Tag Archives: France

I’m not a smart man

My time in Paris is almost over. I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Other than that, I walked around the city like it was my job. Actually, since I’m unemployed walking could very well be my job. I could be like the walking version of Forest Gump. It’s a fitting description, since I have a tendency to stumble onto things around which other people would plan their day.  For instance, my first night in the city I decided to check out the Eiffel Tower, since every one raves about it. So I hopped on the metro and hopped off at Trocadero. I hadn’t planned it out much more than that so when I was back up at ground level I just started walking. (And for those of you who are concerned, yes it was dark so I decided to play it safe and hitch-hike down some poorly-lit alleys and collect strange looking needles while I was there.  Calm down!) I had just started to get a sinking feeling that I was getting farther and farther away from the tower when I turned a corner and BAM! There it was, the top of the tower looming above another building.  Things like the Eiffel Tower are infinitely more exciting when you aren’t expecting them.

I stumbled across the Louvre in a similar fashion. In fact, I felt a little bit like Forest Gump the whole time that I was at the Louvre; I was in the presence of greatness and yet I had no clue what was going on.  Now, I’m not completely uncultured, but it’s safe to say that I have little understanding of good art. For instance, there was one large Italian paining that had a small crowd in front of it. It was a nice painting, but I didn’t understand it at all. From what I understood, it was a portrait of babies holding a disco ball. Now, I’m fairly certain that the babies were, in fact, cherubs but I remain quite unsure of what the disco ball was.

While I’m on the topic of great art, let me pause for a moment to reflect upon La Joconde. While I understand that much of the intrigue surrounding her is based on the ambiguity of the subject, I don’t understand what it was that makes herds of people wait in line to get a front-row view of her.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the museum is playing a joke on the public with the juxtaposition of the tiny  Mona Lisa with The giant Wedding at Cana on the opposite wall. Perhaps this is why DaVinci’s girl smirks: the thousands of people every year who flock towards  her and likely miss out on other worthy pieces. However, before I sound too pretentious, let me be the first to remind you that when I look at great art I see babies shakin’ their tail feathers with a disco ball.

While I’ve enjoyed the city and appreciated (though not always understood) it’s cultural offerings, it’s time for a change of pace. Tomorrow I leave Paris and head to St-Malo for a few days.

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Don’t they have doors like this in Canada?

UPDATE: I have posted a picture of the lock in question at the bottom.  Judge for yourself.

So i’m here. I’m not going to lie though, Paris and I had a rough start. The flight went as smoothly as possible. I slept through both meals, which meant that I probably got in at least a few hours of sleep for the night. When I landed, after pikcing up my luggage and going through customs (and by “going through customs” I mean that a police officer gave me a glance, my passport a quicker glance and then stamped me and sent me on through), I had to figure out how to get to the city from the airport. Now, I had done my research. I knew to take the RER and then take the 4 to the stop nearest the appartment. What I didn’t know what how to buy a ticket. It’s ok though because I made friends. While I was walking down the hallway towards the train station I saw three people starring, dumbfounded, at the ticket machine. Two of them were Canadians who had been on my flight. The other was the Texan (I knew she was Texan because it was the first thing she told me. “Hi I’m Kelly and I’m a Texan.”) Anyhow, the four of us tried desperately to figure out how to get this machine to take our money and give us tickets in return. It only took coins — which none of us had, or credit cards — which we could not figure out how to use in the machine. So we ended up waiting for a half hour in the line to buy tickets.

Anyhow, I ended up at the apartment that I’m renting a little late but I still made it. A man name Jeremy met me to exchange the keys for money. Done, great. I was just getting settled in when Jeremy came back and knocked on the door. No problem, I can answer a door, right? Wrong.   The doors in France are like no other doors I have ever seen.  I’ll attach a photo at some point but for now just trust me that they are completely counter intuitive.  So there I stood, not only unable to answer the door, but effectively locked inside the apartment. Jeremy, a very kind man, and I participated in an exchange where he tried to explain it in broken English through the door while I tried to figure out what he was talking about.  Eventually I figured out that by “yellow” he meant silver and by “push” he meant pull. I then insisted it was OK for him to explain in French. This was not because I was keen to practise my French, I was just keen to get out of the room at some point.  Anyhow, after I got the door open and Jeremy gave me the pillow case he was walking out the door and he turned to me “don’t they have doors like this in Canada?” he asked.  Apparently Jeremy thought that this must be what I go through every time I encounter a door.

Anyhow, despite a few minor glitches (we won’t get into the wine-cork incident)  the day overall has been a success. I didn’t go to sleep so I will be able to sleep tonight and (hopefully) wake up fully accustomed to the time change. (side note: France doesn’t do daylight savings until a few weeks from now, so it’s currently only a five hour difference).  That’s all for now . i’m not sure why this paragraph is in bold by my Internet time is quickly running out so I’m rolling with it.

Blerg

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