9.29.2005

Ahhhh, Paris!!!

Yes, yes, I know it's out of order to talk about the vacation after I've described the horrors of getting home, but gimme a break: I'm scarcely sleeping 6 hours a night, and you know I need a full 8 or I'm an ogre!

We arrived in Paris Saturday September 17 right on schedule. Got to the
hotel (very nice, if I do say so myself!) (no, I didn't build it, but I picked it), checked in to our super cozy plush room, unpacked, and took a nap for about 2 1/2 hours -- yeah, we know we should have stayed awake: sue us. We left the hotel at 5 for an 8:00 dinner reservation, after showering and unpacking, and walked for about two hours, stopping every which where to look at things and see what we might buy! Had a decent dinner at Chez Lena et Mimile, talking for most of the meal with a couple, coincidence of coincidences, from San Francisco.

Sunday was an early day, since we got picked up at 9 by our driver and guide and went off for a day at Versailles and Giverny. Beautiful day, as was the rest of the week, so we didn't need any of the fall clothes we had with us except a sweater to keep on when it got breezy. Our guide was very nice and extremely knowledgeable (as well as bilingual, which worked out well for everyone) but turned out to be a bit of a racist regarding the influx of Chinese tourists who've inundated Paris since China started issuing visas about a year ago (letting them come soak in the decadence of France). Some ill-advised comments issued from Jocelyne, which was all the more odd since a) she knew we were from SF and b) as Amy said, either of us could have been married to someone Chinese (not to mention c) just offended in general by casual racism!). We had a great dinner at Restaurant Georges, at the top of the Pompidou Center, with a stunning view across the whole city from Ile St Louis across to Montmartre, right at sunset. Gorgeous. Oh, and some French bloke told me he loved me. I disregarded it. Bet he says that to all the girls.
(Had a great conversation about xenophobia vs. racism with our cab driver on the way back to the hotel, just one of a bunch of conversations I had during the week, entirely in French, which may I say makes every single one of the agonizing 13 years I spent learning the language TOTALLY and COMPLETELY worth it now that I'm fluent?!!!!)

I spent Monday in London, walking walking walking and visiting the Tate Modern and some antique shoppes (bought Bryan a fabulous little pen and ink drawing done in 1781), got stranded for about an hour on a stopped Eurostar on the way back to Paris -- and let me say this: the French antipathy for deodorant does not mix well with a warm Indian summer evening in a train whose a/c has been turned off, ok??? -- but I whiled away the time e-mailing with HF and Dan and Rob and Russ. A note about trans-continental technology, by the way, and then I'll abbreviate this post 'til later today: the BlackBerry RULES, y'all, as does (surprisingly) T-Mobile, because it has these reciprocal relationships with satellite providers (or whatever, like I know from technology details, right?) and phone companies so that the entire week, I had both e-mail and phone capability without interruption! (Ok, there was the slight problem of running out of juice on the very last [extra] day, but that was entirely my fault since I didn't friggin' bother to check the box my device had come in, and therefore failed to find the FRENCH PLUG ADAPTER they include with the thing, along with a UK/Western Europe adaptor, even. Oy.)

More later....

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