Sunday, May 25, 2008

Paris 2008 - 23 Mai

23 Mai (Vendredi) - We got ourselves ready and walked down to get the bus to Gare d'Austerlitz. Once we got there, we had our first encounter with a rude bus driver. A bus that should have been going to our destination arrived, but it indicated that it was going to a place we didn't recognise. I asked the driver if it was going Place d'Italie. Evdently he didn't like the way I asked the question and lied, telling me that it was not going there. We got off to await one that was going to Place d'Italie. Then we started thinking; wait a minute, it has to be going to Place d'Italie no matter where else it might go, so the driver flat out lied to me.

At any rate, we were getting a llitle tight on time for our appointment to meet Rhino at Place d'Italie, so I suggested we take a taxi. We couldn't see any taxi stands, so we determined that if we went into Gare d'Austerlitz, we would certainly find a taxi stand. We did.

Upon arriving at the taxi stand, there were at least four people ahead of us and the taxies were arriving rather slowly. It finally got to be our turn, when some old woman and her husband showed up and thought they were going to jump in front of us. When the taxi came, she tried to push in front but I elbowed her out of the way and we got into the taxi and took off. It didn't take us long to figure out how to handle the queue jumpers, of which we've encountered quite a few on this trip. probably because we're using the bus instead of the métro. And it seems to be mostly the women who are the perpetrators. The men pretty much just wait patiently for their turn. I suppose they've been beaten into submission by the pushy women.

We got to Place d'Italie in plenty of time and waited at the métro entrance for Rhino to appear. He was running a little late, but no problem, we weren't in a hurry.

While we were waiting, Robb was accosted by two Indian-appearing women who were selling some kind of paper about feeding the poor. He paid €2 for it and then immediately regretted it. He got into a mini-confrontation with them but it apparently ended with both parties laughing about it. He because he realized he had been had, and they because they, too, realized he had been had.

Rhino showed up and we started walking down to L'Oisive Thé. Even though Rhino and Aimee know each other, he had not yet been to the tearoom. In the tearoom, Rhino and I had Aimee's wonderful chocolate cake while Robb had a huge salad. We all shared a huge pot of very good tea. We chatted for about three hours, with Aimee joining us for a while.

Afterwards, we walked with Rhino back to the Place d'Italie métro station, on the way to which we saw this neat building just down the street from the tearoom, and then we caught the bus back to Gare d'Austerlitz where I walked to the Pont d'Austerlitz to get this picture of the metro pont (if it has a name, I haven't been able to find it, but it's between Pont d'Austerlitz and Pont Charles de Gaulle) and one of the backside of Notre Dame. As we were approaching the pont I noticed this interesting contrast between old and new. Then we got the bus to the apartment. We have started riding the bus all the way up to Pére Lachaise and walking back because it's downhill all the way and a lot easier for me to navigate.

Back at the apartment, we indulged in another bottle of champagne. This one was even less expensive than the last at €2.20. It was a rosé and really quite good. Wow, who would have thought? We have checked the prices for our champagne of choice in the US and found they are more expensive here.

Plus à venir, mes amis.

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