Paris

21 Apr 1999
The second warm up trip-- Paris. Of course there is a woman involved, and it's complicated, but then, you probably knew that.

I have this friend, we'll just call her Rosana She has the misfortune of being my drinking buddy. We would go out, have one too many margaritas and then fantasize about going someplace crazy (like Bangkok or Rome) for a weekend. All fun and good, but eventually we did it enough times that it started to get LAME.
Nothing is worse than that.

Finally I get tired of just talking about it and tell her to pick a city. So, she picks Paris. Now, Rosana is really uncomfortable with the whole idea but eventually, in a moment of weakness, she succumbs.

I put the tickets on 24 hour hold so we can both check our schedules. The last words out of her mouth are, "I wont change my mind."

I go home and realize that the cheap seats are almost gone, so I panic and hit the buy button. Two minutes later I get the message from her that she's changed her mind. She thought about, realized how uncomfortable with the idea she is and doesn't want to go.

Many painful conversations ensue, but she is sure. She is not going.

Now I have two totally non-transferable, non-refundable, non-changeable tickets to Paris. Go alone? Wow, what could suck worse then springtime alone in Paris?

Enter my e-mail buddy Teresa from Barcelona. I tell her the story to which she replies, "Wow, weird chick. By the way, I'll go."

So, now I'm off for a week-long e-mail blind date in Paris.

Hmm, is that lame or cool?
22 Apr 1999
Arrive in Paris.

Unfortunately Rosana and I went out for dinner last night and she forgot to give me the Paris guidebook so I have no idea what I'm doing. Hey, what's a Franc worth anyway? I buy a guidebook in the airport bookstore and start figuring stuff out. The plan is to meet Teresa under the Eiffel Tower. Neat.

The Eiffel tower is rad. Someone told me it was overrated, but I totally disagree. It's bigger than I thought, and much more beautiful. Teresa is shorter than I thought, and as beautiful as I expected.

We find a hotel and then we are off to Notre Dame, which, like everything else in Paris, is undergoing restoration and is covered in aluminum siding and scaffolding. The stained glass is amazing though.

Dinner of French Food at a random place on the walk back to the Hotel.

23 Apr 1999
Find a new hotel, ours was only free for one night, then off to the Louvre. Michelangelo's Death of a Slave, the Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, we checked them all out and I'll confess, I couldn't help myself, I groped the Michelangelo's...

The Louvre is in an old Palace, huge, and maze like. We spent half our time just trying to figure out where we were.

After the museum, a walk in the rain down the Champs Elysees from Place de la Concorde to the Arc De Triomphe, then back to the Eiffel Tower at sunset. I was gripped out of my mind on the elevator ride up the tower. I think I would have been more comfortable outside the elevator.

From the top of the tower we watch the lights come on as the city comes and goes between the clouds. Very beautiful, and perhaps even romantic if not for the obnoxious German teenagers and the image planted in my head by Rachel before I left.

Dinner of Italian food on the walk back to our hotel.

24 Apr 1999
Walk, walk, walk...

Through the Latin Quarter and St Germain searching for the Musee Du Cluny, a medieval art museum housed in a 14th century manor built on top of first century Roman ruins.

The sense of age and history is tangible. For me, it's impossible to wander around the old buildings and not wonder about the hundreds of years of footsteps that have preceded mine.

Dinner of Indian food in the Bastille district before a long walk home at 2 in the morning.

25 Apr 1999
Exhausted from yesterdays adventure we lounge in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica on Montmartre watching the street performers.

Sacre Coeur is amazing. We ascended the 3 foot wide spiral staircase to the base of the huge dome where we were treated to stellar views of Paris.

Teresa's final night with me in Paris, dinner of fondue in the Latin Quarter.

I manage to leave my wallet in the cab on the ride back to the hotel. Replacing all the things that need replacing in the two days I have left in Boulder should remind me not to do that again.

26 Apr 1999
Put Teresa on the bus back to Barcelona. I am alone in Paris with my errands and shopping.

My final dinner in Paris, more Italian.

27 Apr 1999
Au Revoir to Paris, back to Boulder for two frantic days.

Paris

Paris-- the city of love, where it's considered good luck to step in dog shit with your left foot.

I came expecting to be disappointed but was instead blown away. As I write this on the plane back to Colorado I am left with some questions though.

Where are the rude people? We couldn't find any.
You hear so much about the rudeness in Paris that we were almost disappointed when everyone treated us wonderfully. I got surprisingly far with my 9th grade French and people seemed to go out of their way to be nice to us.

What's with the food? It's all fabulous.
Stuffed after Indian food in the Bastille, we wondered off in search of a desert place. I insisted on ordering two even though Teresa claimed to be full. We finished the both, easily. Back on the street I kept catching myself checking out other restaurants despite being so full I could barely walk. We did not have a single bad meal. Not since NY have I had so much good food in so few days. There is money to be made bring the vomitorium back to Paris.

What's with the cops? The seem to be pretty well armed for not doing anything.
As far as I can tell, being a cop in Paris seems to involve a lot of posing in front of monuments with submachine guns while desperately trying to look as ineffectual as a 20-year-old holding a submachine can look. I think thieves in Paris are safe as long as they don't try to steal a monument or an embassy.

What's with all the cathedrals? It's messing with my sense of direction.
More than once, I sighted on the wrong steeple and got us lost.

What's with throwing cigarette butts on the floor in cafes?
Etiquette seems to be to throw all your trash on the floor by your feet, then they come by an sweep every once in a while. Hey! I'm eating. I don't care if it is your country, it's just plain wrong.


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