Day Four: Part One July 13, 2009
I’m starting this entry early on account of the three hour train ride to Paris. We just got onto the train and it’s 8:20 in the morning, or 12:20 in California. I got to call my family when we first got to the station, but I only talked to Hollie because no one else was awake or home. I would say that I miss everyone, but I honestly don’t feel like I’m abroad. I’m sure that I will once we get somewhere where not everyone speaks English. I hope my dogs are being fed, cough Dad cough. Today I had Starbucks for the first time since Wednesday on the way to the airport. Unfortunately, my partner numbers don’t work here, but the barista was so nice that she used her numbers for my drink. I’m starting to get to know the kids from Texas and they’re all really nice. I’m still a bit disappointed in myself for not taking a lot of pictures of London. Also, I didn’t write a lot about what I wanted to. For example: the vocabulary, I love it here! All of the trashcans have signs that say “Dispose your rubbish” and buildings are for “let” instead of rent. It’s great. One thing that has really been bothering me is that in most stores my Visa card won’t work, so I have to go down the street to find an ATM that will take Visa and get cash. The first time it happened I freaked out because I thought that my card had been shut off! Something I’ve noticed in London is that there are hardly any obese people, and everyone is beautiful. Everyone I’ve seen who is overweight was obviously a tourist. I figured that it’s because everyone walks here, or takes the Underground. Well, that’s really all I can think of to write for now. I’ve literally just been zoning out for the past ten minutes. But I’ll come back to it tonight and tell you readers about my first day in France! kbye.
Day Four: Part Two
So right now it’s 12:07 AM tomorrow. I’m so tired, but not so much that I can’t write. Our first hour or so was spent sitting around waiting for our bus. We walked out of the train station, crossed the street, and sat in front of a Subway (the sandwich shop, not the metro) while Silvana rushed around trying to figure out where our bus was. Eventually a few of us went into an Italian pizzeria, but right when we ordered one of the adults came in and said that we were leaving to meet the bus. Luckily, the restaurant let us take our pizzas to go. When we left we walked for about fifteen minutes, with all our luggage and pizzas, to find our bus. This bus was actually a replacement because the first bus never showed up. We don’t know what happened to it. We drove for about half an hour and ate our pizzas and, thankfully, Silvana’s microphone was busted so she couldn’t talk the entire time. The Paris hotel seemed nicer than the one in London (mostly because the bathroom was a ROOM) but it is still extremely small.
So Sarah, Jessica, and I were all getting settled in when we realized that the toilet doesn’t flush. A staff member came up to look at it, but she only fiddled with it for a bout a minute when she said that she’ll just get us a new room. We figured it would be exactly like the room we already had. We soon found out that we were wrong; the new room was huge in comparison, especially the bathroom!
We were pretty stoked. After everyone got all settled in we took the metro to Notre Dame. When I went inside I felt like I couldn’t speak; it was amazing. All of the details were so intricate. It was definitely the most awesome place I’ve ever been inside. Afterward, a few of us explored the area before we had to meet for dinner. We watched street performers and walked in and out of shops. For dinner we went to a little Italian restaurant and ate pasta along with some chocolate mousse. A little old man came in from the street selling roses and Tanner bought some for every girl at the table. After dinner we got onto a RER train to a boat ride on the river, but one of the guys from our group, Alex, got stuck on the train. His face when the doors shut on him was priceless; everyone started laughing, but then we felt bad because we just stood around laughing while the doors shut in his face. We had to wait for Avila to go get him from the next stop before going anywhere. But from where we were waiting there was a great view of the Eiffel Tower. We finally got on the boat with Avila and Alex along with us. Of course, I started singing The Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat,” but I was not alone. We took billions of pictures and waved at every boat and bridge full of people that passed us by. We were so exhausted by the end of the ride that we could barely walk back to the metro to go to the hotel, but we did. Now I’m lying in bed writing this but honestly I keep dozing off, so I’m definitely going to stop now. Good night. ZzZzZzZz……..
Day Five June 14, 2009
This morning I woke up not knowing where I was. I was knocked out the moment I lay down, which I guess is due to the nineteen hour day yesterday. It honestly does not feel like we’ve only been here for five days. Anyway, today after breakfast we all got on the bus and drove around for three hours just touring Paris. At around noon or one the “California Seven,” as Silvana calls us, got off the bus at the Eiffel Tower, or near it anyway. We were close but far enough away to fit the entire thing in our pictures. Then we headed to Le Musée D’Orsay. The Texas group had gone to Versailles, but we didn’t want to spend that much money and the museum was free. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many naked people as I did at Orsay. I know that Europeans don’t believe in censorship, but this was ridiculous! In every room there were at least three or four naked statues or paintings. In one of the rooms the very first thing you saw is a painting of a vagina. I just turned around and walked out of there! When everyone was good and done we walked around the Latin Quarter looking for a place to eat. We found a place with pasta for five euro, and they were huge plates of pasta too. It was delicious. We were all so full, I don’t think anyone wanted to do anything, but we hoped on the metro and climbed up a huge flight of stairs to Le Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Actually, we first tried to go around the stairs but ended up running into them anyway, so we finally just walked up them. In the chapel some sort of ceremony was going on. I would try to explain it , but I barely know how. We started to explore the area and found some sort of street fair where tons of guys were doing caricatures. I wanted to get one but we had been warned about how they tend to rip people off. I got some gelato instead and we found the place where we were supposed to meet for dinner in the middle of all the chaos. After about an hour or so the Texas group met up with us and we sat down for some crêpes, which were delicious. After dinner, because about five people were bummed that they didn’t get to see everything, we sat around for an hour on the steps of the chapel. One of the girls from the Texas group, Mary, who is an amazing photographer, started to take pictures of me “modeling.” We were just messing around but the pictures turned out really good. When we finally got back on the metro we were all exhausted beyond belief and were completely ready to collapse in bed. That was pretty much my day minus a ton of minor details and petty conversations. kbye.
Day Six June 15, 2009
This morning when we woke up, Sarah, Jessica, and I were planning on wearing shorts because the past few days have been really warm. However, when we looked out the window and saw that it was raining we changed our minds. After the heat the past few days we were absolutely shocked by the rain. In that rain we had to walk to the metro station, and when we got out at our stop the rain was coming down even harder. We ended up at a perfume factory called Fragonard where we learned how perfume is made. I could barely understand the lady who worked there but she was hilarious when I could. After the tour we got to sample and buy perfumes. I really wanted to get one for my mom but I didn’t know what she would like so I just picked one for myself called Eau Fantastique—or Fantastic Water. When we were finished in Fragonard we took the metro one stop further to the Louvre. We all had to wait in line in the middle of the courtyard in the rain for about twenty minutes before some workers took half the line (the half we were in) across to the other side of the museum to another entrance. The inside was huge! Our entrance was a few rooms over from the Monna Lisa so the California group headed over there first. It was so crowded that I couldn’t even get a good picture of the portrait, but I did get a few of the crowd. I felt so claustrophobic in that room, despite how huge it was. After getting out of there Jessica, Sarah, and I met up with Tanner, Alyssa, and Steffanie. We wandered around looking at a few sculptures, like the Winged Victory and Venus de Milo, before finding a bench and sitting down. We began people-watching because we were so bored. Then Tanner crawled between the bench and the wall and fell asleep, so the rest of us got up and walked a few feet away to freak him out whenever he woke up, which worked and was hilarious. The six of us then met up with Avila and the three California boys, Eric, Daniel, and Alex, for lunch—which was sandwiches in the museum cafe—and went outside to go souvenir shopping. It was this time that I got the majority of my gifts except the Swiss chocolate I’m planning on giving the fambam. When our group was finished we hopped onto the metro to go to l’Arc de Triumph. I should add that it had stopped raining by now, but it was still a tad bit chilly. We all spent about twenty minutes at the Arc then we went to explore a bit. We ended up at the Louis Vuitton store where I almost cried because everything was so damn expensive. When we were done depriving ourselves we found a telephone booth so that Sarah could call her boyfriend, but the guy in the next booth kept screaming “HELLO!” into his telephone. People driving by would stare at us and pedestrians would stop and laugh. Then we noticed a van full of men staring at all of us girls. It was creepy. I’ve definitely noticed that guys in Europe are a lot less sly than American guys while checking out girls. For example a few of us girls were sitting on a curb and nearly every guy who passed by eyed us up and down. Anyway when those guys in the van drove away they all honked and made suggestive faces. Bleh. When Sarah got off the phone we began to walk back down the street toward the Arc and our meeting spot for dinner when we stopped and sat on a bench.
This next part is really disturbing so if you get upset in sappy movies then I suggest you skip this next anecdote. So Tanner, Alyssa, Jessica, Steffanie, Sarah, and I are sitting on these two benches that are back to back. Alyssa, Jessica, and I are facing the street while the others are facing the buildings and having their own conversations. Soon after we sat a little girl, maybe only about three or four years old, walks by us with a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse rolley-backpack. She looks so upset as if she’s about to burst into tears. Us three have stopped our conversation mid-sentence and are watching her walk by. About a minute later we notice some boy, who is about eleven or twelve, following her and snickering. By then the little girl is down at the corner sitting by a kind looking man who we assume is her father, but this creepy little boy is still watching her with a creepy smile on his face. That’s honestly the only way I can describe him: creepy. He seemed like a pedophile in the making. As we’re watching, the little girl keeps fidgeting around until finally she gets up and sits on the curb. It’s then that the boy approaches her and she immediately starts crying. As we watch, the boy keeps trying to talk to her and she keeps scooting away. Eventually he gives up trying to talk to her and simply stands near her. We see only one woman stop to see if she’s alright, but the little boy chased her away. By this time all six of us are watching her and wondering what to do. So we all walked over there and I asked the creeper, “Do you speak English?” He said, “A little bit.” “Are you her brother?” I asked to which he snapped, “No, but I am her friend. Her father is down there,” he added pointing aimlessly down the street. I could already tell that he wanted to get rid of me but I didn’t care. I kneeled down by the girl and asked her where her mother was, in French, at which point she began sobbing and the little boy disappeared. I tried to comfort her, however she wouldn’t let me near her. We started talking to the man who we earlier mistook as her father. He said that he noticed her by herself being stalked by the creepy boy and was considering calling the police. Just then the boy returned followed by two adult men, one of whom was carrying a Disney Princess umbrella and a Hello Kitty bag. This one walked straight up to the girl, picked her up (though she was struggling against him), and walked away with the other man and the boy. Just as the man we were talking to began to dial the police number, a pair of cops walked right by us. He told them, in French, that he suspected the man who snatched the girl of either child abuse and neglect of kidnapping. The police quickly ran after them. By this time I was psychotic. I was crying and cussing loudly; I was so pissed that someone would let his “daughter” roam around in a big ass city by herself so that he could grab a cup of coffee with his buddy. Honestly!
I was still fuming when we met the group and on the way to dinner. It wasn’t until we sat down at the table and I got a glass of wine that I settled down, though I was still crying. For dinner we had a very thin French pizza at a restaurant called Flan’s. Everybody had to share a pizza, but because I’m a vegetarian they kept bringing me a whole pizza for myself. After the second or third I was stuffed, but other people would eat my pizza so the waiters would bring even more. Then they brought out a dessert pizza which was AMAZING! When everyone was full we headed to the Eiffel Tower, and once there we found out that it’s a whole lot cheaper to walk up than to take the elevator, so, of course, Kody, Steffanie, and I decided to walk. By the time we got to the first floor (out of three) Steffanie was freaking out about the height and it had started raining again. Our legs were shaking but I wanted to go up higher so we went all the way to the second floor. There we found out that to go all the way to the top we would have to by an elevator ticket, so we decided to go back down to the ground. It wasn’t until we had walked all the way down the stairs that someone told us that we could have taken the elevator down for free! We then sat on the ground underneath the Tower because it was still raining and that was the only dry spot in the area. Once everyone met up we headed back to the hotel, got ready for bed, and et cetera. Now I’m exhausted and my legs hurt so badly! kbye.