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August 10, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 11: Third Day in Paris

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Today, Jennifer and I wore out Paris. We got a ticket on one of those double-decker bus tours and road around the city twice. We also rode the Metro and the city buses all over Paris. I think Jennifer could go through the Metro with her eyes closed.

I tried to use a computer at the hotel to access the internet, but the computer keyboards are different in Paris, for some reason. I was trying to type something on a computer at the hotel and they words wouldn’t come out right and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, I looked at the keyboard and saw the letters were all rearranged. I was like “Oh my God. What’s the deal??

And the guy was like “Our keyboards are different. You use QWERTY keyboards. We use AZERTY keyboards.?

And I was like….?Oh My God. Are you kidding me? You mean someone didn’t rearrange these keys as a joke?? I mean, I can forgive the French for speaking a different language. I can forgive the Irish for driving on the wrong side of the road. But rearranging the keys on the keyboard? Is nothing sacred?


Afterwards, we tried to go and sit for some coffee. I’ve tried more than once to sit and drink a coffee at a restaurant on the streets of Paris, but I’ve not had much luck. Their idea of coffee and my idea of coffee are just too far apart. I want a big mug of coffee with some cream and sugar in it. Instead, I get a little Barbie Doll sized ceramic shot glass with 100 milliliters of creosote.

Then, they seat you outside next to a trillion other tables about nine inches apart and everyone’s smoking but me and I just think…this sucks. Everyone smokes but me and Jennifer and we’re wheezing and gasping for air and then the bill comes for my coffee and it’s four Euros fifty and I’m thinking “Christ. We gotta get outta here.?

Like, we should go to Paraguay or Peru where the dollar is still actually worth something. Somehow, I burned up the charger to Jennifer’s Nintendo DS with my electricity converter while we were in Ireland. So, we took the Metro to the Bastille today and bought her a new charger for her Nintendo. The good news is, we charged her game up. The bad news is, the new charger cost thirty Euros and only works in France.

We shopped at Notre Dame and, after it got dark, we started up the 710 steps up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. I turned to Jennifer and asked her “Are you sure you want to do this?? Like, as in, it’s only money. Let’s throw the tickets in the trash and try again tomorrow.

“No. I wanna go daddy. I wanna climb the Eiffel Tower.? And we did. Somehow, we did. Not all the way to the top, but probably about a third of the way. Crazy.

Afterward, we caught a cab ride back with a guy who was trying desperately to teach us French, with the proper nasal accent and all. He played a song about the Champs Elysees by Joe Dassin and has us singing the chorus.

Finally, we got it right and he yelled “Wahlaa!?

Jennifer and I don’t read the papers. We don’t watch much television. Mostly, we lurk the streets of Paris in search of the ultimate in French or Italian Ice Cream. The richest milk for sale. The best sucre donut. The freshest bread. The sweetest crepes. And ripe Mirabelles.

We have found beignets, but nothing remotely like what they serve at Café Du Monde in New Orleans. I’ve ordered Café Au Lait, but not been served anything like what we used to drink at Brassodi’s Coffee House on Magazine Street.

The French have been very good to us. In spite of what people say, most of them have been very kind. They speak our language and we don’t speak theirs. Jennifer and I try. We have our little guide book, and we try to say the right things. Sometimes, we get it right. Sometimes not. We have run into people that don’t speak English, and are short with us, but they’re the great exception.

This trip has been good for us – Jennifer and me. After fifteen months on the road, we needed some time to together. Her summer is winding down. After Labor Day, she’s back to school, it this summer will fade behind us like, blending with the summers before. So this was a last chance. A last ditch effort to spend some time relaxing together before the school system strips us apart.

Jennifer likes feeding the pigeons and riding the elevator in the hotel. She likes shopping and riding bikes and eating sucre donuts in the streets. She likes museums and art and history.

Yesterday, on our open bus tours, we passed the Place Verdome. The column was cast from 1,250 cannons Napoleon’s Million Man Grande Armee captured from the Austrians. And now, of course, she wants to know more about Napoleon.

I haven’t received a single cell phone call in nearly two weeks. (And I have a cell phone that I bought in Europe). I haven’t sent one text message.

Yesterday, Jennifer and I climbed through our hotel windows and sat one the roof eating sandwiches and grapes and watching the clouds go by. We discussed at some length what day it might be.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 10, 2007 at 5:30 AM

Comments

What a great summer trip! Hope to see more pics of Ireland
Viola,
Jill

Posted by: Jill on August 10, 2007 at 7:06 AM

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