Message From Europe, The First:
Paris is full of French people.
I know. This seems like an obvious enough statement. But, when you spend all your time in the Louvre and Notre Dame and the Catacombs and other touristy places, it becomes a surprisingly easy thing to forget.
They're everywhere, being skinny and well-dressed and fabulous, and speaking their strange French language, and saying things like "Bonjour." and "Pardon." and "Merci." I can't get over it. It's so taken me by surprise that I haven't gotten around to doing anything truly ugly and offensive yet.
Fortunately, when I do, I've memorized French for "I am Canadian."
The food is fantastic. This is good, because we are gorging ourselves at every opportunity.
We have been walking a lot. I am chafing like a bear. This is an ugly fact, true, but hey. Sometimes the truth isn't pretty. If you plan to do a lot of Europe traveling, be sure to get real comfortable with public transportation. Otherwise, everyone will be distracted by the constant whish-whish sound of your chafed and raw thighs rubbing together.
Everyone drinks lots of coffee here. Except that they don't call it coffee, like sensible people do and Jesus did. They will, however, be more than happy to make a cafe au lait for you. It's a large shot of espresso, with just enough milk in it to make it seem like it won't kick your ass. Of course, it will.
It seems impossible to get a bad loaf of bread. Some time I'm going to go out and see if I can find a bad loaf of bread, just to have a goal.
More to come. We'll go to Arles tomorrow. They have lots of Roman ruins there. But, of course, every city has Roman ruins. This is because the Romans fuckin' kicked ASS.
Nessqge fron Europe; the Second
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OK. I will try this again. This is a fucked up foreign keyboard. The q is where the a should be. Period is shift-;. HOW STUPID IS THAT!?!?!?
Getting along in France without knowing French is very easy. You say 'Parley vous Englais?' And they say 'A little,' in a worried voice. Then you talk. They will then either understand exactly what you are trying to say, or its exact opposite.
Paris is full of urine smell. It was there when we arrived. It was there when we left. I believe that a blind person could easily navigate by being attuned to the subtle modulations in the scent of urine.
We are in Arles now, in Provence. Roman ruins are everywhere. There is not much left of them, though, because, in the middle ages, people took them apart to get the stone to make houses.
Waste not, want not.
The remains of the gladiatorial arena are now used to hold bullfights. There is a marvelous sense of appropriateness and continuity in this. Sadly, we will be gone before any bullfights happen. Sadness. We would love to see one.
Of course, some of you would probably object to the morality of bullfighting. That is so sad. This is where this modern liberalism and sensitivity leads. First, you get all accepting and multicultural. Then you become some sort of hippie vegetarian. Next thing you know, you stop being able to enjoy a good bloodsport.
How many fucking bakeries does a city need? This city has, like, one on every block. No wonder France is a second rate world power. Every bit of economic energy they can summon goes to making sure that nobody has to walk more than ten feet to get a pain au chocolat.
On the bright side, you can get a large bar of first-rate, %76 cocoa chocolate for a little over a buck. A bottle of good (I mean GOOD) French wine is ten bucks. Chocolate croissants are 50 cents each. It would make it seem that France is the greatest country on Earth.
But they don't put ice in drinks. This is BULLSHIT.
Like computer games? A great fantasy adventure awaits you here.