Friday, May 11, 2012

It Might Have Been in Gay Paris... (pronounced Paree)

So I found this blog that never got published from my first study abroad trip to Germany. Thought some of you might enjoy this tid-bit about my adventures in Paris...

**Small explanation for the title: For those of you who don't follow old music, this is a song by The McGuire Sisters from the fifties. It's all about finding the world in someone you love...however, this post is about a weekend trip to France**

As I write this, I am in the hotel lobby listening to the sweet strains of some '40s music that our desk clerk found on the radio. He's this adorable, little old man that doesn't speak a word of English. So...I learned to say my room number in German.

I have quite a few stories for you involving angry French waiters, Disney-like bird feeding, relics, and of course: Train rides, so here goes...

Right after class on Wednesday we packed up for Paris and caught the 5:39 train. Train rides have become my favorite European habits; they're like chocolate boxes: you just never know what you're gonna get. On this train, we got a lovely mix. The four of us (we were missing the last part of our CSU Jackson Five) sat at a little table facing each that. Across the aisle was a French family with the cutest 6 or 7 yr. old little girl. She was listening to an audio book in French that apparently encouraged interaction because she would pipe up every now and then with little French phrases that I didn't understand.

Behind this lovely family was a young man with cool horn rimmed glasses (seriously IN in Europe). He was on the phone when we first boarded and within ten minutes of being seated he had set up an entire office complete with laptop, mouse pad, mouse, headphones, and a mini-secretarial service. Throughout the trip various exchanges were made with him...such as eye contact and the occasional smile. About halfway through the trip a gentleman joined him and within the minute he was asleep...but he's not the type to do things half-way. He didn't just sleep, no no no! He SNORED. The kind that makes you a candidate for those breathing strip commercials. Well, obviously, I wanted a picture (documentation purposes only, folks), but our horn-rimmed friend was still awake so I had to be discreet. I asked Shane to act like he was taking a picture of me, but really take one of the snoring man and our horn-rimmed friend. Apparently, he thought I said, "Really obviously take a picture of the man that's snoring and the man beside him." These instructions, he followed verbatim. Turns out, our horn-rimmed friend was looking right at Shane when he took the shot. I include this picture.

Parenthetically, the little old desk clerk is now watching old westerns. Gunshots are ringing out in the lobby.

Moving on. While in Paris, we did a number of different things; I'll hit the highlights. Our first day there we stopped at the bakery at the end of our block and got Quiche Lorraine to eat on the bus (can you say delicious?) Hopped on the train (you do that a lot in Paris...hop) and went to the Sarce Coure Basilica. Turns out with all our various errands, picture taking and cliff dwelling, we got there just in time for the noon mass; a very cool expereince. (NOTE: When walking the streets of Paris, one must be constantly vigilant because of the men on the sidewalks hawking Parisian paraphenalia like little Eiffel towers on keychains, little Eiffel towers that light up, and little Eiffel towers with special psychic powers.) We thus far had done a fine job of running across the the street every time we came into contact with them until this one time at the Basilica. We were coming down the MILLION steps and we walked straight into them. Two African men working the stairs with odd knotted strings hanging from their fingers. Following Kori and Shane, Robin and I watched them neatly skirt them. Expecting to be able to do the same thing we charged forward saying, 'No thank you' in the British accents we had adopted for our stay in France. But alas! One grabbed my hand. I tried to pull away, but he was holding on too tight. I kept backing away saying, 'No, please don't' Shane and Kori were calling from a little further down the sidewalk. The man was trying to place his knotted string on my finger and he succeeded. I now have a bracelet and a cool story and it only Cost me EIGHT EURO. Unbelievable.

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