Location: Mon lit (I think that means my bed..)
Currently Listening: Sondre Lerche's Two Way Monologue
Weather: Still Foggy -3C (27F)
Fun finds on the Metro:
1) Watched a guy roll a joint
2) An old lady was carrying a shopping bag for "D'Shop The Hip Hop Shop."
3) A man was jamming out to some really loud(like filled up the platform) Middle Eastern music off his cell phone... I kind of wanted to shout OH HOT DAMN, THIS IS MY JAM! (Yay, Flo Rida)
RATP (Paris transport) has a website: www.ratp.com which has a trip-planner that will figure out the fastest way to get from one address to the other, or with the least transfers or shortest walking distances. Oh, and the RATP works can totally show up randomly and ask you for your ticket. They were checking them this evening and I almost couldn't find the one I was using. Word on the street is that there are some serious consequences for being caught without a ticket. Don't plan on finding out what that entails...
Spent a lovely afternoon in the Louvre today. I really do not care for the Pyramid. I think it just covers up the architecture of the main building, which is absolutely magnificent. I loved peeking out the windows on the higher floors to take a closer look at the carvings. We didn't have time to see too much but the sculpture gardens and the Italian and French paintings. I'm still amazed by the process of sculpting stone and working with such a large stone slab. One look at those statues will leave any person stumped. As my parents and I walked around we passed by several artists (one looked about 8 years old) sketching various pieces of art and felt a certain lack of skill within ourselves. I can't remember who my mother was quoting when she said to lack skill is a sin. I pretty much vary from terrible to mediocre in regard to all things creative (obviously not a question of level of appreciation, but simply of the task of doing such). I need to pick something I know how to do and learn to excel at it (I did not go to finishing school like my oldest sister).
At night, we strolled down Champs Elysse. All the trees are beautifully lit this time of year. We actually stopped at....STARBUCKS. Yes, I understand it's a crime to go to Starbucks in Europe, but I have been desperate to find some soy milk (otherwise I have to live without my breakfast staple oatmeal). I am really worried about not getting enough protein since I can't find tofu or tempeh or bean sprouts or chickpeas or lentils. So far all I've got are hummus and dairy products. Anyway, I was actually able to order a soy hot chocolate! Yay. I overheard the cashier telling the barista to make a Soja Chocolat and was able to find out that Soja (soy milk) can be found at Mono Prix (that crazy huge grocery store). FTW! ( That was for you, Paddy). Guess what they sell at Starbucks. Yes, that's right for 2 Euro 50 you can get three mini pancakes. Apparently they eat them cold with caramel or chocolate syrup. Strange, but truly resemble American pancakes (except in size). Obviously everything is smaller here, especially the people. Sorry, but fat people are a rarity. C'mon America get with the program. Exercise. Eat smaller portions. Stop being so sedentary! I know they use cream a lot here in foods, but it's still much less in saturated fats than dairy in the U.S. Foods are just more natural and healthier overall, but really it's the small quantities that make such a big difference.
For dinner, we went to Dragon Elysse a second down a cross street of Champs Elysse. It was like Circuit City meets Las Vegas meets aquarium. There were lots of flashing lights and red metal railings and staircases and the floors were glass atop pools of fish swimming around. This chinese/thai restaurant wasn't any different all of the other restaurants in Paris that just don't seem to be aware of vegetarianism. The long menu had 2 dishes that appeared to be végétarien, one of which I ordered but ended up having shrimp despite the waiter's confirmation of no meat. Oh, and our spring rolls also ended up having, meat. Did I mention we still had to pay 9 Euros for the spring rolls we couldn't eat? Yay. The dish of chinese broccoli and green beans was quite tasty though! Another thing you'll find is that making substitutions is really American culture so don't bother trying especially if you barely speak French. And you won't find tofu on any Asian restaurant menu or fortune cookies. I honestly couldn't care less for fortune cookies. I only ever read the fortune. I think society is better off without them. No one needs the extra calories after finishing a meal. It's really a waste of paper and plastic! Okay, the tree-hugger is done talking.
Trying to get home on the Metro was a disaster. Dad and I tried to take a train home, but when we got to the station all these strange French announcements were being played on the loudspeaker leaving us English-speakers worried. We tried to board the train, but every single person got off the Metro and they turned off the lights - we knew something must be really wrong. The sign still read another train coming in 7 minutes, but they made yet another announcement and slowly just about everyone was heading to the Sortie (exit). We found a RATP (Paris transport) worker and found out that our line was closed off for the next few stations (including the one next to my apt) and would have to walk home. Someone had fallen under the train...
Walking home was difficult. We couldn't find a street map, and didn't know how to ask for directions since know one knew the small street I lived off of.. We found a few young girls who knew how to get to Saint-Sébastien - Froissart station (which I know how to get home from) and sent us down in the proper direction on Rue du Temple. Unfortunately, the streets in Paris are mostly confusing. Every block the streets fork and you have to keep checking to make sure you are still on the same street. Every passing minute the confusion mounted as the temperature dropped. Finally, we saw a cab that came to our rescue and took us home safely. So glad. Note to self: Never leave home without cab money, street map, and back-up plan!