Lesson of the Day: Things might not work out like you planned
Woke up exhausted! I know I am suppose to be getting up early to help but I have been too tired to get out of bed. I am going to be struggling the next couple mourning (I can tell) as I need to get up very early and have long days. I finally talked myself into getting up and rolled out of bed at 10:40. It is hard when there is no shower, it is easy to wake up when water is pouring over you, but to wake up to a bath, just does not work. I packed my bags, sad to leave this amazing hotel, but excited to see another side of Paris, went into the space aged elevator and left my favorite hotel I have ever stayed in!
(the Honest Bar pictured above. You simply take what you want and write it down, literary, an Honest bar)
On the topic of elevators, this was the first time I had used the elevator since I arrived, I took a play out of my parents “cruise book” and took the stairs each time – 6 FLOORS!
On the way to the next hotel, I had to do it, even through I was embarrassed and turned red, but I had to go to Starbucks. I made sure anyone who asked or looked at me weird (oh heck it was anyone who even looked at me as I was paranoid) to tell them I was from Seattle and I had to. The biggest reason it is so embarrassing, besides the fact it is a massive chain and corporation, and there are cafes everywhere, is that no one walks around with coffee here, it is not a thing. Many tour guides and Parisians have even said “you Americans and your coffee”. I have not seen one person with a coffee in hand! I realized this the other day as I was walking to my tour, I thought it would be so nice to have a coffee in hand, looked around, and realized that it might not be possible as these cafes probably do not have to go cups. It is nice, Paris is so much slower paced and relaxed, why walk and drink coffee when you can sit, enjoy it (smoke a cigarette of course) and then walk? It is a nice culture, but I am still too Seattle (and American), I cannot adjust unless I have had my esperesso and I usually (ok never) have an extra hour to sit and enjoy before heading to where I need to be, this life would take some time to adjust (which would be welcomed!)
I looked at traffic and researched the best time to drive before leaving my hotel. It says that in Paris the work day is from 9-6 so rush hour is a little different. Also, Friday is the busiest traffic (and Saturday morning) as mass amounts of people are leaving the city and mass amounts are coming to the city for the weekend. I concluded the perfect time to head across town to the Marriott was around 1:00 PM. After confirming with the hotel that I should not take a taxi (just to make sure) I grabbed an Uber and was on my way. As we got closer to the other side of town (I am staying next to the Eiffel Tower) my heart started to sink…it was like Vegas, sans street signs and some of the random beautiful and historic buildings, it would be hard to tell the difference. There was Gap, H&M, Forever 21 and what looked like Americans everywhere, although I am sure they were not, everyone I have thought has been American has not been.
I arrived at the hotel and checked in…I said bonjour and that I was checking in and they started talking French! They assumed I was French and when I said I was English she moved right into perfect English saying she thought my French was perfect and that I was French, haha! My room is gorgeous and looks over the tip of the Eiffel Tower
It is so not Paris that I have come to love, however one of the reasons I love Paris is Sex and the City….this Marriott is so Sex and the City. My other hotel was so Moulin Rouge…so I am glad that I get both sides of Paris. I unpacked and was off to see the Eiffel Tower
I had great visions of grabbing a baguette, cheese and wine, bringing my picnic blanket I packed and walking to the park by the Eiffel Tower, eating lunch and pondering life (and watching people)… However something I have learned that when traveling you need to be able to adjust to your expectations or your plans (or not have any expectations) and go with the flow!Today was one of those days. Walking to the Eiffel Tower from my new hotel was like walking in Seattle…the streets looked the same and the people, all tourists, and if not they were probably out of town as during the weekend there is a mass exodus away from the city and actually a lot of restaurants and shops are closed. The walk was 20 minutes and I stopped to get my first France Hot Dog (like the Starbucks, I just had to!) the nice cart owners spoke perfect English (and many other languages as I heard them talking to tourists) they asked me where I am from and were shocked to hear Seattle, WA. They asked if I wanted ketchup and since it is one of my food groups, I had to say “yes”, however I did want to ruin the originality of the hot dog and how it was suppose to be enjoyed, since it was on a baguette and since it also had cheese on it…so I said “on half please” they drew a heart and said they loved me in English, which sounded less creepy than it sounds here…I replied je t’aime and was on my way.
I could not find the park, so I walked through masses of people, probably thousands! The Eiffel Tower itself is fenced off for people who are entering and going up the tower, but I thought there was a park that people could hang out in and take pictures as many of my friends have been in this picture perfect location.
I walked around and around, but to my dismay, everything was fenced off that looked like a park. I then realized that this is where the soccer (aka football) viewing was going on. It was upsetting that all the parks are empty and blocked off for these viewings, but it is also really cool that the game is here and that France is in the final championship…so it was one good thing and one disappointing thing I guess. It was surprising that they do not open the parks during the day as there are a couple days in between the games, but I heard that security has been so tight that they have already secured the area (and are continuing to secure the area) so they needed to keep their boundaries intact all week. I cut my losses and found a curb, put my blanket down, ate my hot dog and people watched. (Here comes the lesson, little or no expectations, and the ability to be able to change your plans without disappointment.)
How boring would the world be without selfies…I would have nothing to see. In eye sight, I watch hundreds of people taking hundreds of selfies, flirting with themselves, examining the picture and then going back for more. What did people do in a world when you only got one picture and you hoped it was perfect when you saw it weeks later!?! The other random thought that came to me….how did selfies just become “a thing” I have been taking pictures of myself since Polaroid. Did it just need to be branded and have a name? Then everyone started doing it in public? When I was 14 I would not be caught dead taking a picture of myself, but everyone does it- I guess we just needed the reassurance that it was “cool” to start this movement.
I know everyone is in great suspense to hear about the hotdog….best hotdog of my life!! (first time I went BOLD on this blog) And I am glad I only got ketchup on half, much better to eat like the French intended, baguette, cheese and dog.
Now on to something I have been waiting for all week, that perfect Eiffel Tower picture, I hope it goes better than the Louvre picture. Derek suggested I ask someone who has a camera around their neck. Maybe I will get luckily and see some millenniums who understand the importance of the perfect picture…
Not bad…the person took the job to heart when I told him I had been waiting my whole life for this picture!
Ok, I had to join in, I felt left out, selfies are the only way to be silly when you are alone, and to give other people, people watching something to look at…
Walking back through the masses of people and the tourist traps (below). There is something with cups and a ball that looks like people gamble.
Paris is so HOT! and I am so not French, I cannot drink red wine when it is hot. I have lost my ability to withstand the heat as it is not hot and humid in Seattle. I walk around and need to hope into shops or go back to my hotel to soak my feet in cold water, I have become “so Seattle” I was walking around and I just could not consume any more water, my count was at 2 HUGE bottles…I needed something that does the trick, and since Parisian use red wine, I needed another country. When I saw a Mexican restaurant I got excited to see Corona advertised. I hoped in for a Corona, not acting embarrassed (maybe because no one was in the restaurant and this was the one and one Mexican restaurant I saw since I got here…and the only thing Mexican about them was the fact that they had Corona!)
After my Corona I was ready for something that I has been on my bucket list since I was 15..The Moulin Rouge. Ever since I saw Ewan McGregor sing “Your Song” I was hooked! (OK people it was nominated for 8 academy awards, but yet many are haters)
Something to note (and this is very important if you are wanting to go to Moulin Rouge as this is something no one knew about) When I booked the tickets I saw the option for 3 shows: 7:00 (with dinner) 9:00 (without dinner) and a late night 11:00. Well I arrived at 6:45 for doors open and as I was taken to my table and started by dinner, and waited, and waited, and the lounge singers (it was exactly like a cruise ship) started signing, I wondered what was going on as it was getting closer and closer to 9:00 and I knew the other show was going to start.
The AMAZING couple next to me (and thank goodness they were there for company) figured out all at once, that the 7:00 was not a show, but it was just dinner…you pay extra just for dinner and the show starts at 9:00. The food was amazing and I am so glad I did it, but it would have been very lonely alone…once again, I am so thankful I was by a talkative and great couple who made the time pass and we could laugh about the horrible lounge like cruise ship style singers. They sang Tyler Swift and the place lost it and ran up to dance, it was pretty funny. Never being on a cruise (so forgive me I could be completely wrong) but this is what I envision each night being like. The signer looked like a cross between Richard Simmons and Tony Bennett.
When the show started at 9:00, it was an intense 2 hours and it did not disappoint. This was the one thing I did have expectations for and they blow them away! This show is hard to put in words…it is a variety show like no other, it is a performance like no other, it is in a league of it’s own. There were no pictures allowed so I purchased the program. After being hit on by my waiter (he actually brought me a champagne “on the house”) I sunk out to the metro station through the thousands (yes thousands) of people either here for the 11 PM show or taking pictures as this part of town reminds me of Wisconsin Dells or Vegas. My train stop is a block from my hotel and as I walked the busy streets (even through it was after 11) I saw this great quote. What a fantastic evening (and day) Glad to cross this one off my list and have my expectations be blow away.
(Bonsoir I learned is what people say AFTER 6:00 PM I mistakenly said Bonjour after 6:00 and was corrected!!) Bonsoir means good evening….so Bonsoir!