So, it’s 2:40 pm here in Paris, and only 8:40 in the morning at home, which means that most people should still be asleep. My stomach is telling me that it’s foodtime, but the time of day disagrees. xD [McDonald’s is basically downstairs. Disgusting fatty food, anyone?]
Since it is now Day One of my Grand French Adventure, I have observations to share! YAY! (Oh, and pictures. Mostly taken by my dad, despite my protests.) This post is “Day Zero” because the day we left is a different day than when we arrived… being at the airport can’t be considered Day One since it’s not in France. In case you were a bit confused there.
We left at 12:20 (LATE!) from our house yesterday, and magically we made it to Charlotte on time. I had to leave the HUGE jar of gumballs in Dad’s car, which means they’ll be going back with him to New Orleans rather than to Molly, who would appreciate their deliciousness fully. Whooooops.
Anyway, I slept the entire plane ride from Charlotte to Philadelphia; the airport in Philadelphia is HUGE, which made hauling my bursting-at-the-seams laptop bag (blame all the secret chocolate) and awkwardly-shaped “Europe bag” (it’s not actually called that; we just happened to buy bags like this two years ago for our Europe trip in ’07… thus, “Europe bag”) really frustratingly painful.
(See it? Right there? That’s France. It’s snowy!)
So, onto the less-boring stuff! 😀 [There aren’t many pictures yet! YAY!]
Mass transportation is pretty cool. Other than the expected smell-of-gross that permeates the underground in every city, it’s still an easy way to travel. There are so many people on the train; I felt really obviously not-French, dragging around far-too-heavy bags and trying not to trip on the stairs.
There are some really interesting characters on the Metro; in our car, there was this guy that was placing little keychains (or were they bottle-openers?) on empty seats with these tiny cards written in both English and French: “Je suis dourd(e): I am dumb and deaf” that asked the occupants of that seat to buy the trinket for 3 euros. Another guy just stood up from his seat with an accordion and started playing. It was pretty cool; I felt really bad that I couldn’t give him any money (don’t have cash on me), because he was quite good and as he moved along to the next car to busk (British term, but I like it), he just looked really disheartened.
The tracks are surrounded by cement walls, I guess to keep the noise contained (the trains are LOUD), which are coated in all sorts of graffiti. There’s some that’s stereotypical; the huge, blocky letters and such, but many are quite artistic– we saw some that were splatter-painted, colorful, or have a message of love. I think that’s really cool; I like to just sit and watch it all go by, trying to read the letters and figure out what it says, or the type of person that would write each spray-paint message.
Last time I was in Europe I did the same thing; I always find myself fascinated by what I would call “beautiful” ruins. They’re not necessarily ruins, but there are these areas of town that are so grimy and dingy, so old or forgotten, that they have this charm to them. I like to imagine that somebody will see the beauty in the building or the area and make it as beautiful to everyone as it would have been originally.
There are advertisements for “American” products everywhere! Companies I didn’t know where French have these HUGE factories along the Metro lines; LG, Samsung, Siemens, Sanyo… I’m often surprised by such things. There are posters EVERYWHERE for Pas si simple, which is the new movie with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin. I think I’ll try to go see it while I’m here, though I know it’ll be REALLY WEIRD seeing familiar actors “speaking” in French. I’ve noticed from the few American movies with French voice-overs that are currently playing on TV that they do a good job with that, so we’ll see.
WELL, THAT’S ALL. (Sorry about not-interestingness.)
P.S. I can assure you that the rest of the day was not that interesting, either. We walked around, ate food (of the cheapest-we-could-find variety), and didn’t actually find me a cell phone or a bookstore that had the books Dad and I are looking for. It’s REALLY COLD here!