18 May 2013

European Vacation Four - Bargain Hunting on the Champs Elysees

From the Arc de Triomphe

Today I encountered a former student from the language school in San Francisco where I teach. He’s from Korea. We met on the top of the of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris France. Of course. So that business about it being a small world?  Actually true. Last time I was in Paris I saw a former student from my middle school teaching days. I could go to Mars and see a former student.

I think its impossible to get a bad meal in Paris. Or so much as a bad morsel. I had a plain old ordinary omelette for breakfast. It came with a plain old salad and plain old bread. It was to die for. Breakfast had been preceded by a pilgrimage to the apartment building where Hemingway lived (Ernest. Writer. Papa.). It was followed by a pilgrimage to Shakespeare Books once owned by Sylvia Beach and frequented by Hemingway and James Joyce and Gertrude Stein and pretty much everyone else of literary note who has passed through France.

From there it is less than five minutes to Notre Dame (the original one not the Fighting Irish one). It is celebrating its 850th birthday which makes it about 500 years older than any building you’ll come across in the US and only slightly younger than your average supreme court justice (rim shot).

A long stroll -- very long -- eventually took us down the Champs Elysees where you can spend a small fortune on a ball of string. We window shopped at Cartier’s and please don’t tell the wife I bought a huge diamond ring for her. Then it was to the Arc De Triomphe which I was most impressed with my last visit. This time the better half and I decided to go to the top. This required a long long walk up up up a winding staircase. Two heart attacks later we reached the top. It was worth it. The views are c’est magnifique. And of course it is where one goes to run into a former student who is from Korea.

Took the metro back to the apartment. Our trip required a transfer. That meant two trains to wait for. Total combined wait time was somewhere around one minute. From my limited experience on the Paris Metro this is the norm. Years of dealing with public transit in the Bay Area has made me a bitter angry old man with suicidal homicidal tendencies and prone to fits of rage (okay none of this is entirely true but...). I love you Paris Metro.

Went to a crepe restaurant for dinner and every bite was ecstasy. By the time I finished dessert my mouth had had multiple orgasms. 

Now I face the prospect of a very early wake time next morning followed by a very long trip sans the wife to the beaches of Normandy and the site of the D Day landing. I’m in. 

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