Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paris Day 4 - Leaving

It would be nice to have a more... enthusiastic title than that, but that's pretty much what today was all about. It might be a good idea to spend some more time in Paris with familiar company before writing the city off completely, as of now I'm not too keen on it though. The South of France seems more like my type of place, really. Someday I'll go there and find out.

Once I met nice people in the hostel my trip improved immensely. I wasn't able to really enjoy the city on my own though. Paris' fault, or my own inexperience as a traveler? More experimentation is needed. I wasn't really "feeling" it when I was alone, that's the bottom line. Today I exchanged pleasant good-byes with my new world friends and then took a walk around the neighborhood with my video camera. I didn't take it out at all during the Amelie thing, which is unfortunate. I walked to the Cafe des deux Moulins to make up for it. I didn't take very many photos today either, I was mostly concentrating on getting to the airport. I tell you, it was more difficult getting back.

I got lost more than once in the city, and the train stations and the airport itself. I was so happy when I found an information center and someone that could tell me where to go that I almost cried with relief. Initially I didn't plan on leaving for the airport so soon, but as things usually go with my life (and I'm not complaining here), the phrase "Things happen for a reason" kept blaring in my head as I got lost, confused and frustrated at every turn. I would have been in full tilt panic mode if I had left at my planned time.

As a result of leaving early I was able to relax in the airport and read, and that was nice. Neither of my return flights were full. The Dublin to Galway connection had maybe 20 people on the plane, possibly less. It was weird! I've never been on such an empty flight.

Pretty! I think so, anyway.

I stood smiling and blinking into the sun while I waited for a taxi outside of the Galway airport. My driver was really nice and talkative and I engaged in the conversation hungrily, far happier than I should have been to be with an English speaker. Not being able to read the signs or talk to strangers for help while I was lost earlier in the day had a really weird effect on me. I feel better now though.

I used the public computer at the hostel because my laptop was dead and this greeted me. It made me laugh and I wanted to share.

Today has been largely uneventful other than my travels back to Ireland. I'm really happy to be back! I am doing laundry and I should make something to eat soon. Tomorrow I hop back into the studio and routine will return to me.

My train ride as seen by my brain.

Can you believe that tomorrow is September 1st? I should have a Harry Potter party after work.


9:20 am: hostel: this guy kind of looks like Keanu Reeves, only not stupid.

11:27 am: train station: finally met a Parisian who was utterly displeased that I was speaking English. Her face actually fell and she said, "Oh... hello"

11:41 am: Gare du Nord: Eff this station, seriously. I am ready to get out of here. (throes of being lost)

11:56 am: RER B train: the guy next to me has Totoro keychains on his bag.

12:46 pm: CDG airport: brain has shut off to prevent further stress and can't do simple things now

6:19 pm: airplane to Galway: after the intense stress of CDG the Dublin airport was pleasantly familiar

7:15 pm: outside Galway airport: I feel so good right now.


I just realized I forgot to post the picture of my World friends.

There it is!

Joe (LA), Michael (England), Elise (Seattle), Michelle (Zimbabwe), Tawanda (Zimbabwe) and Leigh (Australia).


Monday, August 30, 2010

Paris Day 3 - Amelie Walking Tour and Other Wanderings

Tired. So very tired. Today feels as though it has actually been two days. I am having a difficult time gathering my thoughts to even work on this entry. I want to sleep! I'm ready to go back to Ireland too. Paris has been interesting, that's for sure. Not really my city though. I'd like to come back again sometime and stay closer to the middle of the city, see another part of it. Once I got my bearings in Montemartre I was able to find a few really nice places to walk/shop/eat. Not all was lost.

Do you want to live here? Because that house is awesome.

Elise and I set out for our Amelie walking tour at 9:30 this morning. She had printed off (bad) instructions on how to get from place to place. We got a bit turned around a few times but managed to get through it. We were taken through some very beautiful places and had great weather for it too. It was exciting to suddenly realize that we were at our destination and to recognize things from the movie! Elise was awesome and capable of using my camera, so I have photos of myself from the locations. Yay! We were worried that the Cafe des deux Moulins would be closed (a lot of places are on Monday), but it was open. We went in and had coffee and hot chocolate. Expensive.

Corner of Rue Girardon and Place Dalida.

We ended up in a place that is apparently a tourist trap, but we liked it. Had a nice feel to it if you could look past all of the people milling about. We frolicked around the Sacre-Coeur for a bit before heading back to the hostel. She had plans to go see a few places that I'd already been to, so we parted ways. I proceeded to REST and edit photos. I wasted time and put off leaving the hostel for a few hours. I knew I couldn't sit inside for the rest of the day but believe me it was incredibly tempting. Eventually I dragged myself up and set out to the streets again.

I had a very specific agenda of seeking food and a gift. You know how a lot of things are closed on Mondays? Yeah. It did not make it easy to find this gift. I wandered street after street, some nice and some not, passing closed boutiques and closed souvenir shops that looked as though they'd hold precisely what I was seeking. The shops that were open were really crummy, cheap shops OR disgustingly expensive boot stores.

I am happier than my face is letting on.

Hunger set in fiercely, so I put my epic hunt on pause and stumbled into a promising looking cafe. I ordered a croque monsieur and it came with a salad and fried potato rounds that looked like scalloped potatoes but without the melted stuff. It was tasty and cheese-full. I also had a €4 Coke. I decided I didn't care.

I wish it had been open!

Eventually I ended up back near one of the Amelie locations, Cafe des deux Moulins. That's where I bought this gift for a very special Jenne! After that I ended up back near my hostel, just one street up. There I found a lot of cool shops that were open and had reasonably priced items. I found my necklace at a small shop up the street from those locations though. The woman working there was super nice and helped me decide which one I liked better. I had a big bounce in my step as I picked out a few post cards for Cassidy and then (with great relief) headed back to the hostel again.

When the woman brought me my chocolate chaud it was just syrup and no milk. "I forgot the milk" she says. No kidding.

Unless my bunk mates want to go out for dinner again tonight, I am probably going to stay in. I was absolutely dragging myself around the city earlier. I don't know where all of my energy went!

Oh, last night was a lot of fun. I was originally going to go to dinner with just Tawanda, but then Michelle's date got pushed to later so she decided to come with us. We also invited Elise right when we met her and then Michelle ran into Leigh and invited him. Leigh was acquaintances with a guy named Michael who was bunk mates with a guy named Joe. SO, our humble party of two turned into a rockin' party of seven! It was awesome, and so unexpected! We went down the street a ways to a place that was recommended by the guy working at the hostel. We had a good time with wine and managed to get a few pictures of us all at the table.

Place du Tertre: supposed tourist trap.

Leigh is from Australia, Michael is from England, and Joe is from LA. Another Stater! :P Leigh and Michael walked Michelle to the Metro, Tawanda went to her hostel and Joe, Elise and I went back to our hostel because we were tired. We chatted together for about half an hour or so and then went to bed. It was nice. I said good-bye to Tawanda and Michael in front of the restaurant and on top of a handshake from him, I also received two not air cheek air kisses! That was surprising and cute.

I have no idea what I'm going to do for the rest of the night or tomorrow morning. Check out is 11 am and my flight is at 3:35 pm. I plan on getting there two hours early and I'll need about half an hour for the metro and about 15 minutes to walk there... so what will I do in the morning? Stare at the buildings and landscape one more time, I think.

Elise and the Sacre-Coeur!


9:34 am: walking: off on an Amelie adventure with Elise!

10:41 am: walking: Amelie locations!! The metro stairs, specifically.

10:56 am: Cafe des deux Moulins: :O!!!

The cafe lacks Georgette's tobacco stand as well as the glass wall that Amelie writes the specials on. The bathroom door is there though xD!!

12:42 pm: hostel: relaxing and editing photos. I may go on a walking tour at 4.

1:47 pm: hostel lobby: I'm getting hungry.

2:23 pm: hostel lobby: Gosh I am feeling lethargic today.

2:58 pm: walking: finally out, wandered to some really ugly streets, bleargh.

3:19 pm: L'Atelier: found somewhere to eat, just had to get off the busy streets!

Sitting outside on a wobbly chair at a table for one. I'm about three feet away from the street. This area is quiet and nice, my waiter speaks English. I can only see buildings around me but they're nice.

3:44 pm: L'Atelier: this croque monsieur has way more cheese than I thought it would.

3:52 pm: L'Atelier: just ran into Michael from last night. What are the chances?

4:18 pm: walking: in my search for a store that isn't obscenely expensive or incredibly cheap I have stumbled upon the Moulin Rouge.

4:25 pm: ????: further exploration has put me in a graveyard.

4:45 pm: Rue Lepic: FINALLY found a decent shop.

5:02 pm: Rue des Abbesses: bought myself the perfect item to always remember my trip here :)


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Paris Day 2 - Eiffel Tower and The Louvre

I have to start off by saying that today has been a lot better than yesterday and it looks to be even more awesome tomorrow. I'm sure you were all very sad to know that my first day in Paris was less than perfect ;)

That's all in the past now though! Another learning experience under my belt. I believe the biggest issue is that I didn't have anyone to talk to or walk around with. There was no one in my room when I arrived and after I met them I went downstairs to post my blog. By the time I was finished they had left for the night. So yeah, alone for the night. I ended up going out and getting pizza and beer and then I just went to bed, full and fighting the urge to be cranky. "Tomorrow will be better" I told myself, and prayed that any new bunk mates would be friendly.


Someone wants me to have a good time in Paris, because my new bunk mate is super friendly and outgoing! She came stumbling in at 2 am and woke me up because she tripped on a chair xD It was funny. The night was full of mostly restless sleep. I also received the most painful and persistent calf muscle cramp of my life. I sat up and stretched my foot back, that usually eases it right away, but this one was not going away. Every time it started to and I'd relax it would just spring back together. Massaging it didn't work and neither did stretching over my extended leg with my foot flexed. I was so tired and just wanted to sleep D: I finally scooted down the bed a bit and forced my foot into a flexed position against the button rungs of the bed frame and fell back asleep. A few hours later I woke up and my foot was pretty much completely asleep, but the cramp was gone, so hurrah! That calf muscle has been uncomfortable and acting up all day though so I expect it to happen again tonight :(

Anywho, woke up at 8 and was greeted by Michelle introducing herself. She's from Zimbabwe and is in France because she attended a wedding a few days ago. She's traveling on her own now and she's having a lot of fun! She had plans today to go into the city to see The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower with another hostel-resident that she met yesterday. I told her I was planning on doing the same thing and asked if I could join them, to which she very enthusiastically said yes!


So we were off and getting ready for the day. This place offers a complimentary breakfast from 7:30-9:30 so we made sure to be downstairs for that! I had a rather delicious croissant and a bowl of cereal. I met Leigh, a nice man from Australia, who Michelle met yesterday. We were planning on all going together, as well as with Michelle's friend Tawanda, but we dallied a bit too long so Leigh decided to go off by himself. That was OK though! Tawanda is super nice, so the three of us had a really great day together.

I fancy myself pretty good at reading maps by this point. Never really needed that skill until recently! I was able to deduce the best routes to get to the Eiffel Tower and then the Louvre, then back to our hostels! Go me :D Take the 2 then get on the 6, 6 deposits us at the Eiffel Tower, then take the 6 back and hop on the 1, 1 takes us to The Louvre, then take the 1 back and get on the 2! haha There are stops in there of course but I don't remember their names so that's all the information you get!

Michelle, me and Tawanda!

Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was pretty exciting, and then it just got strange. There are people about every five feet selling crappy little Eiffel Tower replicas. They're aggressive and annoying. While we were en route by foot a police car started to drive slowly down the road, stopping every so often in front of a street vendor. The vendor would then quickly pick up their wares and start to walk away. I had no idea what was happening and then Michelle explained that they're illegal immigrants and the police will take them to be deported if they don't leave. It didn't seem to do much good though because as soon as the police car left they just sat down at a new spot and rearranged the figures. Hm!

We didn't go up into the tower, the lines were very long and we wanted to make sure we had time to have lunch and get to The Louvre with sufficient time to look around. We settled for walking out onto the sprawling grassy area and taking lots of pictures of ourselves in front of the tower! There was a lot of broken glass in the grass, as well as beer caps. Just so messy. There were also some people dressed in weird chicken and gorilla costumes. I was taking pictures of Michelle in front of the tower and the chicken just wandered in and stood with her while I took pictures. Then he harassed her for money. I can see if she approached him and wanted a photo, but man, he wandered into HER photo. So when she had my camera and was taking pictures of me and the gorilla tried to hug me I flapped at him and ran away. It's difficult to focus on what I'm there to focus on when someone is in my face every two minutes trying to get me to give them money. It has been quite an experience.

French bill!

The next adventure landed us outside of a public toilet. A public toilet that cleans itself after every use, forcing us to wait 45 minutes so Michelle could use it. Hygiene is important, but now I understand why public urination is so popular! While Tawanda and I waited we explored the souvenir shop that was adjacent to the toilet. I told her that I wanted something interesting and not something I could get in the States. I've seen those tiny Eiffel Tower keychains back home so I wasn't about to buy one here. I'm also not sure I'm really a I <3 Paris shirt kind of person. Then she pointed out something rather interesting: I <3 Paris... condoms. They had me laughing a lot so I bought one. Unique souvenir acquired!

The Louvre!

Once we were safely landed near The Louvre we scoped out a place to eat. We ended up at a nice little cafe with very friendly wait staff. I had a cheeseburger that was too expensive, but the fries were plentiful and delicious so all was not lost. I considered buying a soda, but they were 5.20. The beers were 5. What the heck is with the inflated soda prices!? I had water instead, which was the better idea anyway because it was warm and I was walking and needed actual nourishment.

So, The Louvre! We had a blast playing around in front of the fountains and the pyramids. It was a while before we actually even got in line. Fortunately for us, the line moved very quickly and we found ourselves in the museum! At long last, The Louvre! The famous museum seen in so many movies, such grand wonder awaited us! Oh, and also, sheer exhaustion. Someone told me, it may have been Ann, that you could literally spend days in there. She was not exaggerating. I didn't even know what I wanted to look at, I'm not a big museum person. It's all very fascinating at first, but then it all starts to look the same to me. Saying these things makes me feel like I'm a horrible person, and I am sorry for that! The sculptures are incredible, always, but the paintings. They are vibrant and life like yes. The detail is astounding. Again though, they all start to look the same. I had to keep repeating to myself, "I am in Paris at The Louvre and I just saw the Mona Lisa in person. Be excited" >.>


Speaking of the Mona Lisa... well, I don't really have anything to say. It's tiny, like I was told. Behind bullet proof glass, which I was told. You have to stand like 10-15 feet away, which I was told. The room is full of people using flash photography even though they're told not to, which I was told. All in all I almost felt like I had already seen it! It's so famous, and also sadly underwhelming. I feel as though I may be sounding pretty ungrateful right now. I'm not ungrateful, just giving honest recollections of the day. The museum was incredible and I am just not a museum person. On a meta sense it was fantastic though!

The three of us were separated near the end, sort of doing our own things. I ended up waiting near the gift shop for them to return. I almost fell asleep while on the bench. Energy = gone.

Michelle likes to jump :D

We very happily went back to the metro station and to our hostels. Michelle has herself a date tonight :O So Tawanda and I made plans to have dinner near the Moulin Rouge. I guess there are some really nice restaurants around it! I'm excited :D

Things continued to get better when I got up to the room. New roomie! Her name is Elise and she is from.... Seattle! What are the freaking chances!? haha! She is really nice and is here for a few days. We chatted it up and then Michelle showed up. The three of us were chatty and friendly and making plans right away! Elise asked what we were up to tonight and I immediately invited her to come to dinner with Tawanda and me! She seemed relieved and excited and said yes! Ah!

The Louvre.

I asked her what she was planning on doing tomorrow (with the intention of inviting her to come with me while I walked around and found Amelie locations) and she said she was just going to be walking around the area. I asked her, "Have you seen Amelie?" and she stops and goes, "... I'm doing the walking tour tomorrow, it's why I'm in Montemartre!" and I went, "Oh my gosh ME TOO!" and we got all giddy and started gabbering away again. So we'll be walking to the locations together tomorrow! I'm just so happy :D :D :D

So now I'm in the lobby again, blogging away. Dinner tonight and walking with a friend tomorrow. Lots of things have made me happy today. Oh, my phone is dead. I didn't think about the fact that I didn't have an Ireland-Europe plug adapter :\  Let's hope I won't be needing it for anything! Logic tells me that I probably know someone WITH such an adapter, but let's not go down that road.

Resting in The Louvre, observing the outside!

The internet in here is very very slow tonight and I can only get the one picture to upload. I am very sad about this.


8:47 am: hostel: today is already so much better than yesterday. My new bunk mate is from Zimbabwe and she is so friendly! I'm going with her and some other people to see the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre today!

9:30 am: hostel: I love a free breakfast!

10:08 am: outside: meeting up with Michelle's friend, then off to the Eiffel Tower!

10:47 am: metro: that guy looked just like Cillian Murphy oh my gosh. He was with a girl though, darn.

11:28 am: Eiffel Tower: !!!!

12:13 pm: walking: French woman in a striped shirt and a barrett!

12:21 pm: souvenir shop: I <3 Paris condom. Purchased.

12:54 pm: Bir-Haken metro station: to The Louvre! and lunch :D

1:41 pm: Cafe Palais Royal: French words are slightly coming back to me.

2:39 pm: The Louvre: so the outside of The Louvre is pretty neat!

3:31 pm: The Louvre: Hey look, the Mona Lisa.

4:14 pm: The Louvre: I believe I am actually lost, as in cannot find a way to exit.

4:23 pm: The Louvre: Ok I'm good now.

6:02 pm: hostel: new bunk mate is from Seattle! Crazy! And she's coming to dinner with us :D

6:18 pm: hostel: Oh snap!! She's doing an Amelie walking tour tomorrow too! We are going together!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paris Day 1 - WTF

I don't even know where to start.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but so far I'm not really enjoying myself. Perhaps I just got off on the wrong foot and the next three days will be better? I don't want to be negative and I don't want to complain and Im' having a difficult time with that right now. Maybe I'm just underwhelmed. I had high expectations and they are not being met. People here honk a lot. I should have saved up my "I'm going to get hit by a car" thoughts that I've been using in Ireland for France. I believe I'm in imminent danger here, for realz.

I am loving the buildings and the cobbled streets. The decorations and definite "old city" vibe are both enjoyable for me. More than that I want to be having a nice time. I was all excited while waiting in the Dublin airport and then again when we finally started to land (not like the flight was long, but still the excitement had really set in at that point).

Just a morning Guinness. Not mine though.

Today has seen copious amounts of notes and thoughts being jotted onto my iPod. There was some sensory overload happening a few times.

My first order of business once landing was to figure out how best to get to my hostel. I had a rather embarrassing exchange with the woman at the Information booth and she finally suggested that I go to the Tourist Information booth instead. I think that was for the best. Once I awkwardly said, "Uh, hi" to the nice woman after she gave me a very polite string of words en Francais, she switched to English and was very helpful. Turns out the video game museum that I based this weekend excursion on is closed right now because the building it is in is having some construction done on it. I am more in comic disbelief than anger or sadness. I mean yes, I am bummed, but I don't want to be upset about it... so I'm not. Will power!

So I decided that today would be relaxing and getting familiar with the streets around my hostel so I don't get lost, then tomorrow I'll do my Amelie adventure and maybe shop? and then Monday I'll be doing one of those hop on hop off tours that drives around and around to all of the big tourist spots like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Tuesday will be another epic adventure to get to the airport. I say another epic adventure because I had quite the experience getting settled in today and I will explain why.

Let's start at the beginning.

I woke up at 4 am and hit the snooze button four times before waking up at 5 am and deciding I didn't want to deal with bathing. It's worth noting that I went to bed at 2 am. Yes,  2ish hours of sleep before a day of traveling. I'm not upset about it nor do I regret it and I will not be complaining about being tired! I packed the night before and then was in town with friends and it was very nice. There was also partial nudity (not on my part, nor any other female's). That's a story for another day though, I'm talking about Paris here.

So, 5 am, all packed and ready to go. My flight from the Galway airport was at 7:45. I didn't know what to expect so I went with normal airport protocol: get there early. I called a taxi and I was picked up at 5:30 am. We arrived at the airport at 5:45 am. The check in desks did not open until 6:45 am. Woof. Also? Tiniest airport ever. Dave said it was a glorified barn and he wasn't kidding. I sat nodding off while sitting up and listening to my iPod. Once I was checked in and had my boarding pass I wasn't entirely sure where to go, then I realized there was only one place to go. One big room with two doors leading to the tarmac: Gate 1 Gate 2. xD I was very amused. Even though taking the bus to Dublin and flying from Dublin to Paris (as opposed to flying from Galway to Dublin then to Paris which is what I did) would have been cheaper, I'm pretty happy about my decision because I got to look at all of Ireland as we flew from one coast to the other. Just gorgeous.

Commence confused shuffling at the Dublin airport. That place is wacky! I had to leave and then go back in to get my second boarding pass. The woman in front of me for the security screening had a stroller with her and she asked me if I would get her bag from the under carriage because she's pregnant and isn't supposed to lift things. In my attempt to dislodge the heavy and bulky luggage I almost flipped over the stroller, complete with baby in it. So that was cool.

I just remembered I need to find a place that sells shampoo and stuff, hopefully in travel sizes. I don't have any so I couldn't bring any and I didn't think to buy any beforehand. Hmm. Better get this finished so I can go look for supplies before it gets too late.

Outside the door to my room at the hostel.

Anyway, I snoozed a bit near a window and intermittently watched people drink Guinness at 9 am before boarding my plane. Just like with my flight from Galway, my flight in Dublin had me walking on the tarmac to get to the plane. Very strange! The flight went well enough, some very serious turbulence patches and I had the special privilege of sitting directly under the wing so I got to watch it change through the flight. Scary and neat at the same time. When we landed everyone clapped. I was confused? Still not sure what that was about. Possibly because of the turbulence, but I've had worse so who knows.

So yes, I wander through the airport trying to find the information desk and once I have my information, my train ticket, my hop on hop off bus ticket and a map of the city, I head to the Paris train. That went well enough except I felt a little worried the whole ride because I wasn't sure how to make the doors open. The train stopped at every stop, regardless of there being people present, but the doors didn't open unless someone was there. Ground sensors? Door sensors? How do the doors know!? I kept looking around the car that I was in, hoping to catch someone getting off at a stop so I could see if they had to do anything to get the door open. To my immense relief I was able to watch someone and that's when I noticed there's a button on the door. It's fairy inconspicuous if you ask me, and it doesn't say PUSH. So, you know.

I was full on assaulted on many sensory levels once I left the train confines and went above ground. Why does so much of the street smell like pee? And why is everyone honking so much? There is no where the car in front of you can go. Don't get me wrong, traffic was an absolute gridlocked mess. I wouldn't be happy either. It was insanity though! Also, I'm pretty sure I walked in/rolled through a shiny new puddle of piss. There were a few guys standing around nearby it and maybe one of them was just too lazy to find a toilet. I'm guessing it was piss because when I passed over it I was hit with very strong... smells.

After finding the Sacre-Coeur on my own I felt very confident that I could find my hostel. I knew that one of the big pulls for it was its spectacularly close proximity to the Sacre-Coeur. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my butt and legs because wow do these shape-ups work) I went around and around, up and down streets, back and forth reading signs and consulting my map trying desperately to find my hostel. I need a better map. The one I have (that the tourist information booth gave me!) doesn't show all of the street signs. Every time I came to a new cross section and tried to find the name of the street on the map it wasn't there, it just wasn't there. I started to wonder if I had completely mixed up where I was staying with perhaps a hostel that I had looked at but didn't actually book. But then I remembered that I gave the address to the tourist lady and she gave me the map and marked things. I persevered and finally found my hostel. RELIEF. My bunk mates are from Dublin. Funny, right? They weren't in when I arrived but after I returned from wandering the streets they were both there. They leave tomorrow morning so that does not do me much good. Maybe some new people will show up tomorrow afternoon and I will make some friends. I hear that's what hostels are for.

OK, everyone here has a moped thing. It's crazy. I've never seen so many before. I took some pictures I will show you.

Oh, and I passed cafe after cafe while wandering lost through the streets dragging my suitcase and listening to my stomach whine. Once I was ready to jump on some French cuisine I found that I was inexplicably surrounded by NOTHING BUT FABRIC STORES! Today has been so strange.

You know what's a really awesome and beautiful song? Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol.


I am sad to report that I ended up eating a freaking McDonalds. Although that was an experience in and of itself. People in France speak French. Shocking, I know. Not all French people speak English. This particular American does not speak French. I can read it a tiny bit and recognize a fair amount of nouns but that it is. So there was some pantomiming and charades happening when I made my order. Then she told me my amount and I handed her money and I knew it would be enough to cover it but I had no idea what she said. Numbers were difficult while learning French in high school.

After my very not good tasting meal I decided I was ready to explore a bit. I went to the Sacre-Coeur to take some photos. It's an amazing building with such grand stairs sprawling in front of it. Add to that the fact that it's in Amelie and it had a definite draw for my camera and me. Lots of pictures, which was nice. The weather was good too. Sunny and bright. Too bad I forgot my sunglasses! I had a guy practically accost me attempting to get my attention and get me to buy some string for braiding. He was reaching out to grab me and stop me. I don't know how many times I said "No" before I swung at him to get him to back off. That was a little weird. The street vendor types are very aggressive here.

I'm sitting in the lobby area of my hostel. There's free wifi but it only works in here, which is a bit of a bummer. That's for the best though, I'd feel like a jerk for keeping up my bunk mates with my computer screen and typing noises, but I know I'd do it anyway >.>


5:34 am: taxi: are you kidding me? the driver just told me I could have slept another hour!

5:53 am: Galway airport: yeah he wasn't kidding. My flight isn't until 7:45 and I can't even check in yet. Boo.

7:14 am: Galway airport: I have been informed that the toilet is not working on the Dublin plane. This made me laugh. All in all a very odd experience so far.

This airport has two gates. The security screening felt pretty informal. I didn't have to take off my shoes. I forgot to remove my laptop from my bag (they didn't notice, or they didn't care). My ticket doesn't have a gate number on it. I have a 50-50 chance of getting on the correct plane! haha

7:41 am: plane: Gate 1, tiny plane! Walked on the tarmac to get to it.

9:16 am: Dublin airport: much more airport-y. I didn't see very much of it on my arrival so this is interesting. Food!

9:25 am: Dublin airport: the blueberry muffins look spectacular but I bought a sandwich. More sustenance.

9:34 am: Dublin airport: Holy shit I am actually on my way to Paris. I have wanted to visit France since I was about 8 years old.

11:53 am: airplane: another plane boarded via the tarmac. What's the deal? Also, no boarding order just a free for all! P.S. I was forced to check my roll aboard at the gate >:O

I know I'm on a plane to Paris and therefore this shouldn't be that interesting, but all the same this is the first time I've been fully surrounded by people that are not speaking English. So I am fascinated and startled.

12:40 pm: airplane: I believe I am looking at England/Scotland riht now.

2:36 pm: airplane: penis crop circle in France, no joke.

3:38 pm: train: will you believe that the video game museum is closed because work is being done on La Defense building? The reason I came to Paris! Also everyone is speaking to me in French and I reply with "I'm sorry?" or "Hi" an then they speak English and I feel like a silly foreigner.

4:04 pm: hostel: I am finally here and sadly not in great spirits. I'll see what I can do.

4:34 pm: walking: the hostel I'm staying at is positively surrounded by fabric stores.

I am so hungry I almost fell over in my room. I have been circling the block trying to find a cafe and all I am seeing is fabric and clothing stores. Then I saw a McDonalds. I'm not happy about it but I need to eat something and this is the first food place I've seen.

A white flower. Because some people really like white flowers.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Ireland Day 51 - A Short One

Packing for Paris. I leave early in the morning.


11:11 am: photo one: I wish.

11:14 am: photo one: What is going on?!

1:31 pm: photo one: I am so tired right now. I need to eat meat at lunch.

2:31 pm: quay street: Ate lunch at a new place today!

4:17 pm: photo one: Well, an elderly person finally fell on the escalator, just like Brad said.

4:48 pm: photo one: There is an American quarter on the floor. How is that possible?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ireland Day 50 - I Can't Think of Anything

It's true. There's not quite a title for this entry. But 50 days, wow! That doesn't seem real at all. Today it is hot outside, a very welcome change. Of course I haven't been able to enjoy very much of it. I was running around in the studio all day! At 5 I got to go outside and assist Brad on a shoot, yay! I squinted into the sun while holding a reflector like a good assistant should. It was fun. People are hilarious when they see photography in action. Lots of gawking and wonderment. We were shooting at the top of Shop Street so it was very busy. The photos have a great mood to them. Learning.

In the morning.

My bus ride home was ridiculous. I've started hopping on at the Spanish Arch stop which makes for an extremely crowded bus. I am forced to stand next to the driver which makes things more interesting. Allows me to use my leg muscles to stabilize myself too, so it's not just a freak show it is also an exercise regime.

Today's show starred a boy about 8 years old who was talking the driver's ear off. He was going on about garda and prison and Australia and how you have to keep your eye on Canada because they're sneaky. Then he started in about his sister being lonely and having a bad boyfriend. I believe the highlight was when he said, "What the hell's his name again?" and then something about, "kick the shit out of him" and he, "taught myself karate. I'm going to teach some other guys too". Things got a bit weird when I'm pretty sure I heard him say, "If he touches me again he'll be in jail". Not sure what was going on there.

Now I'm very warm and I'm about to get in the shower. It's a rare day when I take two. Today just has had a lot going on so far. I am excited because I'm going to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World tonight! Everyone I know keeps saying such great things and to my delight it's in theatres here. People better not be wrong! I guess I'll let you know what I think.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ireland Day 49 - Me

In many forms. My hand hurts from holding the camera at odd angles for so long. I desperately wish I had a model to use with this evening sunlight. It's phenomenal. I got some shots of myself that I'm happy with but man it would be great to have someone else to photograph so I didn't have, y'know, "how far my wrist can pivot" restrictions. Plus there's the fact that I feel a little funny posting so many photos of myself. I'll gladly take tons of self-portraits, then I feel self-conscious when other people know how many I've taken D: Oh well I guess! Just as a warning, this post is going to be full of photos that are fairly similar to one another because I couldn't pick a favorite and I believe each has its own merits.

Work was non-stop today. It was chock full of learning. Everyday I have learned, of course, but today especially, my cup runneth over. In a good way! There were a bunch of shoots to edit through and photos to work on, people to call and prints to sort and two shoots to sit on to facilitate learning! The day went by very quickly because I had so much to do. I actually didn't get to finish it all! Tomorrow looks to be pretty busy as well. Multi-tasking skills, come to me! Oh, and customer service too. Kidding, kidding!

I had a hurried meal at Lynch's and then wound my way back to the studio. The bathroom key was gone so I had the great honor of using the public pay toilets. I won't go into the horrid details, just know it was bad.

After work I spent some time at the Spanish Arch. When the weather is nice I, like so many others, enjoy sitting there and musing. I don't know what it is. The river was high and I had a fun encounter with a few pigeons. While sitting there I realized that I'd really like to go swimming, and then I had a moment where I seriously began to weigh the pros and cons of jumping in. 

I'd have to leave my bag behind, of course, but would someone steal it? Do people ever swim in the river when it's high? Would I have to float all the way down to the stairs in order to get out? How cold is the water? I decided against it at long last and contented myself to just stare across to the Claddagh. At 6 the church bell went off. I expected it to toll 6 times, but I guess it's on military time too because it went off 18 times. I'm getting quick at military time as well and that's nice.

This picture is seriously cropped in and has suffered a loss of quality as a result. I assure you that however pixelated that spit string looks, it is totally legitimate and I am fascinated by it.

Since buying my messenger bag I've considered bringing my camera with me everyday again. I didn't want to bring my backpack anymore, so as a result no more camera. This morning I remembered to put my camera in my bag. However I didn't feel compelled to take any photos while at the Arch. I considered it, scoped the area for photos that interested me. Perhaps I was just feeling lazy because nothing caught my eye. 

Immediately after walking in the door to the house I put a pot of water on. My mind was set on a monstrous bowl of pasta. I don't usually make a mess when I make pasta but here for some reason I get noodles all over the place. I had a strangely large mess for boiling spirals. Not sure what that's all about. See then next I got parmesan cheese all over the kitchen table, but that actually makes sense (it just flings everywhere when I stir the noodles). 

The next step of my grand plan was to watch Half-Blood Prince and cry this time (last time I watched it I didn't cry. I blame Dave). But then when I got upstairs I was stirred into a frenzy by the setting sun's light and I took 198 pictures of myself. Now it's just about 9 pm and I'm blogging, editing the photos and watching Friends. 

What will tomorrow bring?


8:48 am: bus stop: what an amazing morning.

12:45 pm: photo one: today is some serious freakin' business! non-stop learning, I'll be a studio photographer yet!

1:43 pm: Lynch's: the plastic cups here are made in the USA.

2:18 pm: Eyre Square Center: the pay toilets here officially smell like a cat box and sound like a petting zoo.

6:34 pm: 33 bus: when something is wrong when nothing is wrong, seeing the ocean makes me feel better.


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