I might have to start taking fewer photos. It takes forever to write these entries now because I spend so much time sorting through the photos, let alone have time to edit any of them.
Traveler’s log: Day 3, Thursday.
My family members were off doing their own thing today, so I decided to conquer one of my fears: the Paris metro system. Six years ago when I visited Paris the first time, my friend Bénédicte led me all around the city using the metro. I was so overwhelmed, all I remembered were the levels of tunnels that stretched for miles and they were several stories deep underground so that if somebody wanted to murder me and hide my body…well the Paris metro would provide them a very pleasant ride for them to think of the various ways they could do that.
But this time around I’ve been paying attention to how it works and it’s pretty easy. Instead of like San Francisco’s muni metro system, where one main tunnel handles a bunch of different lines and you have to pay attention to which train you get on (before it splits off in different directions above ground), the Paris metro system is made up of numerous tunnels and pathways, all handling a different train line each.
So, sure, there is a lot more walking and climbing stairs, but there is less of a chance of getting lost or on the wrong train. And there is always a train leaving every 2 to 4 minutes. (So I would never experience the crap I experienced in SF: spending 50 minutes waiting for/riding the Muni just to travel 5 miles to my internship)
What I’ve been really confused/perplexed about is following the directional signs here. In Paris, the down arrow (↓) means to go forward, whereas I’m used to “forward” being indicated by the up arrow. So sometimes I’ve walked downstairs when I was supposed to go forward.
Anyway, on this particular Thursday I decided to be weird and walked a long distance, popped into a random metro station, took a random train, and got off at a random stop. This led me to getting off at the Cité stop.
Viva la France:
I’ve been meaning for a while to get a photo to illustrate the ubiquity of small cars in Paris and well, here it is:
I stopped by the river Seine and sat down where Bénédicte first took me six years ago.
I did what I usually like to do when I’m sitting next to a body of water, take a shot of my feet:
And I love how zen these people are, they just put their bags down, take off their shoes, and relax and watch the world go by:
Then I walked more, across sidewalks and… I must have walked like 10-12 blocks just to get immersed in the Parisian local culture.
Damn you, Subway, always ruining my immersion of the local culture with your foot-long sandwiches. Or as they call it in Europe: 30 cm-longs (technically 1 foot is 30.48 cm long but I guess the French shave off half a cm off their sandwiches, you know, to keep their slim figures).
Although I’d argue their theme song doesn’t quite have the same ring to it: ♫ Seven-Euro, Seven-Euro, Seven-Euro… 30 cm-longs… ♫
(sorry, that was a dumb joke for us Americans)
Then I looked and saw a fancy-looking building (they’re all fancy in Paris):
But ah, it was a school:
But not just any school. It was L’Université Sorbonne, which is a very, prestigious, fancy-sounding school (and one different syllable from a delicious frozen treat):
Ooh look, sorbet at the Sorbonne:
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
I really love the architectures of these older buildings:
Here is the Le Panthéon, an a̶r̶t̶ ̶m̶u̶s̶e̶u̶m̶ mausoleum that holds the remains of famous French people. Pretty… but no thanks.
Ah, here’s a lovely statue/piece of art in front of Le Panthéon:
And well, I was going to write something witty about this boy sticking his head up the statue’s butthole, but I’m too tired, so please make up your own caption for this:
That night after dinner I took a walk around our current neighborhood, République, which is always full of well-dressed, attractive 20-30-somethings, sitting down outdoors sipping expensive cappuccinos or café au laits at all hours of the day.
I hate them.
And if you can’t go out to socialize, well you can always call up one of these sushi delivery services, because apparently that’s a thing, a very popular thing:
By the way, I just discovered a little problem: my deodorant is running out, and the three grocery/health care stores I’ve visited only sell those hard natural ball crystal deodorant things. Does anybody know if those work? My only experience with them was like a decade ago when I used the rock crystal and it just left me with major B.O.