It was not recommendable thing to change addresses frequently if one wants to renew one’s visa in France.  It may spell the end of my humble dream if I moved again and I was no longer young.   And yet, I already knew that Mme. Empathy would not make anything better.

I rang my home in Japan and did a thing that I had not done in many many years—crying to my mother like a lost child.  To be continued.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 26

In spite of everything Paris continues to draw people in for many reasons, but one of mine was to fulfill the dream of my parents.  They wished to live there basking in her historical glories.  As an Asian with no siblings, it was all up to me to make this happen and my father’s mind was gradually being eroded by Altimizers.   Time was running out so I settled on this apartment in Le Marais. 

Thus I came face to face with the notorious Mme. Empathy whose desire was to have fun at the expense of other people.  Her smile made me feel uneasy, but I needed to ask her to show me her kitchen.  I was initially hesitant to live above a restaurant, but my parents had weak knees that they could only walk up to low floors.  As the small apartment was not above the client seats area I had decided to move in.  The kitchen noise from below should be manageable with insulation and so in order to insulate my place effectively I needed to see where her kitchen appliances were installed.  To my request Mme. Empathy obliged with a smile and pointed at a refrigerator which was only slightly bigger than a domestic refrigerator.  Something did not sit right with me, but she kept talking and talking that I could not think straight.  Against my better judgement I forced myself to believe her smile and left quickly.  Such was her manipulative gift.

Then it began.  The chef switched on their cooking ventilation attached directly to their ceiling with no insulation.  The vibration force virtually threw me away from that particular spot.  It was like inside the airplane engine.  The heat would have scorched me had it been summer.  The only sanctuary was my kitchen but the hellish noise and vibration would continue for 8 hours straight in preparation for their opening party.  I could not move because of the oppressive force on my lungs that rendered me immobile.  With my shaking fingers I dialed Mme. Landlord.  It was beginning of my long dark days in Paris.  To be continued.

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 25

Discrimination takes all kinds of forms, but basically it is the ultimate means of survival through choosing easy weak preys.  Predators leave the rich alone and prefer to take from the poor what few they possess because the rich would put up a fierce defense while the poor cannot afford lawyers.  Fortunately for the bullies, there are more of the weak than the rich and powerful.  The principle of low interest sales is feasible in every field.

My landlord was a senior French lady who was suffering from cancer.  The treatment drained her of time and energy to care for her property.  I shall refer to her as ‘Mme. Landlord.’  Her vulnerability was fully taken advantage of by Mr. Pride who chose to ignore her requests to share his plan for the restaurant, for an instance, what electric appliances he intended to install, etc.  Mr. Pride even had the nerve to jeer at the fine lady that she knew the restaurant was there when she purchased her apartment.  It was too bad that Mme. Landlord’s tenants would go mad from the noise and that the value of Mme. Landlord’s property would depreciate significantly.  That is the price one pays for being stupid and of course, Mr. Pride was the smart one, he added smugly.

Mme. Landlord quickly reminded Mr. Pride that the Council had rejected his application for restaurant permit when she purchased her apartment.  No legal restaurant therefore existed.  It was only after Mme. Empathy pulled a few strings that the restaurant permit was finally granted, or so she boasted but she would lie as she breathed.   It was more likely through false pretense the permit was finally granted.  Mr. Pride clucked his tongue because he would have to lie low for two months so that the old hag, Mme. Landlord would not poke her nose in. 

Maybe many cheaters in Paris had waited two months before they opened their restaurant to fool other landlords and this is what Mr. Pride and Mme. Empathy could have done.  But this meant the loss of two months’ income and they had already suffered a setback after the initial rejection of the permit.  They had already missed one summer to rip off tourists that they had much to make up.  However, luckily for them, the cancer treatment kept Mme. Landlord away and her new tenant was that little Asian woman who would not know how to complain.   Her French was pathetic and the authority in France barely understood English. 

So it was decided.  The restaurant from hell was to be opened just 10 days after the permit was granted.  To be continued.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The true horror stories in modern Paris Part 24

I cannot describe the physical appearance of Mr. Pride and Mme. Empathy in this true story.  I have had to modify minor details of the situation so as to hide their identity, but this I can say.  They would look at you as their preys and the air around you feel heavier.  Out of fear you feel compelled to please them as they chat you up as if you are special.  But the moment you contradict them, their eyes widen up with a fierce glare, I later learnt.

The restaurant needs a ventilator, a huge one that emits non-stop loud noise.  The chefs would find it loud also but the air gets sucked into the ventilator, and then vibrates up the extracting pipe.  The chefs are not exposed to the vibration that travels upwards, but it is the residents upstairs who get hit with the full force of it.  Therefore, restaurant owners with conscience would install the extractor on their sidewall.  I have seen one in this bistro near Pont Mirabeau.  It was run by an honest looking man and his wife. 

Other conscious restaurant owners would hang the ventilator from the ceiling, but Mme. Empathy opted to install hers directly on the ceiling.  It is done in commercial buildings where the upstairs would be occupied by offices, but to do so in a residential building is not recommendable.  Particularly in an old historical building with wooden beams on the ceiling will not block the noise like cement or plaster walls.  Therefore PASU requires a proper insulation to be applied to the kitchen ceiling.  Mme. Empathy gladly submitted that this was done, but as you would guess it, was another lie.  Did she care that the resident upstairs in the small studio would have no place to sleep but the spot over her ventilation that would be roaring like an airplane engine while scorching the victim with heat during the summer?  Of course not.  In her mind only she existed in the world.

You would wonder ‘the architect must have told her the ramification.’  Well, the fees of employing an architect is so expensive in Paris that people opt for cheaper interior designers who are not by law responsible for the infrastructure.  Their job is to make the place look gorgeous only and if someone gets electrocuted and dies as the result of a bad configuration, that will not be their fault.  Besides, PASU gives only 2 months to the neighboring residents to contest the infrastructure of the restaurant.  If you have missed it, or did not have enough money to hire a lawyer, you would be stuck with an inferno.  The value of the property crushes and the restaurant owner would scoop it up.  With the new upstairs apartment they have acquired for a dirt cheap price, they can apply for a non-stop 24 hours continuous business license.  It is the true horror dark side of Paris.

You may not care so long as you get served as a client, but how much honest would such a heartless restaurant owner be to their clients?   To be continued.