June 1, 2004


I'm going to skip all the boring stuff from the middle of last week and just get straight to the fun part. (Actually it wasn't that boring, I just don't feel like trying to remember all of it right now. It mostly involved some drinking, some people not being able to stand each other, and some searching for a place to play some good ol' American pool, not that funny kind with small balls that are only two colors).

Friday night at 7:42 I got on a train with Santiago, Suzanne, and Ming and headed for Paris. The train ride was amazing. If anyone ever has a chance to take the Eurostar from London to Paris or vice versa, I would highly recommend it. It gives you an awesome view of the English and French Countrysides. After travelling by train to Liverpool and to Paris, I really enjoy train travel. The food on the train was excellent and so was the complimentary wine. The whole trip took a little over two hours. We arrived at the Paris Nord train station around 11 p.m. Paris time (their an hour ahead of London). I really had to go to the bathroom but I couldn't go because you had to pay and I didn't have any euro yet. So we got in line for a taxi and after waiting for about twenty minutes we finally got one. I was a little nervous because none of us really speak French. Ming is the only one who speaks any really and she didn't seem to have much confidence in her skills. So we got in the cab and she sat up front so she could talk to the driver. We told him the address of the hotel I had reserved and after pulling away from the station he pulled to the side of the road and took out a map. I started to get nervous. After looking at the map he said it would be about a 45 minute drive! What had I done? I must have booked the worst hotel possible. It wasn't even in Paris.
It turned out to not be nearly that far. It was only about twenty minutes away in St. Maurice, a very near South suburb. When we got out the meter said 16.00 but he charged us some crazy extra fees for having four passengers and having luggage. I have a feeling we were being taken for a ride (if you'll excuse the pun) because we're American. When we got out, Santiago waited outside because I had only booked the room for three people. I went in with Ming and Suzanne to check in. When I got to the front desk the had no record of my reservation. The guy was nice and gave us a room anyway and copied the information hotels.com sent me. He told me to check back in the morning to make sure they found it. We ended up making it an early night.
In the morning we got up and went to a little cafe and got some crepes. We went to the Metro station and bought our passes and then headed to the Champs Elysees. Santiago and I got bored with the shopping pretty quickly, so we set up a meeting time with Suzanne and Ming and then went off on our own. We did stop in a few stores like the Cartier store and the Mont Blanc store. I must say, I really would have liked to be able to buy a 900 euro limited edition F. Scott Fitzgerald Mont Blanc fountain pen. We headed down the street to the Arc de Triomphe but we couldn't figure out how to get across the round-about to it. Finally we figured out that there was an underground walkway to it and that you had to pay to get to it. Good thing we didn't just make a dash across the street like we were going to. On the way we bought some cool drawings of the city. After that we walked down the other side of the Champs Elysees. We ended up laying down in a park near Les Invalides and falling asleep. When we got up it was about time to meet up with the girls so we headed to the Metro station. When we got there they were both a little tipsy from the drinks they had. They had gone up in the Arc to. I wish I'd known they weren't just going to shop all day. We headed back toward the hotel and stopped at a restaurant along the way. Santiago and I ordered fondue that we thought was going to cost 15.50 for the two of us but when I got the bill it was 15.50 EACH. I kept reading before this trip that London was the most expensive city in Europe, but after going to Paris, I have a really hard time believing that. After that we got some wine and some snacks and headed back to the hotel to meet Andrea, who was flying in on Saturday night. She got there just a few minutes after we got back. Her taxi from the airport cost 40 euro! We spent the night in the room drinking a bottle of wine each and playing "I never."
In the morning Santiago and I got up to go to mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral. I woke up feeling like the sinus infection I had before I left for London was back. Notre Dame was amazing. The bulidling was beautiful and it was really interesting to hear a mass said in another language. The ringing of the bells before mass was almost overpowering. After mass we got some awesome Nutella and banana crepes and met the girls to go to the Louvre. We waited in line for quite a while to get in but it was worth it. The museum was outstanding. I really enjoyed seeing the Mona Lisa, although you're herded past it like cattle. I also like seeing the Venus de Milo and the Wings of Victory. As the day went on, I got more tired and my headache got worse. After we left the museum we walked through the plaza between it and the Champs Elysees. We stopped for dinner and for some ridiculously expensive Hagen Daas. By the time we were on the Metro headed back to the hotel, I thought I was going to die. I could barely stay awake and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I got in bed right when I got back to the hotel and laid there all night. Ming took care of me most of the night and Suzanna called her mom to see what they should do. They made me drink a lot of water and Ming kept a cold towel on my forehead most of the night. Andrea and Santiago went to see the Eiffel Tower at night and I was really upset that I was too sick to go. But I had the worst fever I can remember having in a long time. My whole body felt like it was burning. I felt like one of those kids in the nineteenth century novels that is sick and they're not sure if they'll make it through the winter. And there I will leave you in suspense.

Posted by dpetrella at June 1, 2004 2:23 PM

AHH!! didya make it? didya pull through? The suspense is killing me! You didnt die did you?

Posted by: mallio at June 1, 2004 5:31 PM

i bet he died... i mean, he wrote it at 223 pm today, and its not even 1 yet. he's gotta be writin from beyond the grave....

Posted by: hollimer at June 1, 2004 7:56 PM

hey there dan!!! Now that you saw the Mona Lisa.. you must read The Da Vinci Code!!!!! Great book!!! Be safe!!!! and I really hope you are feeling better!!! :-) Enjoy!! ~Dena

Posted by: Dena at June 1, 2004 8:00 PM

Don't worry, you didn't get swindled with the taxi ride... More passengers and more luggage adds to the base charge in Ireland too. Dude I never went in the friggen Louvre which is sad as hell. Like you said, food was so ridiculously expensive that I skipped some sites. But, if at all possible, go and see the eiffel tower at night!

Posted by: Jon at June 2, 2004 11:36 PM

I was handed a copy of the DaVinci code by my mom. So I might read it. (The relation to the Mona Lisa is that it may be a female version of DaVinci, or an androgenous Amon L'Isa, combining the two main Egyptian gods, one male, one female.)

Posted by: Mallio at June 3, 2004 7:48 AM
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