Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Paris Saga: Days V-VII

Jon’s conference took up the greater part of these days, and since there was really nothing that went on at the event that distinguished one day from the next, I’m just going to sum all of that up in a few sentences so that I can get on to the fun stuff. I got to sleep in each of these days, and wear my best outfits. Once I got to the venue, it was solid hours of sitting, replaced by intermittent standing, with a return to sitting, and occasional reading. Jon had a little more excitement than I did – at least he got to talk to people about abdominoplasty, and aesthetic vaginal surgery and stuff.

This is where we sat. And that’s what my honey looks like when he’s making his company millions of dollars.

Okay, the evenings. After the conference, on Day 5, we took a stroll up to our favorite boulangerie and got sandwiches (chicken salad…delicious) and desserts (flan…also delicious). We brought them up with us to the Arc, sat on a bench (HOORAY, it was finally warm enough to eat outside!), and ate dinner while watching the traffic circle. About 8 streets stem from the Arc out in each direction (this area is known as “Etoile”, since it looks like a star from above), and traffic at the center is ridiculous. 8 different streets pouring into this circle with NO LANES. We were in the process of talking about how remarkable it was that we hadn’t seen an accident yet when two cars collided. Honestly, I’m surprised we only witnessed ONE accident, because it was the craziest traffic I’ve ever seen.

The plan was to walk up the Arc so we could watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at dusk, but we had some time to kill before the sun went down, so we hit up some shops near the start of the Champs-Elysees. I took this picture while walking across the street, looking back towards the Arc as the sun was setting.

It was 284 steps up another winding staircase to the top of the monument.

But it was worth it, because the view of the streets below was beautiful, and just a few minutes after we got up there, the Eiffel Tower began to light up.


(SmartCars are all over the place in Paris, and they look particularly awesome from above.)

And for your viewing pleasure…

Moving on to the NEXT evening. After dinner, we fought off the fatigue to go on a Bateaux Mouche tour of the city. It wasn’t easy though…we were completely exhausted, and we almost fell asleep on the bed back at our hotel when we stopped by to change our clothes.

A short metro ride landed us within a few minute’s walking distance of the boat dock, and we barely made it on to the 9:00 launch. But before I get ahead of myself...there was an ad in all the subway stations that made me laugh every time I saw it, and I finally snapped a picture of it on our way to the boat tour. It got funnier and funnier every time.

Ummm...My cousin Brandon??? You decide. (That's where I would have posted a side-by-side picture of him, but I don't have one on my computer. You'll just have to take my word for it.)

The boat ride took us up the river all the way past Notre-Dame, then back past where we started, before turning again and dropping us off. All in all, it was over an hour long of blaring intercoms and cold, disgruntled American high school students. But beautiful, nonetheless. The buildings all have lights that illuminate them at night, but the boats have spotlights as well, so you really get a good view as you pass. And you really get blinded when OTHER boats pass. But when THIS party-boat passes, it just makes you want to dance. And point and laugh.

Here are some of the monuments…


The Eiffel Tower was sparkling as we made our way back to the dock, and Jon snapped this picture of me watching it. This photo makes me happy.

Back at the hotel, we watched the news for a few minutes, but the image was all scrambled, so the following conversation took place:

Jon: They haven’t really perfected their satellite television over here, I guess…

Me: No, they haven't.

Jon: Yes, they have.

Me: ...what..?

Jon: I like to argue.

The next day, Day 7, was the final day of the conference. I slept in until 11, missed breakfast, and got to the conference at 12:30. Poor Jon had been at the venue since 8. We ended up leaving early, since everyone else was packing up their stuff. We stuffed it all into a suitcase and said goodbye to all the other exhibitors that Jon had become best friends with.

PEOPLE OF NOTE:

A) The Parisian Business Partners situated directly across from us. They were selling lasers, and the man had quite the inexcusable unibrow, considering he’s in the hair-removal industry. They were both so impressed when they found out that Jon speaks French. First, the woman almost fell over when he said "ca va", then as conversation continued on in French, Eyebrow Buddy perked up and came creeping over to join in the fun.

B) The Japanese Quartet to our right, selling intense “True Age” tests. Three of the four didn’t speak a word of English, but bobbed their heads enthusiastically every time they passed our booth. The fourth was a young half-Asian natively from Paris, who, in his own words, “turned Japanese”, and moved there spur of the moment. And yes, I had “Turning Japanese” stuck in my head for the rest of the day. He was actually kind of cute, and I was seriously considering forcing him to marry my friend Christa, until Jon informed me that he was a casual pot smoker. (The French-Asian kid. Not Jon. That I’m aware of.) So I gave up on that endeavor immediately. I’m sure her dad would have been thrilled that he spoke French, but not so thrilled about the other stuff. Anyway, this younger kid was the translator in the group, and, while I was eating California rolls, he was kind enough to let me know that his boss was very impressed with my chopstick skills.

C) The Tall Swedish Couple catty-corner, selling numerous skin cleansers and toners. The husband looked just like George McFly from Back to the Future. He was constantly angry at the event organizers, and let us in on all of his secrets of how to get his money back. It went something like this - pretend to sue them, and they give you your money back. His wife was pretty, seven feet tall, and wore a weird skirt with pockets all over it. Twice.

We wished everyone good luck as we left, and there's actually a pretty strong chance that Jon might run into some of them in the future.

We changed at the hotel, then went and had dinner at a fun pub. We both got hot sandwiches with cheese, ham, and fried eggs on top. The amount of Pepsi you can see in the picture set us back 12 euros. Oh yeah, and no refills.



(Jon just asked "Who's that retard that's using two hands to eat with a fork?")

After dinner we bought a heavenly yogurty drink called YOP at the market, and I drank it back at the hotel while Jon watched hockey. This one was coconut flavored, and I'm starting to drool just thinking about it...



(How do you like that product integration there? YOP owes me a thousand dollars for that positive mention. "Pos-men" for short. 30 Rock? Anyone? No?)

TO BE CONTINUED...

2 comments:

  1. I laughed so hard when you talked about the etoile because French auto insurance companies don't cover accident that happen there, that why there aren't that many accidents, believe it or not. If you hit a car there you are on your own, even if you have the best coverage in the world.

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  2. I'm so glad that you did the boat Jessie, I did that the last time that I was there and it was freezing (I was there in October). I didnt have any Americans to contend with though, since there was a really large delegation of chinese that took up the rest of the boat. :)

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