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Wednesday, March 24, 2004


i've been in paris for 4 days now, and i'm still not quite adjusted to time zones here. We arrived at e's dad's hotel at 8am on sunday morning. as it turns out, most of paris decides not to work on sundays, and even if they do decide to work, they don't get up until at least 10am. e's dad took us out walking to the notre dame the luxemburg park, past the palace of justice, etc.

e and i were basically dragging the whole time since we were so jetlagged. we eventually sat in front of the the pompidou watching people walk through the habitrail like corriders along the outside and snacking on paninis and crepes. I bought a scarf because it's FREEZING over here when the wind blows. When I came out of the shop, the skies had gotten very cloudy. I went into another shop to look at really cool jewelry, and when I came out it was pouring rain. luckily, e and i had fit our humongous rain coats in my bag, and so we pulled our hoods on and ran back to the hotel where we collapsed for the next several hours before going out to dinner around 8pm at pied cochan or something like that. we ended up sitting next to a stanford medical professor/dean of med schools and his wife (small world).

---day 2----
the next day e and i hiked out to the eiffel tower and went up to the top and froze as we looked out on the city. after coming down, we went in search for lunch, and grabbed some tasty sandwiches and pastries at a bakery we passed. While we sat munching and shoeing away pigeons in front of the Seine, it started to pour, and we ran for the nearest train station. We ended up coming back toward home which actually is right above something called the Forum les halles (i think) which is a humongous underground shopping mall.

we walked around all the shops, and i went into H&M which I had read about on several lj communities (although I didn't realize it was a european store). the dressing room lady got pissed at me when she realized i couldn't understand which dressing room she told me to go into :( there was some cute stuff, but honestly, i had to keep in mind that the euro price is 1.25 times as much in US dollars.

e wanted to go to a vietnamese place we'd read about in the lonely planet guide book. we set out for the restaurant, only to find that sometime in the past two years since the book was printed, the vietnamese place dissappeared. we ended up eating in a japanese restaurant. apparently, cheese on sticks wrapped in beef is considered japanese food here... weird... and ultimately (according to e and his dad) gross.

i woke up at 6:30 am, much better than the 3 am the day before. I made e get up around 7ish and by 8:30am we were out on the street. We walked all the way across the city to the catacombs. we passed a multitude of amazing shops that were closed until 11am. We stopped in at a cafe to grab some espresso at the bar. The server woman got majorly pissed at us because we didn't speak french, and grumbled the whole time we were there.

honestly, by the time we got around the catacombs, we were ready to drop. also, we couldn't even find the entrance to the catacombs! it was this inconspicuous little building that we circled a couple times before realizing that was where we were supposed to head. we got in and had to climb down an itty bitty spiral stair case that felt like it went on forever! then we started our way to visit the bones. I actually got really freaked out on the way there because the hallways were barely lit and only large enough for one person to fit (single file in otherwords). e was too tall for the hallways and had to stoop the whole time. It was quite a claustrophobic experience. Plus, I kept worrying that there would be a power outage and we'd be stuck alone down there in a maze of dark damp rock and 2 million sets of dead bodies. *shiver* Actually, once we got to the bones, it was wider and much better lit so I felt much better. The bones themselves were amazingly artfully/efficiently stacked. Skulls were used as decorative pieces and would be lined up in cross patterns among the millions of leg/arm bones. We didn't see any pelvic bones, but there were large piles of bones that went 40meters back in some areas so they might have just been hidden, plus, I think tourists only go through a small part of the catacombs. Some of the skulls were very shiny, and you could tell people rub them like buddha's tummy. Apparently there is a problem with people stealing the bones for souveniers (god how freaky is that?) so they check bags on the way out (as a side note, they also check on the way in, maybe to check that you aren't a criminal bringing more bones in?). All in all, the catacombs were very interesting but very morbid (duh!). I think my mom would have hated to visit it. I'm still amazed that the french even bothered to think of uprooting 2 million bodies and stacking them underground like that.

ahh... tired, i'll blog about today later... when i get back home (to high speed internet as opposed to dial up) i'll post pics... including some from the catacombs... ttfn!


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