June 07, 2007

First Days in Paris

I arrived in Paris yesterday morning. I was tired from flying, but it wasn't as bad as it was in previous trips. With some help from a walmart brand sleep aid, I managed to get myself to sleep instead of watching the movie. From the Paris airport, which looks like it was built in 1957 and not touched since, i took the RER into the city. Charlie told me to meet him at the St Michael Fountaine so I navigated the metro to that stop. I got there an hour and a half or so before he would be in town from Bordeaux, so I took the time to walk around the neighborhood. From there, I could walk to Notre Dame and the nearby Latin Quarter. Around 11ish, Charlie showed up at the fountain. It was good to see him- he's been in france since january.

From there we took our things to the hostel so we wouldn't have to carry them. We found our hostel near the train station and went inside. I had a booking confirmation page I had printed from the internet booking service. The woman at the desk was completely confused. She had no record of our booking whatsoever. Charlie conversed with her in French and she looked all over for any indication of our reservation. Everything seemed to be done on paper, which made it a bit mystifiying that the hotel would be listed on the internet at all. That hotel was full, so we left and were able to find elsewhere to stay for only a bit more money. I wrote an email to the hostel booking service and they said they'd refund my money.

After getting settled, Charlie took me on a brief tour of the city. We rode the Metro to the Latin Quarter and walked around the island in the middle of the Seine. From there we walked to the Louvre, which is enormous. It was a gorgeous day so we did a lot of walking. We didn't go inside the Louvre because we weren't ready to dedicate the time necessary to really take it in.

We did go to the Arch d Triumph though, which requires an aggressive stair climb. The arch is gigantic. It really stands out along the skyline, and from the top you can look down all nine roads that lead to the circle in which it stands. You can also see down the Champs Elysee.

For dinner, we went to a local grocery store and bought some cheese and ham to make sandwiches with a baguette. Not the most gratifying dinner, but for the price it was a great choice. We also had a couple beers, which was a nice way to relax after a long day. Somehow I stayed awake til 11pm, which was very helpful to adjust to local time.

Today we went first to the Catacombs, which is where the French put a whole bunch of dead bodies that were causing health problems because they were originally put in a mass grave near the city. After walking through hundreds of yards of tunnels, you get to a section of tunnels that are lined with bones. Lots and lots of bones. Thousands of skeletons worth. There are human skulls, femurs and other parts in rows and rows. Many of them are arranged in patterns of crosses or hearts. The tunnels go on and on, with intermittent plaques with french philosophy on death. It's a really strange place, and by far the creepiest place I've ever been.

After grabbing some lunch (chinese), we walked to the eiffel tower. Which is also bigger than I thought... I'm sensing a theme here. We walked below it and through the nearby park. We didn't go up to the top because it's somewhat expensive and requires a long wait in line. We also toured some of the surrounding area. That brings me pretty much up to the moment.

We got a message from Clay saying his flight has been pushed back an hour or two, so instead of him arriving at 1030 as we previously thought, it could be as late as 1230. Even after checking with Air India, his chosen airline, we're still not sure of his arrival time. Him getting in later might hamper our chances of going to Normandy that day as we previously planned. Hopefully we can move some plans around and still get out there before coming back to the states. We'll see.

In other news, I was offered a job at Southeast. I'll need to call them. Hope everything is going well at home. Feel free to email me, I've been able to check it the past two days.

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