Saturday, November 25, 2006

I love Paris in the springtime (and November too!)

Well, I'm back from Paris. I'm not back home to Utah yet (this is coming to you from New York City), but that will come later on today. In a bit (like a few days or so) I'll try to upload some of the 100 or so pictures that I took in Paris and Versailles, so you can look forward to that.

For now, a little travel review, with perhaps a few details on some of the more quirky aspects of the trip:

We left Salt Lake City for New York, where we crashed at the home of some of our friends out here for two nights. While here we were able to see a revival of Sondheim's Company, which I mostly enjoyed. Other than that, we mainly just hung out with our friends out here, and I was able to meet even a few more of Tayneshia's friends. That was a nice little treat. I was also able to attend Sacrament meeting at the Inwood first ward here in Washington Heights. I was surprised to see no fewer than four people that I already knew, one of them whom I hadn't seen since my high school days. The world is indeed a very small place.

Sunday night we boarded our flight (Air India) to Paris, arriving in Paris in the early afternoon. We spent the next four days seeing as much of the city as our legs, energy, and Euros allowed. We saw Notre Dame, and the Palace and Gardens at Versailles, and the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre, and the Rodin Museum and the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower, and Montmarte, and lots and lots of Parisian alleys and back streets. We shopped and ate and laughed and rode metros and trains and a funicular. We met and became friends with other Americans, and Parisians, and people from Mexico and England and India.

It was wonderful. I Love Paris.

Here are (briefly) some of the oddities of our trip. I'll try not to go into too much detail, but you know I am prone to rambling, so be warned!

Versailles-We took the train to Versailles. It was beautiful and ornate and amazing. After we had gone through the palace, Tayneshia decided to take a little mini-train that would take her around the gardens and surrounding area. Not understanding just how vast the area was, we determined to meet back up at a certain place in 30-45 minutes. So, Tayneshia went on the train, and I went walking around (I love walking. I just love it).

Well, each path I took led to another path, and soon, I'd been gone about 40 minutes. In those 40 minutes I was able to see the estate of Marie Antoinette (among other things), which was a little treat. However, I was far far from 5 minutes away from our meeting place. So, I started walking back to what I thought was the palace at breakneck speed.

As I was furiously marching along, I noticed the flow of tourists to be lessening somewhat. I also noticed that fields that used to be bare now contained grazing sheep and cows. Not the best sign actually. I began to wonder if where I was and where I thought I was were the same thing. Finally, I came to a corner where I was reasonably sure I could turn and head straight to the palace. By this point I had been gone about 60 minutes.

Luckily for me, at this point, there was a nice French man, walking his dogs. He didn't speak English, and I don't speak French, but by doing a few gestures and pointing at my map, I was informed that the turn I was planning to make was going to take me exactly opposite of the way I should be going to meet Tayneshia. Horrors!

I turned around, and then really put it all into high gear. As I whizzed by, slowly I started seeing more and more tourists and less and less sheep. My legs were killing me, I was so thirsty I could have drunk a lake, and my imagination was going full steam. At this point, I had been gone nearly 90 minutes. I could just picture Tayneshia, who I supposed had been waiting for me for over an hour, frantically speaking to security at the palace, trying to explain that her dear friend was surely killed or at least hopelessly lost and in danger. I pictured them worried about me beyond measure, and I pictured them being relieved, but not a little bit annoyed with me when I finally arrived.

And I finally did arrive. When I made it back to the fountain we had agreed upon, I saw Tayneshia scanning the fountains below. Relieved that she had apparently not made her way to the police yet, I called to her and ran up, making it clear that I was safe and there was no need to worry.

That was when I discovered that Tayneshia had only been at the meeting place for 5 minutes. The train ride had been much longer than either of us had anticipated either.

So, we laughed over our silly mistakes, walked back to the train station, and went back to our hotel, no worse for the wear.

And, I think that might be enough for this entry. There were more adventures, to be sure and perhaps I'll write about some of them in detail, but for now, I'll just list them.

  • We made friends with a couple from Mexico
  • I was followed for about 30 minutes by a man about my age. This kind of freaked me out, but probably wasn't as big of a deal as I made it (that imagination you know)
  • I saw the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed in that car crash
  • We had a GREAT Thanksgiving dinner
  • I had a nice conversation with a man in a grocery store--a man who knew about Salt Lake City and Utah because of our Word Perfect and Novell connection.
  • We learned that the French meaning of the slang "bling" is not precisely the same meaning that we might have.

And I think that's definitely enough for now.

Au revoir,

-char

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