it's now day 2 of European adventure number 3. It's about 5:30pm on this thanksgiving evening and I've just sat down with a baguette, brie cheese, and a nice 66 franc bottle of Bordeaux. Just like the pilgrims did many hundreds of years ago. Brie is quickly becoming my favorite cheese (except for that wax crap you have to peel from the outside). only gong to write on one side per page as this ink apparently takes awhile to dry. flight over was okay... except for a screaming baby three rows in front of me and a woman who woke up at 5:am (paris time), announced the time (in philly) to the cabin and proceeded to extol her extremely uninformed knowledge of paris upon the poor chinese woman sitting beside her. According to her, the louvre workers were on strike to protect OIL PAINTINGS!!! too bad security in philly made me throw away my large hunting knife. Plane landed in Paris at 7:35am of 11/21/2001 and met up with vikki at 9:30. we took an accidental tour of charles de gaulle airport, then went back to my place to drop my stuff off. she balked at the five floor walkup. went to eat at the hard rock cafe and took the metro to check out her flat and to decide what to do. tall building day it is!! proceeded to the eiffel tower... again. first time i've been to the top during the day. got beers at altitude 95 which is a restaurant on the first level of the tower. more pictures and interesting conversation. tried to get into the arc de triumphe but it's pretty expensive so i'll check it out myself sometime. went to lee's apt. on the champs elysees (sp?), had some wine. ate dinner at a french restaurant. salmon, i think. by this time it was 10pm and i had been up for 32 hours so i needed some shuteye. went home, no roommate there, but there were signs she had been. IT'S DAMN COLD in that loft. woke up at 2pm. roommate is a masseuse of shorts and she needed me to leave for two hours. took a shower, got dressed, and headed out. meandered about and eventually found the seine, then notre dame... AGAIN. kept walking, ended up at some memorial for the 2 million french people that died in nazi concentration camps. at least that's what i gathered... all the signs were in french of which i can get the general gist of if the paragraph or phrase is long enough. i can speak enough french to buy stuff and not get shot. left and took pictures of notre dame. bought this pen and notebook at Papeteries Gaubert (a shout-out to ma' homies). wandered back to apt. bought brie, vin, milk, and bread. managed to pay for a 2 franc baguette with a 200 franc note. 1 dollar US is approx 7 francs. so here i am. have to call about dinner in a few minutes. we're going to a dinner party at lee's place. okay, more later... oh yeah, some french dudes cornered me and tried to sell me pot and what looked like acid. being strictly a coke fiend, i declined. thailand in a week!!! later...
11/23/2001 4:00 am
had a most excellent thanksgiving feast on the champs elysees with vikki, chantal, lee, bob, roy, quarantine, frank, febreze, lauren, and myself. great little flat paid for by ibm. drank a LOT of wine. the ten of us managed to polish off 13 bottles. dinner was intended for 8pm but didn't start til ~11:30pm. late! a cajun-style turkey day (catered) with okra, green beans, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. then drank more. just got home @ ~4:00am. vikki looking beautiful as usual. excellent view onto the champs elysees from lee's apt. drank lots of h20 so hopefully i won't be hungover tomorrow. my baguette is getting stale. frank is going to the louvre so vikki and i are going exploring. need sleep... it's 4:45am and i'm beat. vikki's calling at 10:30. i don't think she'll be up by 5:30am. NO ONE can survive on an hour of sleep.
ugh. my head is killing me. waaaay too much wine last night. vikki just called... frank went back to amsterdam so it's just the two of us and we're heading to versailles. lots of pictures. versailles is on the outskirts of paris and was built by louis XIV (i think) because he didn't think the louvre was big enough. this pissed off the peasants because a.) they had to fund another castle, and b.) he was moving out of paris where the king is needed most. to the rear of versailles is a couple square kilometre's of woods with random enormouse marble buildings. ugh. i thought i drank enough water before bed last night. just waiting for that moment to hit going from woozy to 100% okay and really hungry.
woke up at 11:45 this morning. stayed at vikki's as we didn't finish dinner til 1:30 and the metro stops at 1:00. she has this weird habit of waking up at 5:30am no matter the time she went to bed. we went with bob and roy to a little piano/cigar restaurant called mojito habana. ate entirely too much but had a grand time. bob demanded the table closest to stage so we were front and center when the band started up at 11pm. big italian guy singing and speaking in frenchugeuse (french/portugeuse mixture). he and the lead guitar guy were trashed and way off key. the owner was PISSED! (as was bob). i had a herring and onion appetizer, followed by a rather large steak, then a tray of brie (of course) for dessert. several bottles of wine as well.
spent yesterday meandering about paris. started at sacre-ceour which is a big ass church on the outskirts. quaint little village with seemingly all fabric and postcard stores. home to the only winery left in paris. had some crepes and continued on to the grand arch which is an office building shaped like:
on the top floor is a museum or rather an art gallery seemingly dedicated to the female form. turned me on... kinda. there was an open piano so vikki played everyone a few tunes while i took black and whites. from there we went to the arc de triumpe. we stood on top and talked and took more photos. the traffic circle around that is a mob scene. got bob and roy to wave from their apt about a block away. by this time it was about 8 so we went to meet up with bob and roy for some pre-dinner wine of which we drank a lot. they're very nice gentleman and bob even picked up the restaurant tab! mad props to ma homie bob! bob says, "buy a tailored silk suit in thailand for ~$150US." i'll have to look into that.
It's raining today so vikki and i will hit versailles tomorrow assuming i get up in time. we're off to the marais district today. vikki likes to keep busy!
note to self:
poulet is chicken
poulee is t-bone steak
the lights of tour eiffel have been extinguished for the night. this means it is time for me to be off to bed. i'm staying at vikki's for the next two nights as we need an early start for tomorrow to versailles and on monday to charles de gaulle airport. had a late start today but saw the hotel d'ville, the tuileries gardens, the pompideu center, and rode the ferris wheel at the far end of the champs elysees. ate dinner at les parisiennes in the mersai district. more interesting and deep conversations ranging from her family to pitchers of wine. while at vikki's, i have a wonderful view of the eiffel tower (the top three-quarters, at least) to gaze upon when i fall asleep. and, if it's not foggy, it's there when i wake. though vikki does keep a bust of a woman on her counter which freaks me out sometimes. going to mcdonalds on the champs elysees for breakfast followed by many hours and many rolls of film being spent at versailles. then off to an american pub for some beers and some billiards. today has been a day of much laughter, as every day should be.
11/26/2001 3:50pm (paris time)
wow, my flight home is almost half over! will arrive in philly ~8pm paris time. then i must work for eight hours. then off to thailand on friday. visited the chateau of versailles yesteday with vikki (finally). walked many miles about the grounds and took many photos. extravagance run amuck. some minor issues with the RER but nothing major. walked about the town of versailles and picked up a few tokens for the family... some sorbet, too. more foie gras and fromages for a late dinner somewhere on the champs elysees. woke up at 7:30am to get to the airport. uneventful. these headphones do not get loud enough to drown out
SCREAMING FUCKING KIDS
IRRITATING SCREAMING FUCKING KIDS
same movies as the trip over... i've sunk to dr. doolittle 2.
this has been an excellent trip. not the hilarious laugh-fests like trips with old friends like matt and ryan, but the sometimes nervous, sometimes genuine laughter shared between two new friends. thank you vikki for the wonderful tour of paris.