I took it easy today, mostly because my feet are really starting to hurt. I think I collapsed the complex inner workings of my high-tech Reebok walking shoes. I suppose I’ll just leave them here when I go. My own personal contribution to french culture.
This morning I decided to brave the Metro. As it turns out, its pretty much like every other subway. I don’t know why I expected it to be somehow different. Maybe its because of that song.
You know, the french have this reputation where they’re supposed to be really rude. I’ve had a few people be a a little short with me, but all in all, they’ve been pretty good. Although, to be completely honest, I think they should have an attitude. Paris is crawling with tourists. I mean bus loads, plane loads, car loads, and, so help me, boat loads of tourists. I’d be pissed. Seriously. I get mad when people from Maplewood take up all the parking spots in my neighborhood. I can’t imagine having double-deck, glassed-in, 45-foot busses cruising the streets where I live. There are also these gigantic restaurant-on-a-barge things that cruise up and down the Seine. At night they (the boats) kick on these ridiculously powerful flood light pointed up at the buildings along the river. Not a big deal until you realize that the most of the buildings are people’s houses. Its like having a bank of 20 or so streetlights run past your bedroom window every ten minutes or so.
I went to the Arc de Triomphe and walked along the Avenue de Champs Elysees. I didn’t climb to the top of the Arc, mostly because the weather wasn’t great, so I figured for my 20 FF, I’d wait for a better day. There’s a whole mess of sculpture attached to the Arc, with a surprising amount of nakedness considering the whole war theme.
A good-size chunk of Paris is close for repair right now. It looks like they’re expecting company for the year 2000. Its the low season now, and there are lots of tourists. I’m having a hard time conceiving of the busy time of year must be like, a busy year sounds like a nightmare.
The odd cultural moments continue:
Today on the metro, a man attached a blanket to two of the poles that people hold on to while standing and turned on some sort of italian opera music He then proceeded to hold up some kind of puppet and pretend it was singing.
Last night on the Boulevard Saint Michel, I saw what can only be described as a Statue of Liberty impersonator. (French drag queens really need some new material.)
This afternoon, on a bridge over the Seine, there was an Egyptian sarcophagus impersonator. Apparently he was hoping to cash in on the whole anthropomorphic inanimate object impersonation fad started by the Statue of Liberty guy.
When I got back to my hotel, I turned on the TV and a french-dubbed version of “Daria” was on. This was by far the hardest thing to understand so far.
Well, that’s about it so far. I had a minor toilet-related problem, which I fixed. So I finally have my room more or less situated. Well, other than a shower clearly designed for someone with hygiene habits very different from my own.
Oh, by the way, “oui” is pronounced “whey”, not “wee”. Just thought you should know.