28 February 2010


IIII ) lllllllll Paris (24Feb10)

0016 Finally the clouds lift from Oxford, the day we leave. No bother, it was fun to visit this place in the rain, sleet and wind. We are three taxis and two trains from Paris. Hopefully we can catch up with our foul weather

0954 Well here we are in Gay Parii, and the first thing that happens to me is that my journal file on my phone goes corrupt and I lose all my notes from Oxford (luckily I have most of them saved on FB). We are lodging a few short blocks from the Louvre, and are about to go out on the streets for an initial explore, hopefully down to the river to catch the view. It's much warmer here than in England. It's getting close to dusk though, so we probably won't go full speed right away. Tomorrow we will really take-in the city

1016 Bone-Jerno! If you saw Brad Pitt trying to speak Italian in Inglorious Bastards, you have an idea of how Ki'naksaapo'p and I are fitting into France. A seamless blend, totally incognito. Ah-River-dercho!

1312 Musee Nocturne at the Louvre... we have been here several hours now. And wouldn't you know it, Mahoney got royal treatment again in the wheelchair. While others had to stand a ways back behind ropes to view the Mona Lisa, we were allowed to go right up in front of the painting. The Louvre is gigantic, but very open. Massive hallways, high vaulted ceilings, I prefer the clutter of Pitt Rivers. My overall impressions - surprised at how large most of the paintings were, bothered by the presence of sculptures that should have been left in their countries of origin, bothered again that we did not find any Gauguin, and curious about how I could have possibly come to be here. It's very strange

IIII ) llllllllll Amelie (25Feb10)

0037 Woke up to the sounds of cooing pigeons and French sirens, then made my way down to the street where I bought two tiny cups of "large" coffee for 6€. Found a stack of odd cuts of upolstery fabric that I brought back to the room, in case that lady would want any (she doesn't, but I'll keep a square as a souvineer). Now just waiting for Mahoney to shower-up so we can go have an Amelie day in Paris

0351 Took the Metro to Lamarck-Caulaincourt and hiked into the Montmartre, where we are presently having brunch in the Cafe les Deux Moulins, where Amelie worked. This neighborhood is great, very much the Paris I had hoped to see - winding roads up and down steep hills past open fruit stands, cafes, and chocolate stores

0435 One block away from the cafe, we find the Moulin Rouge, and the site of many "live shows" and souvineer shops, as well as the very wonderful Musee de L'Erotisme, six floors of erotic art from around the world. It may be a good thing that we travelled without in-laws this morning

0703 Went to meet Ki'naksaapo'p and Alvine on the bridge by the Louvre, but they're not there. Mahoney is staying back to wait and see if they show up, while I run to check at the hotel and, if nothing else, drop off our souvineers. Then it's either on to a boat or Metro train to see the Eiffel Tower

0808 Saw no sign of our companions at the bridge, and the gypsies tried to swindle me several times, so we crossed the river Seine and began looking for a Metro station. My poor Mahoney is losing steam fast in her legs. We've stopped at a brasserie for a glass of wine and creme brule. Just this cost us 32€... Paris is not cheap

1008 Somehow we managed to find our way to the Eiffel Tower. Now we have officially done Paris, and I have officially broke Mahoney. Her legs are completely shot. This is it for us, and we've been everywhere we hoped to visit anyway. As dusk approaches, we'll make our way via taxi back toward the hotel, stop off for dinner, and call it a night

1144 Sitting alone in a completely empty restaurant fetching a Palerme pizza to bring back to the room, where my poor Mahoney awaits, legs aching from our long day walking the hills of Montmartre and a good part of the River Seine. When they show me the pizza, there's an egg over-easy on top. We are so ready to be home now

1438 Taking it easy in the room, editing photos, hoping to pass out soon. If I'm able to get my images from Paris up, given the weak signal we have here, those who choose to view them should keep in mind, we did visit the Musee de L'Erotisme, and I was not shy about the images I captured there

1626 Going to bed feeling greazy. Ugh! I've got too much Paris on my skin. And I'm afraid of their water, just living off their grape juice and creme brule

IIII ) lllllllllll Platform 9 3/4 (26Feb10)

0007 Another rainy morning in Paris. Mahoney's feeling better, she wants to skip our showers and pack up so we can take another little walk before check-out. Which is fine by me, because I suspect we'll have to be in another country before we can really wash the grime of Paris off anyway

0123 Waiting for our last Parisian breakfast in a little cafe and having myself a good laugh at Mahoney's hair, which has become more and more giant, like Heat Miser, but she says I'm very mean to write about it. The countdown - 2 taxis, 1 train, 1 night in London, 1 airplane, and 1 rental car, and we'll be home!

0252 After breakfast, we walked around, passing through the food markets of Rue des Petits Carreaux, which would have been nice to have found earlier. Picked up a few last things, including a French postal bag for Mahoney. Next time we travel though, I'd really like to do it differently. It would be nice to stay somewhere off the main tourist drags and stay clear of trinket shopping. Just enjoy getting to know a different place for itself, and not for what it's serving up to foreign visitors

0454 We are at the Gare du Nord train station and have successfully passed through U.K. customs. We just bought two packs of French Gauloises blondes cigarettes, then I gave Mahoney our last thirty Euros, which she promptly dispensed of in exchange for hand creme and perfume

0510 We'd heard that the French are rude to tourists, but have found that to be far from the case. Anytime we've required assistance, people have gone out of their way not only attempt to bridge the language barrier and point us in the right direction, but often to lead us along and speak for us when necessary

0514 Another aspect of Paris that has left an impression on us is the attire of young women. The typical wear is dark tights with long shirts that serve also as skirts, and high boots. This looks far better, without appearing conservative, than the trend back home, where young women generally wear jeans that are too tight and low on the hip, elongating their bum cracks as far up their backs as possible. This crack is then publicly displayed, along with a healthy portion of gut, by the equally popular short shirts

0742 Currently in a bullet train, zipping through a tunnel under the English Channel. Lunch on the train was salmon and ratatoullie, a delicious chocolate-caramel tart sprinkled with gold dust, and vin de bordeaux. The attendant got quite a kick out of my request for "wine rouge"

0928 What a strange relief it was to arrive in London. Suddenly I felt no stress, not a care in the world. Even though we're still hauling a massive load of luggage, we are in no hurry to catch any particular transport. Moreover, we're in an English-speaking country. I never suspected I would feel so much relief to land on British soil. Mahoney and I walked across the street from St Pancras to King's Cross and found Platform 9 3/4 which we had looked for unsuccessfully before. They had a luggage cart there sticking half-way into the brick wall, so we took some pictures of ourselves there with it, and I assisted several young Japanese travelers in doing the same. Then we jumped in a cab to take us to Pattington station, where we can catch the Heathrow Express

1139 Settled in at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, which is very comfortable despite the fact that the lift tried hard to eat Mahoney. Having returned to the English-speaking world, I'm almost feeling like it's too bad we hadn't scheduled at least one full day to explore London. But on the other hand, we really can't wait to get home. Mahoney's so burnt-out, she moments ago confused our room's hair dryer for a vaccuum. In her defense though, it really does look like one

1358 We've definitely been spoiled by French cooking. Just had dinner in the restaurant downstairs - shepard's pie - and the best thing I could say about it was that it was awful... yes, that good. I couldn't finish my dish, and Mahoney barely ate a quarter of hers. We asked the waiter to please take it away. Then we tried to kill the bad taste with a couple pints of beer, but what they had on tap was nothing like what we'd experienced in Edinburgh or Oxford. Just more of the London nasty. Anyhow, back up in the room now, watching corny Indian soap operas and some short-movie called The Amazing Trousers. Going to take a shower and scrub away the Paris grime

IIII ) llllllllllll Going Home (27Feb10)

0021 The countdown - 1 shuttle bus, 1 plane flight across the Atlantic via the Arctic Circle, 1 rental car, and we're HOME! ETA approximately 18 hours until we walk through our front door. Please, please let our home be clean and quiet when we arrive (and not just the big mess shoved in a closet somewhere, Sheen)

0347 So far, so good. Packed-up, shuttled to Heathrow and checked our bags without incident. Now we're sitting in the lounge with almost three hours to wait before take-off. Watch a couple movies on the airplane, maybe catch a few Zzzzs. So relieved we're on the final day of travel, though I know all the arduous aspects will be forgotten in a month or two, and we'll begin plotting our next adventure

0849 In the air with seven and a half hours or so left before we land, I've watched three episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I'm dying for a cigarette

1112 This flight is dragging on forever. Still five more hours. You know how long that is? We're not even half-way done... Ugh!!

1131 When was the last time you saw Greenland? Mahoney and I are looking at it right now. I also highly recommend watching Whip It, produced and directed by Drew Barrymore

1602 Touchdown Mohkinsstsis!

2011 HOME... Mahoney's already gone to pass out on our bed, didn't even get out of her travel clothes. Dottie has got in her licks. Sheen opened the door for us, then went straight into her room to hide. And the house is in pretty decent shape, nothing an hour's worth of straightening won't fix. Soooo happy to be here