|Paris, well... very cool so far!
Had a funny introduction here.. I met a nice fellow in Amsterdam who had spent alot of time travelling through Europe and as we were talking he got me all worked up about my journey from Amsterdam to Paris by train.
Now, I'm not saying that I'm not aware of the dangers... but well... I have a few foibles (to inform you who asked).. and I can be quite paranoid about losing stuff... it's not the having to replace it part, or even begrudging the bugger who took it.... but I just can't stand the waste of it all. Now that's two of something that had to be made. I almost picture the landfill rising. It wouldn't be so bad if I was sure that they would use it, but they never do. They just don't.
I'm also a bit compulsive about certain things.. bizarre things... like fridge doors... doorlocks... and plugs (well mainly toasters but any plug can affect me if I'm honest).
I can hear you laughing M&D.
Anyway so there I am at the train station, 1.5 hours before my train (there's another one), and sure enough, a situation like my new friend in Amsterdam had described evolved. You could almost feel the evil when he was 20 metres away. It's funny how you can do that sometimes. Someone could be as nice as your old family dog with their speech... but inside, well. You could send a physicist in to study the black hole where their soul should be.
I managed to get rid of him, and pondered if I had been too harsh in my judgement. But sure enough and hour later he circled me again, looking not at me, but at my stuff.
Bizarre really, I probably would of thanked him if he'd wandered off with my pack, cause carrying that thing around with me is like training in the goddam army (except for the sweaty gear and big angry yelling guy at the front). I'd be damned though if he'd take my laptop. Not only cause it wasn't mine, but for the complete madness I'd had trying to connect it to our work server.
If he'd walked down to the wifi cafe 3 times for 3 hours in the dark wee hours of Scotland, I might feel different.
The French are madmen. They really are.
I was surprised to find French people very warm and friendly, as I had heard they weren't exactly easy going.. especially for people who don't speak French. But put one of those dead-friendly-anywhere-else Frenchmen on the roads and they become complete lunatics.
Roundabouts are not roundabouts, but grand prix testing grounds. Green pedestrian lights actually mean.. "sacrebleu! Bonne chance Oui Oui!"
Walking around Paris (trying to get my phone unlocked), I noticed how many signs there are for blind people, but the funny thing was... I didn't actually notice any blind people.
After witnessing the driving, I realised they'd probably all been run over.
So.... first night out in Paris, I wandered into a local bar. While having a drink I noticed a local outside stopping passers by... wasn't exactly sure what he was asking them... but I didn't exactly think he was selling bibles either. I watched him follow one local up the street badgering them, then give up 10 steps later... catch another local and walk 10 steps back the other way chattering in their ear and gesturing wildly....
This went on for some time...
Anyhow... by this time I was on my second drink... and a second drink for me always means madness. The barman was being real nice... really nice... and I think he was giving me a bit of the old eye and all. He even asked me for ID at this point, and you know what, I burst into a goddam fit of giggles. Bloody hell. What a twit.
You know when you are sitting quietly somewhere... and it's really imperative that you don't laugh... like when someone is talking about their surgery... or a serious injury or something... and you can feel the nonsense welling up... but you can't fight it. Even thinking about a family funeral or something can't hold it back. Well that happens to me ALL the time. Excessively so. I used to do it at work a bit (some of you will be grinning now) during EXTRA serious meetings. Anyway I felt it happening right at that moment.
As I said, the second drink spells madness.
Well, anyway, so there was this young guy who sat down near me. I think he was a bit flitty to be honest, as he seemed to be terrified I might be giving him the old eye and everything.
A word of advice here to all males... if a girl is giving you big puppy dog looks with cow moon eyes... and asking you to run away with them... then she's into you.
If she's just looking around all interested in her surroundings like... then most likely she isn't.
Anyway... not much to report between that and L' Addition, but when I did leave, the barman brought over this big stack of lollies and chocolates. Normally they give you a chocolate with your coffee, but I swear to god this was just madness.
He said to me... "quick, put it in your pocket or I'll lose my job"... that just kills me. That to give a girl the old eye and extra chocolates would risk someones job. Nuts. Anyway, so I couldn't just leave them there as he had pratically trucked it over and all, so I literally had to divise a launch plan with an open purse and then tip the goddam table up to pour them in there. All the time giggling like a madman. I swear to god I did.
Wandering along the streets of Paris the next day, looking for a cafe to set my laptop up in, all the while listening to Elvis on the old ipod and all.
Well.... it is the city of love after all isn't it?
(If you are laughing at that, I bet you are the type that dances round in their underwear and shades on to the tune of footloose or something... or worse, flashdance... ... ).
While I was walking, what struck me most, was just how many homeless people there are here. I hadn't seen all that much of it on my travels up to now... and I must say it depressed the hell out of me.
One thing I can never understand is the little piles of money they have in front of them. How can people see them sitting there like that, and then throw goddam money at them? It seems so cold somehow. It would be different if you could sit down with them, have a coffee and chew the fat or something. Figure out why it got so bad for them. I'd really like to do something... but I just can't bring myself to just walk past and drop it... then bugger off and feel good like I had really made a difference or something.
So if you are reading this JT, that's why I don't buy really expensive designer stuff. I'm not saying people who do are bad or anything, but sometimes I just can't get the picture of things like that out of my head.
Well..... Friday night was complete madness. I didn't come back overly late or anything, but I must of amused the hell out of the doorman, cause he thought it would be a complete blast to give me the wrong goddam door key, the bastard.
Half an hour later (yes, it took me that long), I knew he'd done it on purpose. You know when they have, cause they slap their forehead in that funny way, and pretend to be mortified at the error, all the while grinning at you like a goddam madman.
I woke up at a strange hour on Sat... and realised that while an ipod can indeed illuminate an entire room, it was nothing compared to my cellphone. You could put that goddam thing on a rock and signal the goddam Hong Kong harbour. They should put warnings on the stupid things.
Anyway, as I was up early I went out to make a long but determined search for burnt toast... (are you grinning RB?) or at least anything with charcoal in it. I probably would have even stopped and eaten something from an artist supply shop I was that much in need.
After that, I decided to go and see what the hell the Eiffel tower was doing.
It just so happens that my brother, his wife, and friends of theirs (that sounds like a bad movie title huh?) were also visiting Paris this weekend, so I caught up with them there.
The tower itself was very cool, so I took loads of photos, mainly of the structure, cause I knew you'd get a kick out of it PC (see you did make it in!).
After that, I invested 8€ to stand at the top of the 'Arc De Triomphe'. I only did that as my brother assured me I would see a good smash-up. As for all the places in Paris, this is where all the really really mad frenchman drive. I waited for nearly an hour and didn't see so much as a nudge. Paul refused to refund my money, the bastard.
Funny to walk along with my brother and his friend Julian. They are so mad keen on cars, I mean dead keen, that you could be having a very intellectual conversation with them, and then all of a sudden some flash mazzarrati or something will appear, and I swear, they'll just drop what they were saying to discuss it in depth. They won't even finish the word they were on. Even goddam scooters can get them worked up and all.
The funniest part is, is that when they have finished, and you could wait up to half and hour for that, they pick up the other half of that word and carry on. They're both mad. Completely mad.
We went out to dinner later. To the oldest reataurant in Paris. Very nice, and I had to have snails, I really did. They were great.
Sunday, laundry day.
So there I am at the laundromat, thinking I was quite the catch. Instructions were all in French but I still managed to get the gist. So feeling really smug about my international domestication, I headed to the pay-machine to start up the dryer.
Lo and behold, I was so caught up in my self-righteousness, that I dialled the wrong number. This meant I'd just added time to someone elses dryer. I wasn't worried so much about the fact I'd lost coins, but for the worry of shrinking someones else's undies or something..... Picturing them holding up tiny socks with disbelief in their eyes, as they ponder "how did that happen?
So.... anyway. I tried again, and you wouldn't believe it. I goddam well did it again.
That dryer's probably still going.