Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Tell Us about Paris!" Day One (Wednesday)

All right, so that wasn't exactly what was said but it makes a better heading that "how was Paris?" (It's that '!' at the end screaming at you to read.)

BTW, I was up for over 24 hours. That's why travel is nifty.

Wednesday, February 14, 2006

On the plane to Charles De Gauille (CDG), I attempted to sleep and discovered that even my tiny size is not compact enough to fit across two airplane seats, & read The Phantom of the Opera.

At CDG, I went through customs without speaking. Then I had to board a crazy bus that looped, double-backed, and intertwined its route as if it was in a silly Blake Edwards car chase sequence from The Pink Panther. All leading to not Terminal 3, as I was promised, but a drop-off point for Terminal 3's walkway. In the rain.

Once inside the Terminal 3 arrivals, which almost rivals the Chicago O'Hare and LAX for dive-o-tastic Airports of the World, I sat and read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, discovering that most of the film/tv/cartoon adaptations and parodies of it get things wrong. Mr. Hyde is not a lumbering giant of massive evil proportions, he's a pale drawfy thing that you can't quite figure out what is wrong with, but leaves you feeling dirty nonetheless. Like a human white moon nobby whatsis from Lovecraft's DreamWorld stuff.

Katy and I met up after I'd spent sometime staring at the really high ceiling. We climbed into a Mercedes and the taxi driver took us off to our hotel. Le General Hotel was hidden down a side street off away from the Monument to the Republic.

We walked in, overpowered by the mod pink and stark white minimalistic cool that would make Apple designers weep with envy, and checked in. Up to a room on the fourth floor, which looked like someone had been napping in the bed and had a bottle of hard liquor on the nightstand. Returning back down to the front desk, we were then given a room on the third floor. (Better view of the apartment across the alley from us.)

After settling in and exchanging overdue birthday/Christmas gifts, we reorganized and headed off with both a walking guide and a map provided by the hotel to find The Pompidou Center. Being a massive building dedicated to modern art, it shouldn't surprise you the thing looks like something out of Blade Runner. Katy wanted pictures.

We found our way there with relative ease, and debated. Did she want to take photos now (in the afternoon) or should we hurry on to the tea place I had read about in my walking guide? The tea place was only open until 7:30 (it was around 5) and Katy decided the center might make better pictures at night when it was light up. So off we went to Mariage Freres. It was an experience, and we bought tea afterward. Both of us sought the Sakura 2000 (green tea with cherry blossoms in it.) Katy added The Tea of Legends (I kid you not) to her order, while I—also completely going by name—finally broke down and purchased some Sencha Ariake.

We paused in a cute little chocolate shop where I, misunderstanding the secret polite code, forced Katy to have to buy expensive chocolate. (Sorry.)

After leaving the chocolate shop, we made our way back the Pompidou Center so that Katy could take some pictures. It was raining. Hard. And neither of us had umbrellas. Katy's excuse being that she "was from England," and mine being that the only working umbrella that I knew the location of had gone in someone else's suitcase. We got soaked through and through, but she managed to take some photos. We then got rather turned around trying to return to the hotel, so after more soaking and returning to Hotel de Ville, realized we had walked in a big circle.

It was because the Rue Temple, which we followed towards the Hotel de Ville originally is in the wholesale jewelry district. I know this because it's close to The Hotel Molay where I stayed during my first trip to Paris in May 2003. At night the street is very narrow and dark, kind of spooky in the rain with all its locked up little shops. But we found our way to the La Republique eventually so it was all good.

Apparently the people who ran the Chinese restaurant, Sin An Kiang, we had dinner at thought we were a nice spectacle, because they put on on display in the front of the restaurant visible outside.

Anyway, back at the hotel we broke out the Haindl Tarot cards Katy got me for my birthday.

The night ended with a phone call from my uncles to say they'd arrived and their flight from Italy was "an experience." I don't really remember more than that as I was half-asleep. So it was a good thing I told Katy that they would call us the next morning.


Rachel Vincent said...

Wow. That certainly solidifies my decision never to travel alone.

Still, it sounds exciting. Can't wait for the rest.

Sorcha Chumomisto said...

how is the sencha ariake?

c.rooney said...

Sarah, it's strong. Really good, obviously high quality, but it gave me a buzz like few green tags (in a bag) have managed.

You know how the water usually goes that amber color? The Sencha Ariake makes it green. It's hardcore tea. :D

Sorcha Chumomisto said...

i would expect nothing else from ariake tea! supah strong! supah tasty! excellent.

c.rooney said...

I thought it seemed very Ariake. :D