In December 1981 I was sent on a one-week business trip to Paris. The trip was excellent, everything we wanted to accomplish was a success (and more), plus I had a chance to tour the city.
I was travelling with some sales reps, and were in serious danger of getting stuck in the hotel bar for much of the trip. The inside of one hotel looks pretty much like the next, as do hotel bars, and so I agitated to get out on the town.
Aside from the Louvre, left bank, Notre Dame, and many other sights, we also toured the local night life. We ended up a good distance from the hotel, in a random direction, and so we caught a taxi to get us home, or closer to home. During the taxi ride someone asked if we were ready to call it a night, and after a short debate we all decided that the night was still young. So we asked the taxi driver to take the five of us to a bar close to the hotel.
Our French was poor, his English was mediocre, but communication was achieved, and he dropped us off in front of the Black Cat... and followed us in?
- The doorman was black, wore a black tuxedo, and must have been 6'6" - and just as wide. He had no neck.
- The walls were black.
- The ceilings were black.
- The floor was black.
- Every table in the place was one of those dinky 12" diameter tables that would not hold three beer glasses.
- Every table came pre-equipped with a stunning woman in a state of minimal dress.
- There was a beaded curtain at the back of the room, which we noticed when a stunner and a customer got up from their postage-stamp of a table, and retired to whatever was back there.
I went to the bar and addressed the grey-haired matron, inquiring if she spoke English. Fortunately, she did.
- How much is a beer? $20.
- A mixed drink? $20.
- A coke? $20.
- Are all the drinks $20? No, the champagne is $100.
I went back to the doorway, and told the guys "We have one chance to get out of here, and that is right now." We turned and left.
The taxi driver refused to give us a ride to the hotel - he was peeved because he didn't get his payoff, we assume.
Next day was a touring day for we two techies, while the sales dudes did whatever sales dudes do when the techies are not there to keep them honest. So we walked by the Black Cat (it was about 2 blocks from some government leader's house, which was guarded by some mean-looking dudes with big automatic weapons) and I took a picture.
Some weeks later, as I was showing my pictures to my wife, just after the Eiffel Tower there was a picture of a low-rise building with a Black Cat sign on it. Nancy inquired as to why I would have taken a picture of this random storefront. "Oh, that's the whorehouse we went to."