Today is our 10th full day in Paris, it's the 21st June 2014 and it is about 5pm. The sun has been up since about 4ish this morning and it is hot. The sun is definitely not as burning as in Australia but I am quite red. All the walking around we do has us in the sun quite a bit. The girls have been gone 3 days and the apartment still seems quiet without them. I have my i pad on now with music playing just to break the silence. Open the big windows though and it is noisy, traffic and voices filter up to our living area. Yesterday we went on a canal cruise of Canal St. Martin. A word of warning if you don't feel like listening to me grumble leave right now. Above is a building that sits on the banks of the Canal, so cool.
Above is a view of the canal from the starting point of the cruise. Those are the only nice things I can say about the entire experience. We thought it sounded great, 2.5 hours of cruising the canals from the Canal St. Martin area, ending at the Bastille marina. We bought our tickets and waited around for the 1.5 hours till the cruise would leave. As we sat waiting about 15 mins before we could board a tour of Germans arrived and stood right in front of all of us waiting on the banks for the past hour or so. Then the captain announced that the group would go on first. We were all pretty ticked off, Adrian asked the girl taking if the tickets if she spoke English of course she said, have you heard of trip advisor he asked yes she smiled, good because we are gonna slam you on it he said. It was down hill from there on.
Of course the group took the entire upper outside seats and most of the front outside seats. We went through 4 double locks, it took about 15 minutes each and after the first one it was pretty boring. We couldn't see what was happening as the Germans had the seats that you could see from. The interior filled up with the smell of the diesel and it was awful. Then the woman who had initially thought we were going to be nice, did a narration of the different sights along the way. Well we think that's what she was doing as all we could pretty much hear was her rattling on in French to a boat full of Germans and English speakers WTF, and then she would give like 2 sentences in English, which with her accent we couldn't understand anyway. As Adrian said once again the French folded at the bloody knees to the Germans. It was just the shittiest thing we have done so far. Rant over!!!!!
So most of you would know that we paid a bucket load of money before we came away to take French lessons. We went for 10 weeks once a week and played a cd in our cars every day. We were determined that when we got here we would be able to get by with at least a reasonable touch of French. Hmmm well not really. My first experience was in the Metro, fresh off the train from London, when we needed coins for the tickets. That was not a sentence we learnt, "Can I have coins please" nope not in the book, so she sends me to the bloody toilet for coins, ha ha. Well it hasn't gotten that much better, last night we decided we would get a bottle of bubbles and go sit on the river bank with the rest of the Paris population, seriously everyone under 35 is on the Seine all night long. Point there is that we are not under 35 so in the end we sat in the old people's hang the park at the side of the Notre Dame. Umm anyway back to the bad French. Adrian went and ordered a supreme pizza without egg. Yep you get a raw egg on most pizzas here watch out ha ha!!
He also ordered Calamari and Frittes (chips) now what did we get? We got Prawns and frittes and an onion pizza hahahahahah!!!!
We have decided that in France don't bothering ordering anything let them bring you what they want to, because they will anyway.
We did feel rather French though sitting there in the park drinking champagne (not real champers its too bloody expensive) and eating dinner.
Park beside Notre Dame
The girls have hidden something in this spot for a friend to find in 3 months
I saw this strange fellow hanging about
Some trivia for you, every afternoon here there is happy hour, from about 3 till around 8pm in most of the cafes, bistrots and restaurants. That means the drinks are a bit cheaper. Make the most of it if you don't want to buy a bottle and eat and drink at home. We had a really nice time an afternoon or 2 ago sitting on the footpath, everyone does here, eating a bit of tapas and enjoying a couple of mojitos, which by the way we later found out weren't included in the happy hour ha hahahahahaha!!!!
We also have come to the conclusion that the police here use their sirens and lights to get through the never ending snarl of traffic. We constantly hear sirens rushing to no where. The cars get through the lights and turn off their sirens and go on their way.
We are so surprised by the number of young people who are out really late every night along the river bank. They all have some beer and wine, but there have been no fights or altercations at all that we have seen. We haven't even seen any teens really drunk, though I would assume they would be at least reasonably drunk just by way of the amount of time they have spent drinking.
Also here, we think the African population must have been here a generation or so more than in Australia. We see Bi racial couple everywhere, and mixed race children. The African community here is at restaurants and at work in businesses everywhere. Not like in Australia where they seem to mostly get work in the meat works of some form of labouring. I look forward to the day when I see that in Australia.
Also gay couples are openly together in Paris, men walking along holding hands, women cuddling in the park, very different to Toowoomba at least if not all of Australia. Paris is okay with everything, I long for the day when we can all accept each other, colours and preferences aside, how many generations will it take I wonder.
Paris is nice during the week when it is quieter, not so nice on the weekends, when it seems hoardes of visitors come to town. Paris is noisy, well noisier than Toowoomba, and it is the tourists that cause the chaos. I can imagine Paris without the visitors, it would be a wonderful place. I am ready to leave I feel though, it is exhausting. The trains are quite difficult, I found the tubes in London much easier to use. They eat and drink differently here and I am looking forward to a good coffee.
When you look up there are vapour trails all over the sky, people going somewhere, it makes me wonder where. It makes me want to leave a little trail in the sky and head home to my baby girls, my daughter and my bed. My twins are safe and sound in Canada and will be until at least May next year.
So as the days wind down and we prepare to head off in a few days to Amiens to see the Western Front, I hate to say it but I breathe a sigh of relief.