Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Gay Pareeeee

I just wanted to say gay paris, and now I have excuse.
I'm on the RER train (are you impressed with my insider terminology? Oui?) back to Charles De Gaulle after some quality time in Paris. 
It deserves reporting that as I type this there is a man doing karaoke in the train car with me. It's like French-Yiddish-Latino solid gold hits day! He's actually a good singer, just like the guitar player, accordion player and trumpeter, who I've witnessed on board before him, but he's the only one that I've given euros to...
...mostly to get rid of my euros on my way out of the country and also I appreciated the Spanish chorus "besa me, besa me mucho..."

Tons of people go to Paris, right? And they all come back bewitched by its charm/history/sexiness.
I wanted to be counterculture and not fall for it.
But I couldn't. Paris was too powerful for me not to like it. 
Granted, our friend lives in one of the most upscale/beautiful neighborhoods and he made sure we ate the best food and saw the best buildings/museums/gardens.

I did wander into less savory parts of town (in search of Vespa rentals and marches de puces ~ markets of fleas) that felt an awful lot more like Brussels (sorry, Flanders ) or Lagos for that matter. 
But the French have made sure, at all costs, that charm and history are preserved and *that* keeps the euros pouring in from people like me that will pay €30 (or $45) for lunch.
¡Increible! (ok, French doesnt use "¡" but it just feels right)

I hit Versailles and the Louvre all in one day yesterday. Which, you're right , sounds like a terrible idea, but-- After I reach my art-appreciation-ceiling (happens after about 2 1/2 hrs of even the most face-meltingly awesome art), everything dissolves into lines, shapes and colors (there's a modern art joke to be made here, but just like modern art, it's not very funny)
So I saw Marie Antoinette's secret escape passage, Mona Lisa's security eschelon, and enough renaissance boobies in marble and on canvas to last me a lifetime, all in about 10 hrs time.

I really hate to look like or feel like a tourist no matter where I am. This of course creates a challenge in any city where I'm disoriented and unable to communicate with locals.
Of course I was *forced* to speak with Parisians when I was hungry or wanted to buy, say,  a fistful of speedos.
But if it was a woman behind the counter, I would first get the "I hate you" face and then minimal English to make the sale (with the exception of one lesbian waitress, she was lovely to me! Merci! ).
If it was a [straight] man, he was [famously] charming, so those were the few occasions when I didn't feel uncomfortably, awkwardly, touristly American.

I won't hold a map if I can help it, and I won't eat at / shop at any place within 100 yrds of a tourist attraction. Basically if it feels like something akin to Disneyland, I flee. 
I went around Paris most of the time on my own, otherwise this untourist-instinct of mine will drive most travel companions  crazy.

Here is how I saw the main sights of Paris:
-Eiffel tower - walked under, did not stand in huge line to go up in it
-Notre Dame- walked around it, line was like that of Space Mountain (no fast pass!)
-Arc d'triomph- walked near it...
...this list is already boring me, so you can pretty much finish how the rest of it goes in your head.

My only exception was the Catacombs, because of the hype, and the fact that the two single-serving-friends in line in front of  us were from Oakland, took the edge off the 2 hr wait in the rain.

Was it worth the wait?
I think New Orleans is way freakier above ground than those 200 yr old mine shafts of piled bones under Paris. Roman ones were way cooler. I think I'm the only catacomb snob out there though, so...enough complaining-- moving on!

My favorite part of Paris though was not the art or architecture. It was the wildlife. Adorable dogs being walked by stylish people by day and rats casually taking care of business at night.

Ah, magical.
Thats how I'm gonna end this too. Ending with rats. Thank you, goodnight!

1 comment:

Laura Seymour said...

you sound like the perfect travel companion! glad you are having fun.