How to Impress the French

Sitges – June 13, 2013

On the recommendation of Jason and Georgina, I came to Sitges to spend a couple of nights. It’s a small bohemian beach town about half an hour south of Barcelona and it is adorable! It happens to be Gay Pride weekend here so you can imagine the dancing in the streets!

Anyway, I was having dinner by myself last night and these two French women around my age sat at the table next to mine.  After a little while, one asked me in very broken Spanglish if I was traveling alone. None of us spoke a common language well enough to communicate worth a flip so we proceeded to have one of those very animated conversations where you act out your story. When I said I was from Texas, Delphine kept pretending to pull out a pair of Colt 45 pistols from her imaginary holsters and shoot me. Ugh, the stereotype (tongue in cheek).

It was an exhausting conversation so I decided to show them some pictures of Chulila and the impressive canyons I had just come from. I zoomed in on a rock climber and they were very impressed. It wasn’t until a little later when they were being so damn nice to me and eyeballing me in amazement that I realized they thought I was the rock climber. As soon as I realized the mistake, I zipped my lips and let them believe it. Honestly, it just would have been too hard to explain.

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If you look really closely, you’ll see a guy in an orange shirt climbing this cliff

On Paris

On Paris – 15 July 2011

Bastille Day ParisIt’s Friday morning…an utterly gorgeous day in Paris and I’m beyond exhausted.  Delirious is more like it. I’ve been gone for 11 days now and I think I’m ready for my own bed. I want to tell you all about this trip, but I’m going to make it easy and point out the highlights…

  1. I celebrated Bastille Day in Paris yesterday. We wore berets. Nobody else wore them. We’re pretty cute girls but every French guy that talked to us only had eyes for Matt.Berets in Paris
  2. Mid-July is the highest point of high season in Paris. If you want IMG_1683to see any major site or museum, you must rise early and get there when it opens. This requires you to go to sleep before 2am. I’ve seen very few sites in Paris.
  3. I’ve been inside one monument. It’s called the Pantheon. I’ve never heard of it before.
  4. I’ve not laid eyes on the Louvre but I did take pictures of the line to get into Notre Dame.
  5. I went to the medical museum. Oddly, there was no line.  It was a beautiful space in a building at the university around the corner from our apartment.  It was creepy and made my IMG_1513tummy hurt.
  6. We rented a golf cart to cruise around Versailles.  It’s big enough that you actually need a cart. I immediately got into trouble as follows: 1) I parked the cart in the tram lane and then hit the side mirror of the tram when I tried to unwedge the cart. 2) I went down an unauthorized road. Twice. Both times the cart completely stopped and a woman’s recorded voice advised me to put the cart in reverse and return to the authorized path. We still don’t know how that worked. 3) I was over an hour late turning in the cart. The cart guy was pissed.
  7. If you screw up in Paris, say “I’m sorry” in Spanish…it will go over much better. Lo siento! Lo siento! Lo siento!
  8. Don’t buy a metro pass if you prefer cabs. We spent 15 minutes jacking around with the subway ticket machine, rode it once and then spent the next five days in taxis.
  9. Don’t bring cash to Europe.  The 3% your bank may charge you is better than the exchange rate on the street.
  10. The plastic container in the fridge is to store cheese.
  11. The Latin Quarter in Paris is not Latin as in sexy guys from Mexico or Argentina. It’s Latin in the language context and is where all the university students live.
  12. Taxi drivers and cops in Paris are really nice. Waiters are not. (update: waiters and service people in general are lovely once you get outside the touristy areas.  If I had to deal with that many tourists every day, I would probably be an asshole, too.)
  13. Take a walking food tour. Was the best money I’ve spent in Paris. Corrine was a blast and her friend does the same type tours in Italy. You’ll learn so much. Like, you’re not IMG_1541supposed to eat your meat and cheese from the same plate or at the same time. Cheese and meat are just like wines…their flavors are determined by the region in which the livestock is raised. Pair wine and cheese from the same region. Slurping your wine is not impolite. It helps to arriate the wine. So much more to tell, but just do your own tour here: http://www.vacationsandlifestyle.com/paris02.html
  14. I can’t believe I’m not going to make it to see the catacombs.
  15. The Thai massage place around the corner from the Moulin Rouge may or may not be a good idea.
  16. The Moulin Rouge still has performances.
  17. After too much champagne, Matt might advise you to start speaking with “legible sentences.”
  18. There are no good French bands hired to play the Bastille Day concert at the Eiffel Tower. Seriously, none.
  19. There is no need to pay for a gym membership if you’re planning to visit Paris for a week and stay in a flat thaIMG_1604t’s on the fourth floor. With no lift.
  20. Tourist maps lie.
  21. I could live on crepes and escargot. Not kidding…like, if that was the only food available, I could totally survive (although I’m not sure which catastrophic event would leave me with only these food choices). Um, maybe I would survive if I also had champagne.  And coffee.  And Mexican food.  Ok, so I probably need other food, but seriously, I can eat the crap out of crepes and escargot.       IMG_1755