Monday, June 15, 2009

Paris and Such

I am now back in London after spending the past four days in Paris. Paris is neat, but London is way better. Don't get me wrong I had a fabulous time in Paris, but if I had to pick a city to live in/study in I would choose London. However, I did see more attractive girls in Paris. Always a plus.

Our train left London at 5:25 in the morning on Friday. We had to be at the Kings Cross/St. Pancras train station by 4:30, and it is about ten minutes away by bus. Since I have had an overall poor experience with London buses I made sure we met at 4:00 in the lobby and were at the bus stop no later than 4:10. I woke up at 3:30, or should I say got out of bed after laying there and not sleeping a wink. It is hard for me to fall asleep if I know I am only going to be able to get three hours of sleep. I guess my mind tells my body there is no point. Once I got on the train I happened to be sitting next to girl who was also from Regent's College. She was from Utah and born a Mormon, but now is an Atheist. I was planning on sleeping on the train, but she was too cool and interesting for me to fall asleep on. We spent some time talking and some time discussing the many tattoos she had on her body, including the two love sick robots on her side. We got to Paris a little before ten, and Clay and I hoped on the Metro (their subway, which is very much inferior to the Tube) and headed to our hostel. Once we got out of the Metro we tried to call our friends Ben and Ross (they had came a day earlier) to get directions, but we couldn't get in touch with them. So we pulled out our map and tried to figure out exactly where we were. As we were doing this a very well dressed older man asked, in broken English, if we were looking for a hostel. We said yes, and followed him there. The French aren't that bad. We were staying at the Aloha Hostel, no idea why Aloha. The place is a dump with a two o'clock curfew. Not that I was planning on coming home any later than two, but if I can travel between countries by myself I don't need a curfew. We checked in and then headed back out. We hadn't eaten so we went to a cafe overlooking Notre Dame, where my first meal in Paris, the most famous city in the world for cooking, was the called the Tex-Mex. A very large and far too expensive mistake. After paying too much we headed over to Notre Dame. I took some pictures, but because I was so tired the pictures are awful, I couldn't hold the camera straight. The cathedral looks like it is falling over. After checking out Notre Dame (yes, we talked to the hunchback) we headed for the Louvre. We decided not to go in, but kept walking down the Champs-Elysees, which starts at the Louvre, passes through the Tuileries Garden, and eventually ends at the Arc de Triomphe. Probably the most famous road in the world. Most of the road is just a pedestrian walkway, and very nice. Let me go ahead and say that the Arc de Triomphe is freakin' huge, and looks a lot closer than it actually is. I thought it was a mirage, it never got any closer and I just kept walking. This probably had more to do with the lack of sleep though. Once we got to the Arc, we sat on lip that goes around the base for about an hour and watched cars drive in hectic circles. Very few words were said amongst us guys during that rest period. I did call home trying to reach my parents, but instead got Jordan Woo, who reminded me they were in the Bahamas. It was strange to call home and have Jordan Woo answer, but it was also good. We then headed to the Eiffel Tower. If one gets lost trying to get to the Eiffel tower, there is not much hope for them. It can be seen from all over the city. However, like the Arc de Triomphe, it looks closer than it actually is, but unlike the Arc, the Eiffel Tower massive size is not caused by a lack of sleep. It is HUGE. Way bigger than I thought. Once we got there we took some pictures, then I promptly fell asleep in the grass at the base. My friends woke me and we went to go get dinner Once again I had a sub par meal that cost way too many Euros. We then headed back to the hostel where I fell asleep at 7:30, exhausted from walking hundreds of miles and not sleeping the night before.
The three guys sitting at the base of the Arc de Triomphe.

The next morning we went to the Louvre. If one spent eight hours a day for a month with a art major one could still not learn or see everything in the Louvre. We spent about a four hours and just saw the highlights. It would have been a much better experience if I spoke French, but beggars can't be choosers. After the Louvre we had another terrible overpriced meal. I had a ham, cheese, and stick of butter sandwich. We then went to a few parks around town. On the way back to our hostel we came across a protest. So we decided to join in. We weren't sure what we were protesting, but everybody was playing drums, blowing whistles, waving flags, and chanting. The French are only good at a few things: baguettes, wine, surrendering, and protests. I can now check off three of the four things, but surrendering...please I am an American. Later that night Clay, Ben, and I met my friend Rohan at the Eiffel Tower for a night bike tour. Rohan is a friend of mine from Auburn and he has a job this summer giving bike tours in Paris, so we went on one of his tours. It was an awesome tour. The tour lasted over four hours and we saw tons of Paris. Not all of it was on bikes though. The final hour was a boat ride up and down the Seine River. Wine was included, and I think some people forgot that they had to get back on a bike after the boat tour, because some people drank a good amount. After the tour we met some friends on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower for some wine. We then headed home.

Sunday was my favorite day. It gets its own blog post.

On Monday, we woke up and Clay and I met the girls at their hotel. We then went out to eat with the girls and had a good meal for the first time, and it was the cheapest. After the meal most of the girls went to a duty free store to buy perfume and purses, while Clay, Jordan and I went to climb the Eiffel Tower. It was raining so the lines were not very long, but I do think every school in France was taking a field trip there. Kids everywhere. we climbed the seven hundred or so steps to the second level and then took the elevator to the top. One is way up there when at the top. I wish it had been clearer so my pictures would have turned out better, but oh well. We then climbed all the way down and headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. Once we got down we headed to the train station to go back to London. When we got to the station the same protesters from Saturday were there. However, this time we did not join in because we wanted to clear immigration. We then got on the train and headed back to London. My temporary home. Clay, Jordan, and myself at the top of the Eiffel Tower sticking our head out of the fence.

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