Day 271: The Parisian Sites 7/1/2016

Wally

Moulin Rouge

I don’t think I ever saw the movie… So I didn’t really appreciate it like Syd did, but hey it’s there and I saw it.

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Montmartre Cemetery

It’s a lovely place to just take a stroll. It reminded me of the graves that surround the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. It’s really amazing to see just how old some of the mausoleums are, some are older than our nation. There’s honestly nothing creepy about this place I could imagine us just throwing down a blanket and having a picnic.

Sacre Coeur

Absolutely gorgeous; the architecture and the views are breathtaking. A lot of souvenir shops line the streets leading up to it and grifters. It’s kind of cool seeing some of these grifters play the cup game. You know the one I’m talking about 3 cups and 1 ball. I’ve lost count how many I’ve seen and every time I see it I play in my head and more often than not I win, but I’m sure they’re letting me win. People are betting like 50 euros at a time! It’s ridiculous! Another grift, we had this happen in Athens too, is that people with shitty bracelets will grab your wrists and put one on you and say some shitty prayer or wish you the best. They claim to give it to you, but aggressively ask for donations when you leave. There was literally a WALL of people trying to play that shit on us and I simply tucked my hands behind my back and barreled through. Also on the way up we saw a really cool chocolate shop that had really intricate chocolate sculptures of the monuments of Paris.

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Louvre Museum

Just wow… I’ve never been surrounded by so much art and history. I can see why this place is such an attraction. We walked around and appreciated the Greek sculptures and it’s crazy to say this, but the ones in the Louvre are way better than the ones in Greece. They’re mostly intact and in great condition. Also I can now say I saw the Venus De Milo and she’s beautiful, looks a lot like Sydney. We then walked around the museum taking the sights and painting. Then we came up on the Mona Lisa. You know people are always telling you it’s not as big as you think it is and that’s lead me to believe it’s a tiny little thing, but in all actually it’s just a normal sized painting. But good god there are a shit ton of people just to see her. Honestly there are far better paintings all around her, but you know gotta see what all the hype is about.

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Pont des Art

Now this was the famous bridge that had all the locks on it, but due to concerns of the bridges structural integrity they removed all of them. It’s really disappointing because it’s such an iconic landmark and we’re not able to take part of it anymore. Whatever it was walking distance from the Louvre so we went ahead to check it out. They had replaced the chain link with glass panels to deter people from putting up locks, but people just put a chain around lamp posts and placed locks there anyways. We still took part in the activity and put up some locks for Syd and I.

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Luxembourg Palace

Again not a place I would have thought to go look at on my own, but I’m glad I did. The place is gorgeous and it still houses a working senate. I thought it was interesting see so many armed guards standing around. In front of the palace is a large water fountain and there you can rent little boats and sail them around. Kids were running around with large sticks pushing the boats off the side of the fountain and watched it sail around. It’s a great spot to sit down and people watch.

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Syd

Woke up and tried to work the coffee machine but just could not quite figure it out.  Oh well, dad went downstairs to get us some coffee. They give you size of a grande cup but it’s only filled like a tall. SO DUMB!!!! I would like a full cup of coffee please. We all sat, ate, and enjoyed our coffees until we decided to get going. Today is going to be a fun filled day.

First stop was the cemetery. So creepy and old and scary! It was pretty to see during the day time but I would not be caught dead here at night. All of these mausoleums just make you wonder about these peoples family, where are they now and who were they in France when they were alive. We walked around and Wally told me about a video game he used to play that involved cemeteries.

We went and saw the Moulin Rouge and it was cool. It was just like I remembered it. We all were a little hungry and stopped for a snack. I got a banana and Nutella crepe. Too much Nutella for me but it was good enough. As we were finishing our food a storm passed over head and rained for a little.

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We walked up the hill to Sacre Coeur “Scared Heart.” The views are so beautiful and it is cool looking at my pictures from 6 years ago and then today.  The guys that were trying to put the bracelets on literally grabbed and held my wrist until I got to close to punching him that he let me go. The same thing happened in Greece. Do not fucking touch me!! I should carry a sign.

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We made our way to a gift shop so I could pick up a few trinkets and we got almost everything, now just need the bust of King Louis XVI to go with my Marie Antoinette. We also picked up a couple of pictures that we want to put on our explore wall.  We popped on the metro and headed to the Louve before it closed.

Again, this was fun to see my dad and Wally’s reaction to the Mona Lisa, Venus De Milo etc. It was fun to see them again and take some pictures and Wally was making his ridiculous jokes the whole way. “Wanna see a masterpiece? Turn to the right.” I ended up facing a mirror and looking at myself…that kind of stuff. He makes me laugh; I think I will keep him around for a little bit. When we finished and got outside it was so windy, I felt like I was going to be blown away. We walked out and went to find a restaurant. Since the sun does not set until so late you really lose track of time. We thought it was only 4 and it was almost 7! I guess it is time to eat something. We made our way up to the Luxemburg Gardens and found a café to enjoy a quick bite.

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While we were at the Mona Lisa we say this couple that was dressed crazy!! They grabbed anything they thought was “fancy” and put it on.

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We walked on the lock bridge and Wally and I put one on for us. It was cute and he was so excited to partake in the tradition. We also saw a statue of Voltaire.

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I got a turkey sandwich (it comes on a homemade cracker bread thing), lemon cupcake and a drink. The sandwich was a little dry. Also, this whole place was a sandwich shop. I ate half of mine and traded Wally. Dad had ordered an apple crumble since the people working their recommended it and it was totally worth it!! That was the best thing any of us had.

We went to the gardens and I recreated my picture that I took 6 years ago after I cut my hair off for the first time. I ended up being a little too more to the right but I was close enough. I did not think I would be in Paris again and being back is awesome. I love having dad and Wally experience things now as well. Wally told me that Europe is not as stupid as he always imagined and is having a great time and glad I brought him here. I am always right, when is he going to learn?? 😉

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We made our way back home and decided to relax the rest of the night. We picked up some more bread and salami and chilled. It was a relaxing night. We got dad to watch a couple episodes of “Rick and Morty” and he liked it!! I think we have a convert. We all cleaned up and headed to bed.  Another successful day in Paris.

Dad

Well, getting coffee in Paris is not normal. They have normal coffee for locals & java for Americans. Either way, you only get half a cup of coffee, WTF. I want a grande, goddamit! Fill the beeotch. Nope, Wally got shut out also, even w/his innocent foreigner accent. Ha! Strolled thru a centuries old museum w/family mausoleums from early 1700’s. Would really like to walk around @ night under a full Paris moon & check out the crypts. Another time perhaps. Cruised by Moulin Rouge & the mile of sex shops down the avenue. Fun times. Climbed the stairs @ Sacre Coeur & enjoyed a great view of the old Paris. Metro (subway) system in Paris is outstanding. Made it to the Louvre & really just tried to take in all the art & sculptures. Stood 6 feet away from the “Mona Lisa”. Just as impressed as seeing it in NG. So many other paintings that don’t get the attention they deserve. Massive wall size paintings. Personally, disappointed for the Egyptian collection. Looking for a mummy, denied. Royal Palace is huge. Lots of walking. Pont de Arts, bridge of keys, was cool. took pic of Syd/Wally attaching lock to bridge support since no locks are allowed on overpass (too much weight). Had great lunch @ a small upstairs bistro along artists row. Short walk to Luxemburg Gardens. Beautiful buildings & landscaping. Took pic of Syd to compare to 6 yrs ago. Pretty cool. Could not imagine that after seeing the original pic, that I would be there to see “next” photo. Nice moment for Dad. Made our way back to apt & done! Very busy day but saw some amazing sights & historically significant places. Paris is a living/breathing history travelog. Knowing that Kings/Queens have walked, partied & died in some of the places we saw, was way better than reading about in National Geographic! Made our way back home via Metro. Observed some really sketchy humans & beautiful people just trying to make their way thru life on the Metro on ride @ a time.

Back @ the apt, kicked back & had some cheese, bread, meat & adult beverages. Peach champagne is acceptable if no Miller High Life is readily available.

What a tremendous day to explore Paris. Warm sun, cool when clouds rolled in, spitting rain & we all had umbrellas. I felt so sophisticated. There is a dirty/gritty side of this place. As with all cities with this much history, some population is not as fortunate. Dude grabbed Syd’s hand to put a string braclet on, for cash, but refused to stop after she said No several times. I was thinking how much shit I would have to explain to the authorites if I decked this mfr! He backed off.

So far, this has been a very delightful excursion. Syd & Wally are completing a round the world trip. I am very fortunate to be able to share several days with them in the “City of Lights”. Bring on the Versailles. More later, I’m tired & Syd is making me type this blog under duress.

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Day 270: Clinton’s Arrival 6/30/2016

Wally

Morning

Woke up and headed out into the neighborhood to find the grocery store to pick up stuff for Clint’s arrival. We walked down the street a bit and found a bakery. Inside the bakery had all sorts of awesome authentic French pastries and breads, we got ourselves a couple of croissants for breakfast and a baguette for later.

At the grocery store we picked up everything you’d need for a nice spread. Meat, cheese, bread and wine! It’s been nice being back in a western grocery store where we can get by and figure out what the hell it is we’re buying.

While we waiting for Clint we watched a movie, it’s a Netflix original called “The Fundamentals of Caring”. It’s a dramedy, but it balances out the drama and comedy really well. It had Syd and I cracking up. I’d highly recommend it.

Clint’s arrival

Well we knew his flight got in at 11:20, but when we looked up his flight number online it said it hadn’t landed yet so we just relaxed for a bit longer. Well it turns out he did arrive on time and had spent a little over half an hour outside the apartment complex trying to get our attention. We had the window open, but with the construction and us focusing on the movie we didn’t hear him. It was by chance that Syd poked her head out of the window to check that she saw him.

Syd FLEW out the door and I barely had time to put on my shoes when she was already halfway down the flight of stairs. Such a daddy’s girl =).

Its nice hearing that Okie accent again as he told us about his journey here. We sat for a bit and ate the spread we had bought earlier. We talked and shot the shit as if no time or distance had passed between us.

Eiffel Tower

We took a cab over to the tower and what’s cool is that the cabs here offer free Wi-Fi! It’s really handy to have when you’re traveling to another country and you’re phones are essentially useless without internet. We circled the Arc de Triomphe on the way there and it was a sight to behold! It really is one thing to see images of iconic places and another to physically be there yourself; you really need to get the scale and scope of these buildings to really appreciate them.  Because the Arc is a roundabout it’s absolute madness when you’re driving in there. It’s pretty funny weaving in and out of it all it’s similar to the chaos of the streets back in China.

Seeing the Eiffel tower for the first time while pulling up to it was pretty amazing, I never would have imaged seeing it in person. It really is something worth appreciating considering when it built and the technology they had available to them at the time. Each beam and intersecting one another had to be BOLTED together. It’ll definitely be something that’ll stand the test of time.

We took a ride to the TOP of the tower. Looking out at the panoramic views of the city was beautiful. We got our bearings and took a look at all the monuments.

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Arc de Triomphe

We decided to walk over to it because it wasn’t TOO far away from the tower. On the way there though we happened to cross the bridge where Princess Dianna died. I never would have gone out of my way to see it and yet there we were.

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Getting a closer look at the Arc was cool. There is so much detail in the engravings and you can see why it’s such a landmark.

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Home

There is a pizza place just down the street from us, so we got a few and bought some beers. The pizza place is pretty good it’s like a hipstery restaurant with fresh ingredients and shit. It wasn’t bad at all.

Its nuts how late the sun sets in Paris, 9:58! Clint had mentioned he’d like to take a stroll around the park. I looked at him and said you know it’s like 10 pm right? You really do lose your sense of time in Europe. Its nuts.

Sydney

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This morning was nice, we were able to finish all of our laundry and for the first time since we left China we have absolutely zero dirty clothes. WOW AMAZEBALLS!!!!!  We headed to the bakery and we were just looking around at everything and walking back and forth because everything looked so good and the woman behind the counter just snapped “what do you want?!” Jesus, I was just looking! We got a baguette and some croissants. I went to pay and was using some change and handed her a bill and I was going to hand other change and she completely ignored me and just took the bill and handed me back all the change. UGH!!! I am trying to get rid of this stuff haha.

Next we headed to the grocery store and picked up some more items. We go to pay and the woman sees Wally and I struggling carrying everything then all of a sudden says “oh, bag 10 cents” You see us trying to carry everything and clearly we do not have a bag why would you not offer us that when we are paying. French people are rude sometimes and there are times when you can tell how much they hate Americans. Then there are times when the French are the nicest people. I like nice French people better.

We came home and watched the movie. It was so good!!! Like Wally said I highly recommend it.While we were watching we took another break to check out the window and I happened to see my dads head to pop out of a cafe and I scream dad!!!! He turns around and I race down and hug my dad for the first time in 8 months. It was great to see my dad. We hugged and I cried just like when I saw, B, Greg, Matt, mom and Ralphie. Just so much crying seeing people from home.

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We all relaxed, ate bread, salami, brie, peach champagne (FUCKING AMAZING) and wine. It was a great couple of hours, chatting and catching up. We sat for awhile then decided to get ready and head to the Eiffel Tower.

We decided to take a cab and it was amazing to see the sites again. It was fun to watch my dad and Wally’s reaction to everything. We enjoyed the tower and had a glass of champagne to celebrate. Also, I saw a dude with crazy hair! The picture is below.

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Side note – The Princess Diana memorial over the tunnel where she dies was cool. I did not remember seeing it last time and it was cool to see. I love her! I did a report on her in 4th grade and dressed up like her. She has a special place in my heart.

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We continued to walk around the river and head to the arc. The weather was very pretty. We walked around and just took in Paris. I never thought that the next time I was in Paris would be with my dad and husband. This is crazy!! Life sure has changed in 6 years from the last time.

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We hopped back on the metro and headed home. Dad was just craving anything at this point, we were all getting hangry haha….oh no!!!!

We passed a pretty swanky pizza place and I just got a margarita pizza and a salad. It was fun to just sit and eat and talk some more. Today has been an amazing first day and so much fun seeing my dad again.

another side note – at the end of the night while Wally was showering I was talking to my dad while he chilled on the couch and every time I asked a question he would say one word and would fall asleep. It was the funniest thing.

Me – ” Dad, what are you excited for?”

Dad – “well you know…..” ZZZZZZZZ

Me – Poking his face “Dad do you want to shower you are falling asleep?”

Dad – ZZZZ “What no I am ……..” ZZZZZ

I was dying!!!!!

Dad

Left LA. Thanks Ashley for the ride. Flew WOW air, yes I know..but it was cheap. Plus, I got to land in Reyklavik, Iceland. Now this is an international airport, but due to construction of new terminal, you get a bus ride from the plane to terminal. So I did get to breathe in Iceland air. Very fresh with a slight taste of fish. 45°, partly cloudy w/rainbows over the North Atlantic! Extremely tough looking National Police Force officer checked my passport & asked which team I was supporting, Iceland or France, in this weekends soccer game. Well, looking @ her bullet proof vest & large side arm, I said “I’m neutral.” Not what she wanted to hear. I boarded the bus & then the plane & was welcome to leave Iceland.

Landed in Paris, CDG, w/o any fanfare or security issues. Everyone talks French or some other language! Not sure what I expected, but now you know. My luggage was the last piece unloaded. You know the feeling & looking @ Delayed Baggage area. Lots of bags there. Long walk to Taxi stand but well marked. Pulled out the old cell phone & went to Notes w/address to our Airbnb. Done, hit the road. Paris has  been around for a while. Lots of old buildings/neighborhoods & roads. But still pretty cool knowing the extensive history of this city. Got to correct address & paid in Euros that I had obtained @ Mainplace Mall in Santa Ana. 5 Euro tip, felt so international. Plan was to holler @ Sydney from the street, cause apartment window opened to that side. Yea, well I yelled her name several times, no response. Convinced a realtor to open door to courtyard so I could continue yelling. No luck. Went back outside & a ex-pat from Pittsburgh gave me the password for wi-fi. While trying to log on for phone service, Sydney yelled “Dad!” What a great experience to have in Paris. Standing in the street w/luggage & backpack, wondering if I’m @ the right place. Favorite first born child, calling from the top floor of a Parisian apt. Nice. Good to see Wally, my favorite first son-in-law. Settled down w/some cheese, meat, bread & wine/champagne! Fantastic way to end “travel to” part of the trip.

Eiffel Tower was way bigger than imagined. Outstanding views of Paris & surrounding area. Had some champagne on the mid-level bar. Has a glass floor that was fairly cool. Partly cloudy, windy & 75F. Lots of effort & manpower to build this thing. Should last for some  time. Headed back to apt, walking to Metro stations. Amazing architecture & iconic settings. Walked to the Arc de Triumph. Pretty amazing knowing what history went under this structure. My mind photos are from WWll. Eisenhower, Patton, de Gaulle US 3rd Army..Liberation, you’re welcome France. Metro system in Paris is top notch, except for the urine smell & unsavory characters. Kinda like going to a Dodgers game! Chilled @ the apt until the kids were falling asleep. Slept in Paris w/the window open & heard nothing.

2nd day will be updated w/my first experience getting coffee in France.

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