Gotta make this quick, cos I only have about 15 mins left at this netcafe.
Wandered past a shoe shop and glanced at a particular shoe – no sooner had I done this than the guy whisked me inside and brought the shoes out for me to try on. They didn't have my size, so he (unsuccessfully) tried to sell me all kinds of different shoes. Upon leaving I was accosted by the guy from the shop next door, who said “Don't buy shoes there, it's a waste of money – come in here !”. Next thing I knew I was whisked dozn to the basement and the guy started trying to sell me these weirdo shoes that were nothing like what I'd looked at, and he eventually got the message that I didn't want them. The shop 2 doors down did, and when I looked at them I was again bustled inside and told to sit down, where he asked what size. When I said “12”, he went over and spoke to a woman, who shot out the door. When she came back, he shook his head and said sorry not in 12s. Upon leaving, Jon (who was standing outside) said that the lady had run down to the first shop I'd tried!! This place is just STRANGE.
I also went to the Centre Pompidou, which is this big modern art gallery/exhibition place – very cool!! From the exterior it looks as if it might not be finished, but that's just arstiness for you. Inside it had a wild collection of modern art – some highlights of which were a big weird rotating fiberglass shpere with a protruberance from one side, which had a speaker playing a guy humming the Lambada slowly. There was also this thing that kinda looked like stalactites made out of pantyhose and sand… also a 10 minute video called “The day I painted my hands blue”. Oh yes, and the piece called “Infinity in a box”, which was a cube made of mirrors, of which you could only see the exterior. You could see enough of the mirrors to know they were mirrors, but aside from that you could only imagine the endless reflection within. I loved it!!
Had my first ride on the Paris Metro with Jon as well, which was pretty cool. Thankfull it was virtually the same as the London Tube in concept, although I loved their tickets – same shape and size as Multitrips in Adelaide, except PURPLE!!
Other weird little things about Paris: it turns out that beer costs more if you sit down to drink it!! You order your beer, and they give it to you, and you don't pay til it's time to leave!! This is because they wait to see where you've sat to decide how much to charge you. If you sit out on the terrace, you're up for the premium charge, as Jon and I learned.
Other spots I've visited are Notre Dame (bloody big church which I didn't go into), Place Vendome (Napoleonic monument made out of the bronze from 1250 captured enemy cannons, and is now one of the most expensive shopping districts in Paris – designer names EVERYWHERE!!), and I wandered past The Louvre again. Must get around to going inside.
Yesterday Jon, Tim and Chrissy went to EuroDisney, and I decided to stay in Paris and check out actual French stuff. I was SOOOO happy with my decision not to bow down to American cultural imperialism! Then I ended up getting McDonalds for tea. But it was for a reason!! I wanted to see if what they said in Pulp Fiction was true – is a Quarter Pounder with Cheese called a Royale with Cheese? Happily I can report that this is the case. AND they put mayonnaise on their fries. I WAS going to try to get a photo, but you feel like a bit of a dick taking a picture of a Macca's “meal”, don't you ?
John Travolta was right though – it's the LITTLE differences… Like how their restaurants still have smoking sections over here. I don't smoke personally, but it's interesting to note that the French still consider smokers to be people, rather than social lepers like in Australia. Also, spring water is different – generic brand stuff is about 0.40/l, but Evian is only 0.60/l!! I realise Evian's FROM France and all, but still – in Australia you'd think it was liquid gold!?
A French art student came up to me and tried to sell me a magazine that art students produce in order to help funding, and something or other… I made it quite clear I had no idea what she was talking about, and then she did her best to explain in English. I asked if the magazine was in French and she said “Of course!”, and then realised that I probably wouldn't be interested in buying a magazine I couldn't understand. So she quickly assured me “But there are lots of pretty pictures!”… Ah gee, I guess you had to be there. I bought one in the end, of course.
OK, time to get going – there's so much more to say, but I promised I wouldn't send out endless paragraphs of tripe to everyone. Maybe I'll fire off another update later tomorrow? A bientot!!