We had a page of instructions on how to get to rue l'Aboukir complicated instructions on which buses to take and which metro to take, but, looking at our luggage, we decided to take a taxi. The second page was devoted to getting into the building where the key was located. This was also quite complicated, if you haven't done this before. You need to use a number of digit codes to open each door. The outer door has one code, the inner door has a second code and the door to the room which has the safe has another code. Then to get into the safe to get the key required another code. The last instruction was: DO NOT LET ANYONE SEE YOU PUNCH IN THESE CODES, NOT EVEN THE JANITOR. I wonder how the janitor gets it.
Finally the key was retrieved and we decided to walk the few blocks to the apartment. It wasn't far, but with four bags, backpacks and purses, it was a bit strenuous. Again, getting into the apartment was complicated. This time therwass a threshold to step over and drag our bags over, that was about 12 inches high. By the fourth bag, the threshold seemed to grow in height. When we finally opened the door to the apartment a stench hit us.
In front of us was the bed with the kitchen to the right. On the left, which is not visible here, was a french door covered with curtains, and as we found out later, a metal rouladen (an exterior shutter) had been dropped down, perhaps to hide the construction materials outside, but it left us with no natural light. Dick started coughing and sneezing immediately.
Then we turned the corner to look at the kitchen and the bathroom door was open. As you can see it opens directly into the kitchen. Not a pleasant thought. It was from the bathroom the stench was coming, so we began to search. The bathroom was clean enough, but a puddle of water was on the floor in front of the toilet. And after a day we realized the toilet was leaking. At the same time, we found a mop in the bucket, wet and moldy. Here was the stench. And the mop was exiled outside next to our front door.
The apartment was ice cold, seemingly warmed by a ceiling high radiator, and though it seemed to be going top blast the room was hardly warmer than the outside. However the most interesting part of the apartment was the stairs.
This ladder led to another room with a bed and a wardrobe for our clothes. However, the railing atop the ladder on the right side was loose, and when I went up, it wobbled when I pulled myself up. The steps were so small at the top I couldn't fit my foot.
It was not acceptable, and me in my innocence (a nice word for stupidity) had accepted this place. As Dick said, "they must have found good photographers to make these apartments look so glamorous."
It was Saturday, so there was no way we could change apartments until Monday. But we left a message and waited until Monday morning to to begin the discussions.