Eventually, I met a nice woman who told me she knew someone with extra rooms. She showed me where this person lived and called her to say a young man was coming. When I got there, an old woman came to the door in her bra and a big skirt. Not at all friendly. The first thing she said was the price of the room. The second was "No women." The house was old, musty, and a bit freaky.
So I'm in my room. It feels more like a cell, very small, with a very small window. Who is this woman? Is there anyone else in the house? No one on earth knows where I am. I'm totally alone. I try to tell myself what an adventure this is. It's not working. I could die here. I decide that I want to live and I want to sleep, so I write a note, in broken French and in English: "If something happens to me here, please call, in the United States, 001-212-737-xxxx." As I drift off to sleep, I peer at the note to be sure it hasn't blown off the table. I wake up, and I'm alive. The note is right where I left it. I dress. I walk downstairs. The old woman is in her bra—does she even own a shirt? I say merci and hightail it to the bus. I still have that note.