Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Day 3: Versailles, Heaven's Gate and Living at Animal House

I think I'm headed to Versailles for a romantic walk around the grounds and perhaps a bike ride. I'm unsure as of now where to rent the bike (I hear its on the grounds), how much it might costs (my daily budget is hilariously ridiculous) or if I can still ride a bike (yes I know how the saying goes, but its been over ten years). I'm also considering saving the Versailles for tomorrow when the weather might be nicer and finding a few street markets. Making my way to Chez Hanna in the 4th arrondissement, this afternoon for what is supposed to be the best felafels in Paris.

Yesterday I walked from the Arc de Triomphe down the Avenue des Champs Elysees and sat in the Rond Point Des Champs Elysees overlooking the Theatre Marigny, where I enjoyed 3 croissants and watched a young teenage couple talk and play on the bench in front of me for maybe a half an hour, till they left and I resumed my walking. I was immediately drawn to the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, down avenue Winston Churchill. Its amazing as you walk down that way and the gold dome of the chapel peers out from overtop the Hotel des Invalides. I felt quite literally that it must be what entering heaven looks like, should a heaven exist, crossing the bridge above the seine. The sun making its first appearance and making everything look radiant and majestic. I'm sure on another day it might not have been quite so beautiful as it was at that moment. But then it was breathe taking.

From there I continued on the Rue Saint Dominique past the ministére de la défense, with the guards standing outside...along these building there are big gates manned by two blue clad guards that lead into little courtyards with car parks, that reminded me of something from a james bond film. I stopped in the sq. samuel rousseau and watched children play and a few students smoke cigarettes in a small playground over looking s chapel. A short while later I walked on the Boulevard Saint Germain for a while entering the 6th arrondissement which was much more...hip and elegant than the districts I'd passed through prior. Lots of stores, lots of expensive looking clothing, and men in great suits...which I suppose leads me to talk about a great part of my trip so far, French Men and their swagger. Its quite a possibility that I might move to france just to spend more time with the arrongant, beautiful and almost cruel looking french men, their well tailored wonder women in france are so partial to adultery. I have never seen so many women (probably not french) staring so openly at men girl nearly ran into me, but my were they beautiful. Enough of that. Back to the important matters.

I'm considering checking out of my hostel in favor of the old hostel, I have to call and see if they have rooms, but this place is quite the nightmare. First off the benefit of the other hostel, besides being located near the Place de la Republique, was that the travels were all in the same age range as myself, here the bar and the large (10 to a room) dormitory style housing has drawn a much younger crowd in the 18-21 age range. I never realized how much I don't have in common with an 18 year old until now, matter of fact I can't remember the last time in the past couple of years that I spent enough time with an 18 year old (outside of during train rides) to give it much thought. But oh sweet jesus, its not alot. Couple 18-21 years olds with a bar and a hostel "club" and you have a recipe for a sleeping disaster. First off, most of these kids are on the younger side, closer to 18 and have taken a year off from college to explore europe, secondly in their exploration of europe they've decided, in true american style, to spend their time socializing with other people from america (a few brits and a rarer few from other parts of europe) in the hostel bar (there were of course a few older men waiting in the wings like vultures). Somehow by asking for a mixed room (or by virtue of the short hair cut), I've ended up in a room full of nine 18-21 year old males, trickling in at various stages of the night in various stages of drunkeness with an influx at 2am...this morning, I awoke to a symphony of snores and emerged from my bed (I did have the curtain replace by the way) to find a room full of boys sleeping in various stages of undress, a few of whom shut their curtains as they realized a girl was in their midst (one boy kept peering out every so often). I was quite upset to have ended up in the all male party room, but then I considered the alternative nine 18-21 year old drunk girls...yeah, I'll stick with the snoring. I think I might this place another night, but I'm going to call the other hostel to see if they have rooms available beginning tomorrow. On a good note they do sell plug converters and metro tickets so it can't be all bad and 24 hours of internet usage for 6€ (which means that I can keep blogging and posting photos at my leisure).

This morning I awoke to a slew of emails from my friends at home which definitely made me feel a lot better after a near sleepless night and lightened my mood. The second best from Stéve, that I missed yesterday at the arc de triomphe and who I played one sided phone tag with (definitely appreciating the invention of cell phones now), who sent me Nina Simone's Funkier than a Mosquito's Tweeter Jazeem all styles remix, which is already one of my favorite songs.

Till later, A bientôt.

(I've tried to re-read and edit all the typos...but I'm still all over the place with this keyboard)



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