Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(never) a foggy day in london town

Following the very rushed move into my new apartment (thank god!) - et voila!-

I decided I'd had just about enough of Paris for now and jumped aboard the Eurostar to rendez-vous at Hotel Dwyer-Kirkland in London.

This was my inaugural trip to the UK, which ended up being quite sunny and glorious. I think I made poor Jess trot me all over the city just to hear me "ooh" and "ahh" over and over again over the city's charm, peacefulness, and those lovely british accents. Paris is lovely, of course, but there was something wonderfully calming - especially after those first hectic days - being surrounded by anglophones and dear friends.

While it's been said that the British are renowned for their deplorable cuisine, they seem to know how to impress their guests with the most delicious "ethnic" cuisine - isn't all food in a way "ethnic"? oh well - that have passed my lips in a long time. Walking through the most amazing outdoor markets I've ever seen,
Jess and I sampled the most luscious venison burger that was overflowing with a crazy tomato-barbeque sauce and soft-yet-crunchy sauteed onions. Naturally, it was followed up by a large piece of fabulous chocolate brownie ["make bread not war" was this particular patisserie's slogan].

I could continue regaling you with the many fantastic meals that we had, but that will just make everyone hungry. Needless to say, the food ain't bad.

I saw a lot on my grand, 3-day tour of London - I believe my fabulous tour guide had a lot to do with that. But now, I am back to Paris - tying up loose ends and getting ready for classes that will begin in a week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Qu'est-ce vou - WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Day deux in the city of light.  

Still getting over my jet lag and not quite as settled as I had hoped I would be - I am staying in a temporary apartment until mine is finished and ready to be moved into (the painter is taking his time), which will hopefully happen by Wednesday.  

Today, however, was rather momentous in its own right as it was the first day that I ventured the Parisian undergrounds and took the metro to meet my cousin at Saint Germain des Pres.  The physical state of my feet is a testament to how much I have feared dealing with the ticketing system and what I believe to be the very confusing web of metro lines, numbers, and colors.  But today I limped down the stairs to the ticket counter and tried by best - 

"Bonjour. Un billet, s'il vous plait?"

"Quoi? Que-es skdlfi awlskdhti alksdhti (this is a jumble of noise that I will assume is French that comes spewing out the woman's mouth although she refuses to look at me)?"

"Ummm. Un bill-yay?"

"'Allo?? Qu'est-ce sdkjig?? sdklfiwoeiht?(Now there were a lot of hand motions toward the list of prices and packages and vacation deals) Oui? ou non? (I think about here she started poking her finger against the window partition) Ekhtiwiok...WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

"What? Um. A ticket. One ticket."

At this point the very huffy woman behind the glass throws approximately 10 metro tickets into the tray and swivels the display around bearing a price that was way more than I wanted to spend at that time on metro passes, but as I felt that this woman might start shooting laser beams out of her eyes, I paid, grabbed my tickets, and ran into the fray of people who shuffled me onto my first metro.


I made it to Saint Germain in one piece and wandered a bit while I waited for my cousin.  Saint Germain is a trés chic part of town - I think I passed a Gucci, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Dior each within a stone's throw of each other.  I continued down roads without a map or any real purpose other than to blow some time when I came upon a road that sounded vaguely familiar - Rue d'Odéon.  This was the road that was the original site of Sylvia Beach's American bookstore and sanctuary for expats - Shakespeare and Company.  If this sounds familiar to you, its probably because I was blabbing about this bookstore most of last semester as it was the subject of one of my seminar papers. 

It was very strange being on that street, looking up at the sign that declared this building was the birthplace of James Joyce's Ulysses, and celebrating my little victory by myself as other people kept walking along this rue that had very little (if any) significance for them.  Where the bookstore used to be there is now a very swanky little boutique.  God knows what they thought when they looked out the store windows at a windblown girl grinning like an idiot staring up at the building.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

this is a test....

bonjour a tous

paris bound in three days. i'm hoping to chronicle my (mis)adventures of my aptly-termed "skip year" to trot the globe (mainly europe) setting up my command post in the 4th arrondissement de paris. yes, this was my alternative to finding a job post-davidson.  and, yes, i think i will enjoy one last fling of irresponsibility before i have to commit to real life.

i'm enrolling in french classes because i just couldn't get enough of middlebury language school
and just because i like paying the student discount at museums, etc.

if i'm not fluent in a year, i'm blaming the recent french interest in the hamburger.

if you are anywhere in the neighborhood in the next year (meaning anywhere in europe) let me know.

for now, a bientôt, and more news to come from the french front.