Unable to Leave Paris

Trip Start Jul 11, 2008
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18
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Trip End Aug 06, 2008


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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Well... I'm not in Amsterdam... but I'll get to that in a little bit.
First, Wednesday.  Agathe and I went into paris around mid-day.  I've discovered, they walk a lot in paris.  We saw the Opera house, the first place I ever went in Paris when I was 16 and came with my French class.  We continued to walk down to the Louvre, didn't enter, but walked along the garden area there.  This layout is HUGE and a very beautiful area surrounded by monuments and with the Arc De Triumph in the near distance.  We walked down to the arc, and continued onto the Champs Elyse.  We ate at Pomme De Pain, my favorite French restaurant (Helena, thanks for introducing me to this).  After lunch, we went to the Cinema, across the street on the Champs Elyse.  It was the Opening Day of WALL-E so we watched this.  It was perfect because only basic French was spoken and I understood just about all of it.  Other than that, the only words spoken were "Wallllle"  or "Evvvea".  But it was a cute movie, I liked it. 
After the cinema, we walked some more (common theme around here).  The metro station was closed so we walked some more and finally found one out near Notre Dame.  We took the Metro to Montmartre. This has got to be my favorite place in Paris.  I'd been here before, you might recognize the pictures, but I love it so much, it was totally worth coming back.  Arrived, and as we were about to ascend the walk way up, Agathe told me not to talk to the African guys because all they wanted to do was sell you stuff.  Sure enough 15 seconds later, the bombardment arrives.  On guy puts his hand on my shoulder, trying to get me to talk to him, just continued to briskly walk and ignore the guy.  Then another one grabs Agathe's arm.  It was just instinct and I push the guys arm way and told him not to touch her.  The guy was shocked and shoved my arm back.  I think he spoke the only English he knew, which was "Fuc* You".  I just simpily repeated, "Don't touch her!".  This was replied with the same words.  We continued to walk on and he continued to yell at us.   
So.. after that encounter, we were able to take in the beauty of this place.  I took some great pictures that I was really proud of.  My artistic talent has truly grown over the past couple weeks.  We had an "apéritif" or appetizer, at a café in Montmartre.  Following that we took the Metro to downtown and met Agathe's sister and friend of dinner at an Italian restaurant.  I had a 4 cheese pizza, but of course,  being in France this cheese was much stronger and even had chunks of cheese on top.  It was interesting, but it was the first pizza i've had in a long time so I ate it all.  After dinner we stopped by the supermarket, picked up a couple beers and sat along the Seine River (the river that runs through Paris).  This place is really beautiful at night and just across the river is the towering Notre Dame.  Really a sight to see.
                The next morning we got up earlier and headed into Paris to purchase our tickets to Amsterdam.  After waiting in line for 30 minutes, we were told that it was going to cost 300 Euros collectively to go.  The Rail pass required a 30 reservation each way and they last minute full ticket cost over 200 Euros.  So, this plan got 86'd.  We made it a short day.  We waited in Bercy park (the same from the first day) and met Agathe's friend Fouzia.  I had my first French Starbucks and was surprised to see the menu is the same!
                After this, I mailed some post cards at the post office and returned home.  This evening it actually rained.  I played PS2 with Agathe's little brother Brain and then the 3 of us went out on a driving excursion.  Of course, it's a manual, but I faired alright.  Agathe's dad returned from work in Italy and brought home some Italian chocolates to die for.  We watched the French equivalent of Survivor and Big Brother and called it a night.  The filming and layout of survivor is painfully identical to what we watch in America, just with French speaking people and no Jeff Probst.  Tomorrow I don't know what we will do because of no Amsterdam...  Sorry Michaela, I'm not going to be able to find your shoes.
The next morning we slept in.  Stayed at Agathe's house most of the day and watch Bowling for Columbine, the Michael Morre Film.  Agathe showed me the helmates her grandfather and great-grandfather used in both WWII and WWI, and their dog tags.  This was really interesting for me.  The leather inside the helmates smelled like the saddles we used to go horse camping.  Of course, they were too small to fit on my head, but i still tried.  After mid-day we went shopping at a shopping center larger than the Galleria in Roseville.  I looked for shoes for my sister but failed to find any under 55 euros that I thought she would like.  Never in my life have a been female shoe shopping....
I did find a store called H&M that I really liked.  They had cheap "chemises".  A Chemises is a male button up shirt, with a collar, but not one you would wear with a tux.  A casual button up basically.  I bought two, the first time I bought something for myself to bring home on this trip!
We returned home, had dinner with the family and the parrot, Coco, outside.  It's a habitual thing to drink rosé wine with dinner every night.  Everyone in Agathe's family does and it was the same thing in Bayonne with Coralie's family.
Now it is Saturday morning and we are preparing for Normandie, I have to pack and then we are driving 3 hours North.   I'll be there for the rest of my vacation and return on Tuesday night for my flight Wednesday morning.  It's amazing to think I've been away from home for nearly 4 weeks.  I don't know how the internet situation will be in Normandie, but never the less, I'll write my enteries and post them when I have the chance.  A bientot mes amis!
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