Friday, March 14, 2003

today is my last day in paris... and in france as well. it's been beautiful here, but a little bit cool. i've seen a lot of stuff here, as well as taking some time to just absorb it all.

i've been thinking of maybe publishing a sort of superlatives list for france, like best/worst hotel, worst toilet, best beach, best meal... etc. but i thought i'd open up the catagories to the public, so if you can think of anything that you think would be funny or something you're genuinely curious about use the "comments/feedback" link at the top right of the page.

i was thrilled to be able to do my laundry in the hostel today, and also to be able to leave my bag here when i was done, so i didn't have to drag it around with me all day.

and it is a sunny, beautiful day. i've spent most of it sitting by st. martin's canal and reading. walked around my "home" area in paris for the last time (near the place de la republique) and wrote some postcards.

in a couple of hours i'll be on my way to italy on a long, and most likely uncomfortable, bus ride. then the real struggle comes in communicating. though my french is nowhere near fluent i at least know a lot of basics, numbers, i can pose simple questions "do you have?" "can i?" "i'd like" "where is?" so we'll see how much italian i can beat into my brain on the bus.

wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

have i mentioned that my current hostel has free breakfast? (well, included in the price of the room anyway) and while i love this, because it means i don't have to buy a coffee somewhere, i get a little something to tide me over so that i'm not hungry for lunch by 11 (most places don't serve lunch until noon), there is one part i hate - they always have it early in the morning! at least this place serves breakfast from 7-9, the place in arles was from 7:30-8:30. but they're also very strict on the one cup of coffee per person rule. there's a woman who stands up there and gets you a cup of coffee and a cup of juice. no seconds whatsoever. also i have still not managed to get a cup of black coffee.
a little aside about coffee in france. when you ask for a "cafe" (coffee) you will most likely get an espresso. i think if you say "cafe americain" you'll get a regular black coffee (though i tried this once and ended up getting exactly what i wanted, for the price 3.40 euro). your standard coffee is pretty much going to be a cafe au lait

so the first morning she said "cafe au lait?" and i said "no 'au lait'". and she gave me a cafe au lait. this morning she said "cafe au lait?" and i said "cafe noir" (that means black coffee). and i *still* got a cafe au lait. oh well. i guess it's like they say "when in rome, be like the romans" or something. i'll get over it.

went to another picasso museum this morning, and this one was way better and bigger than the one i went to in antibes. it also had lots more of the picasso stuff that i like. after i went to a medieval museum, which was pretty cool. lots of stained glass windows, sculptures and illuminated manuscripts.

had lunch in chinatown. at a japanese place. oh well. actually there was probably more vietnamese restaurants there than chinese. france has a lot of vietnamese people. and since then i've been cruising around saint germain des pres and the latin quarter. bought a couple of grocery type things for my dinner and am thinking about heading back to the hostel soon.

i had more planned for today, but after a pretty full day yesterday i decided to take a few things off the schedule and just chill a little bit. and that's been good. tomorrow i'll have another full day to explore.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

a fab first day in paris. and guess what?!?! i finally got all the way to the top of the eiffel tower!! can you believe it? was very exciting, and it really is so much higher up than the 2nd level, there are things you can't see from the 2nd that you can from the top. good times. but - i have a question for everyone: have you ever known someone who has gone to paris, more specifically the eiffel tower and after leaving they say "you know what? the one souvenir i *really* wanted to buy was a small metal eiffel tower/eiffel tower keychain - and i just couldn't find them anywhere!" i mean really! not only does every shop near the eiffel tower (hell, probably every shop in paris) have them, but in case you missed them in the shop, at least 50 men will approach you to offer them up for sale. i think if i really wanted a cheesy souvenir (but let's be honest, sometimes you do - but i don't) i think you would go out and find one in a shop, or up to some street vendor who had them - do you really need to be pestered every 5 feet???????

did a little museum hopping this afternoon. went to the musee rodin and the musee d'orsay. but alas, monsieur "le penseur" was not present at musee rodin. and musee d'orsay is HUGE, so now my little feet are pretty tired, i'm looking forward to getting some dinner and getting back to the hostel to put my feet up! then i do it all over again tomorrow. :)

thinking about having a falafel sandwich for dinner. yum. maybe with fries on the side!

Monday, March 10, 2003

so the cleaning woman definitely hated me in bordeaux. she only came the first morning i was there. the second morning she left a bag of towels on my door handle (my sink was quite leaky) and she didn't come at all any other day. i think my desire to sleep late mucked up her whole schedule, and so she decided i could manage on my own. which wouldn't be that big of a deal, i don't really need my bed made every day, but taking the trash would have been nice.... anyhow...

had the *best* sunday so far yesterday. i got up, had a coffee in a sunny cafe. first of all - the sun - i think for as long as i've been here sunday is always cloudy, cold and/or rainy... i took myself out to a great and cheap lunch at a chinese place. they had a menu for 8 euros that included a starter, an entree with white rice, a dessert, and a 1/4 picther of wine. very good. :) and then i walked for a little while in the sunny pedestrian zone and went to the fine arts museum. after the museum i sat in the garden out front - wearing only a t-shirt! - and read and people watched for like 2 hours. then i went home, had my take-away salad and soup for dinner, read some more, a little tube and then bed. just about a perfect day!

got up super-early today (8 am can you believe it!) and got myself down to the train station for my my very long, but very first TGV journey. and so now here i am, in paris. got myself a bed and a subway pass for the week and i'm ready to see some sights, sip some coffee and finally make it to the top of the eiffel tower!!!

so tomorrow i'll hopefully have something interesting to write about...