Well, things are starting to get more interesting.
Yesterday, it finally stopped raining and the sun came out about 5:00, so I went for a walk along the Seine, near Ile St. Louis. At one point, I walked under a bridge and saw what appeared to be, honest to god, I don’t think I could make this up if I tried, a man trying to teach another man how to meow like a cat. Seriously. They really seemed to be intent on mimicking cats. They appeared otherwise normal, so I don’t think I can write this off as an example of random street (or in this case, bridge) lunacy.
Later that evening, I was walking back to my hotel, and on the street was a small dog, a boxer I think, and two men. (Not the cat nuts mentioned above.) One guy was saying something to the dog, and the dog gave him the head-cocked-to-the-side confused dog look and took a tentative step forward. All I could think was: YOU IDIOT! DOGS CAN’T SPEAK FRENCH! OF COURSE IT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!
I still haven’t shaken the jet lag. What’s been happening is that I lay in bed until about 4:00 AM and then sleep until 11:00 AM. This is not good. I’m going to be a serious mess in a couple of days.
Today the weather was a lot nicer, so I decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower. On my way there, I stopped for lunch at a little outdoor restaurant in the Parc du Champ de Mars. I had a really good lunch, but at the end, I didn’t have enough money in francs to pay for it. Crap! The woman there was really nice about it and gave me directions to a place where I could change some currency. After that I went on the the Tower.
You really have to see the Eiffel Tower, I don’t think I could explain what its like. The size is incredible, especially at the base where the legs are connected by lacy metal webbing that is impossibly graceful for the size of the structure.
From 300 meters up, Paris looks completely different than from the streets. When you walk along the boulevards, there is the feeling of being in a canyon, the buildings rise up steeply on either side presenting a rather uniform flat face to pedestrians. But from the tower, Paris looks flat, with an odd uniformity to the topography of the city. Paris looks, for all the world, as thought it was carved out of a flat plain of limestone, with what were the occasional hills made into monuments and churches. Really different from what I’m used to.
Walking back from the tower, stopped to apologize again to the people at the restaurant where I embarrassed myself earlier. I ended up have my first conversation in French. Really. It was only about 3 minutes, but not a word of English. Heh, heh, I’m pretty damn smooth.