Friday, June 27, 2008

Paris, and six months of travel come to a close.

Well this will be the last post from my travels.
I have been almost six months on the road and tomorrow I am heading home.

How was Paris?
Paris is beautiful. It lives up to all expectations. The people are kind and not at all snobby, in my experience anyways. The city is what is reports to be, as pretty as its pictures and as alive with culture and conversation as it has been since the enlightenment.
I can't possibly give you a run down of my days here, but here are some short notes:

- The biggest culture shock;
-yellow haired people. So many blonds!!!
-public displays of affection, very intimate displays of affection and of all age groups. Yup, I watched a middle aged couple heavily making out in the park yesterday. And coming from India, just holding hands with a member of the opposite sex is a big deal.

-The most surprising:
-my reaction to seeing the Mona Lisa. I was completely transfixed and this really surprised me as I haven't been a big fan of the painting. Her smile is still annoying, it was more the complexity of the painting, particularly the lower half, that held me. It was not the experience I had expected.

-The most beautiful:
-the streets and their beautiful apartment buildings.

-The funniest thing:
- All the pink-skinned people. All the fair skinned people who have come to Paris for their first vacation of the summer and put on their summer dresses and skimpy tops and neglect sunscreen. These white people then become pink and red and they are everywhere!! So many in fact it is like an epidemic. Very funny to see.

-Most delicious thing:
- Pan au Chocolat. When fresh and warm, this French treat is everything that is sinful and everything that is wonderful in the world. It is really best eaten in private.

-My favorite area:
- Paris 6 - St. Germain neighbourhood on the Left Bank.

-My favorite place:
- hard to say, I haven't spent enough time in the city, but as of now, probably the Luxembourg gardens.

-Most disappointing thing:
- The Musee Rodin had its vast garden closed to set up some private event. I got to see the sculptures in the main building but missed out on all the ones in the garden. I was very sad.

-Most embarassing:
- No not my traveller's fashions, it was my lack of French.

-Most delightful thing about Paris:
-Multicultralism in French. I have travelled to many countries all over the world but my travels are in English and my experiences of other cultures is through the native tounge of the area and through English. Paris feels as multicultural as Toronto, more so even than New York, and everyone of all racial and cultural backgrounds speaks French. For me this is very new and exciting. Every day this delights me. I love that my Japanese waiter speaks French and no English, and that the Reggae guy playing music in the train station sings and thanks financial contributor in French.

-Sights visited (not just seen from ourside):
-Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Louvre, Luxemburg Gardens, Musee Rodin, Pantheon, Versailles, Eiffel Tower (I did't go up), Tuileries Gardens, Pont Neuf.

-Sights on my list that I missed:
-Picasso Museum, Moulin Rouge, Monte's Gardens, Arc de Triomphe ( I did see it from afar), and the Catacombes.

-The Best thing:
- Being constantly mistaken for Parisian and asked for directions.

-The Worst thing:
-Being constantly mistaken for Parisian and having to reveal that not only am I not Parisian but I don't speak a word of French.

There is so much more to this beautiful city but I can't put it into a blog entry.
Constance has been a kind and generous host, even though this is her exam time and a visitor is the last thing she needs.

Tomorrow I head home. It seem surreal. Tonight Constance and I had a picnic on the foot bridge over the Siene- wine, baguette, cheese, and strawberries, tomorrow I will have dinner in New York (in the airport) and Saturday morning I will wake up at my cottage to a smoke salmon breakfast (hint hint, nug nug). My cloths smell of India, my hands are covered in henna designs. My body has no idea where it is in the world or what time it is.

So I sign off for these adventures. I will continue to post.
Thank you for following my adventures.


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