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Au Revoir, Paris

Sunday, April 29th, 2007


Hi all! Here’s an excerpt of a telephone exchange I had with my sister Janet today:
Me: Can you die from eating too many pastries? I think I’m having a heart attack!
Janet: It’s probably heartburn. Go take some Pepto.
Me: No, seriously, I can’t even stand up, my chest hurts so bad!
Janet: Put down the pastry and back away. Go take some Pepto.
Me: But I’m standing in a phone booth right across from a boulangerie! I can hear them calling to me from here. I can’t stop the voices, Janet!
Janet: You are insane.
Me: Maybe I better get a backup pain au chocolat for after I eat the one in my hostel room.
Janet: Goodbye, crazy.

And so it goes in Paris. I’ve made good on my intention to eat a wide swath across this city, and my tummy hurts. Thank God I leave tomorrow, because I don’t think my cholesterol count can handle it. This morning I took the Metro to a boulangerie I visited yesterday, found it closed, and had to eat the stupid emergency banana I had in my bag.

Well, let’s see, I got here on Thursday, made my way to my hostel in Montmartre, a very hilly area. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the secret shortcut and had to haul myself and my bag up about 100 stairs to get to it. Poor me. Went out for dinner on Thursday night at a lovely restaurant called L’Epi Dupin, which I tried to add a link to, but it didn’t work…

On Friday morning I went to the pastry school I was thinking of attending, though I couldn’t get a hold of the admissions lady. The dude in charge of the bakery program was nice enough to show me around though, and let me sit in on a class, where the students fed me ice cream, profiteroles, and French macaroons, which are little disks of meringue, usually filled with frosting, but in this case filled with sorbet. Me = in heaven.

The school is great, but it’s also mega-expensive. I think I was more in love with the idea of coming to Paris to study pastry than the reality of it, because while it’s a beautiful city, it’s also dirty, smoggy and very expensive. It’s such a romanticized place, but I’m telling you, I’ve never seen more cigarette butts and dog crap in one place. Plus it’s full of French people. JK!

Wandered around most of the day, as the weather was, and continues to be, absolutely beautiful. Went to the Luxembourg Gardens, the Latin Quarter, and generally walked till I felt like my bouncy castle leg was going to fall off. I think I’ve underestimated the strain all this walking would put on a cripple. Oh well, Kilimanjaro is out. Some pastry school dudes invited me to join them for drinkies and some jazz at a club near the Moulin Rouge; I should have taken a picture of the tourists standing in the traffic circle taking a picture of it. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and I think French beer = stronger than American beer, because I woke up on Friday with a splitting headache.

Not enough to keep me from my lunch reservation though; I even managed to have a glass of wine with the meal. Such a trouper, this one. There are many, many buskers on the Paris subway, who get on the trains and just go car to car, playing the accordion, violin, guitar, etc. On the way to lunch, a black man, wearing a suit and with hair dyed Tang orange, got on with his guitar and sang ”Hotel California” and ”My Way.” I gave him my change, but once again failed to snap a picture. You’ll just have to take my word for it – hilarious. (Guess which one of below posters I bought?)


Today I’ve done the culture thing and spent the morning at the Musee d’Orsay, which is jam-packed with Impressionist masterpieces, then wandered over to Notre Dame and asked some retard to take my picture, which he did – horizontally – and cut off half the cathedral. Foreigners. Managed to find an open boulangerie (one of the ‘must-visits’ on my list, no less), which helped ease the disappointment of the one this morning being closed. Dinner was a baguette with ham. I leave for Greece early tomorrow morning, but not before I eat the backup pain au chocolate (chockie croissant) that I have upstairs. Maybe I better get a backup backup for the road.