Saturday, March 31, 2007

Live from Paris

I'm actually online for un moment to do a bit of updating and online postcards from Europe, which we'll blog in more detail. Unlike the hubby, I've been bad at writing in a journal and just taking it all in. European computer keyboards are wierd! The special symbols like @ are in different places.

London was wonderful! We brought the sunny weather from California as a gift for M, who just moved there 6 months ago. She lives in a burrough at the end of the Tube line and we stayed at the Red Cow Inn which is basically a pub that has rooms for rent. Not the kind of high service hotel, but they cleaned your room once a day and it was close to the rail station. It took us a few days to figure out the difference between the Underground and the National Rail system.

We did a couple of touristy things: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, watched Les Miz in Piccadily Circus. But we also got a chance to do alot of local stuff: Hampton Court, Canterbury Cathedral, watched a football match at a local pub, ate an English Breakfast, put together M's bbq set, ate an English Sunday roast, attended an arnis class in London. I started to pick up the English accent a bit.

English food is actually pretty good. It wasn't horrible as most people have said. We also found a Chinese restaurant in London's Chinatown and an indian take out restaurant.

I came to understand American revolutionary history alot more after travelling to London. You certainly know how American culture is both a copy of and an answer to its British heritage. Big Brother is way bigger in England than the US with Closed Circuit TV everywhere and I mean everywhere. But this is a country that has dealt with terrorists for hundreds of centuries.

We took the train to Paris. Gare du Nord had a riot the day before we arrived. I thought British news would be "worldly" but it's about as isolated as American news, so we didn't get any more details than a short blurb. French tv gets everything from everywhere. But this is France's obsession with other cultures. 10% of their books here are translations from other cultures, compared to 3% in the US or Britain. Literature wise they're big on the Arab world literature.

We don't know anyone in Paris, so are being the tourists we are and following the maps and the small tips given to us from people who've been here. We found the Fragonard perfume shop for my sister-in-law. Went to the Lourve, took a tour of Notre Dame and had a great time at the Pompidou, their museum of modern art, which had a 30 year retrospective for its anniversary. We're also here in time for one of France's largest art sales, the Art Fair. The little bits of French I know are coming in handle particularly with the taxi and reading the art descriptions in the Lourve.

A few more days here before we head to Madrid. Just called my cousin up tonight to confirm. It feels like London was already a whole other world. And yet, the trip through Paris feels like it's going slowly even though the days are filled.

OK, j'y vais. Now to figure out which button says, "publish"

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