Saturday, May 31, 2008

Paris 2008 - 30 Mai

Vendredi - We started to make a special trip the the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, but Robb wanted to go to a bank to open an account. We walked down rue Maillard which becomes rue Mercoeur, to Boulevard Voltaire. Over Blvd Voltaire, past rue de Charonne to the BNP Paribas. Again we had to go through two doors. The second door does not open until the first door closes behind you (it's the same on the way out).

BNP Paribas is a strange bank. All the executive offices are on the first floor and the main banking takes place on the second floor. I'm chalking that up to being typically French. If there's a more complicated way to do things, they will find it and utilize it at evey opportunity. Mostly, it's amusing but I can understand how, for some people, it could be a huge pain in the ass.

BNP Paribas, as expected, told Robb there was no way he could open an account in Paris, or France for that matter. That's probably not true for a couple of reasons. First is the complication factor. Second is the fact that when a French clerk tells you it can't be done, it's impossible or just 'no', that is just the beginning of the conversation. But, Robb being the non-confrontational person that he is, will always say "okay" and consider the conversation over.

So we left the bank. It was too late to go to the museum and too late to have lunch at the tearoom. I suggested we could go to Monoprix and see what kind of luggage they might have. We found no luaggage at all, but did buy a bottle of cologne each. Considering the problems I'm having with umbrellas, I considered buying one I saw there because the one I just bought to replace the one I had bought in Toulouse, is already about to become garbage. I'd bet there's no more than another day or two of functionality, at most. We are used to things being made with built-in obsolescence in the US, but I expected more in France. I guess it just goes to show how much France is being Americanized.

We left Monoprix and wandered around the area for a while. We saw the police checking some guy's ID. There were three policemen but one of them was busy talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone. Then, I thought I saw a sundry shop down the street and we checked but it was just the sidewalk tables in front of a resto. We walked back to the apartment. I was again near exhaustion and took a nap for a couple of hours.

Around nine-ish, we walked down and got the bus to Place d'Italie. A person who read my Blogger blog, left a restaurant recommendation and we thought we might try it. It is Chez Gladines at 30 rue des Cinq Diamants in the 13éme, just a couple blocks off Boulevard Auguste Blanqui. From two blocks away, we could see that a crowd was collected outside the place. There was another resto across the street and that, too, had a crowd waiting to get in. Now, while that usually means the resto is good (or cheap), it also means that we probably won't be going there, because there are far too many good restaurants to wait to get into one.

We turned around and back-tracked. On the way to Chez Gladines, we had passed several likely looking places. We first stopped at a creperie, but decided against it since that was all they offered. We found a place right on the corner of rue des Cinq Diamants and Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, called Jardin d'Italie. There was an available table right next to the window and I had my eye on that, but the waiter suggested that we might be just a bit snug there between the tables on either side that were already occupied. He was right and we chose a table which still permitted us the view of the street that we (I) desired. I found the decor of the place to be fascinating. There was almost no square inch of the place that had not been painted with 'something', flowers, or leaves or abstract things. We began with pâté de compagne, that came with the crispiest, tastiest pickles I've ever had. Because of their deliciousness, they kind put the pâté on the back burner. I followed that with spaghetti bolognaise and Robb had veal marsala. The spaghetti was great with just enough spiciness to make itself known but not feel like your mouth is on fire. Robb,on the other hand, felt that his veal was not a good cut even though it was tasty. We partook of dessert. Mine was "three scoops of ice cream" (it was written in English). I chose vanille, café and pastachio. Robb had something they called "Kilmanjaro". I'm not sure what it was, but it appeared to be a rounded cake surrounded with chocolate sauce with whipped cream on top and a few dollops around the plate. Finished with café.

We had thought that we would take a taxi back to the apartment, but I was feeling up to taking the bus, so we walked back to Place d'Italie and caught the 57 to Gare d'Austerlitz. Unfortunately, I missed our stop and we ended up somewhere near Gare de Lyon. From previous experience, I knew there was a bus stop nearby, so we walked over there. After we arrived and were awaiting the 61, I discovered that we could have stayed on the 57 and it would have brought us to the same place. Okay, information for another time. Also, I forgot that since it was the weekend, the buses run until 01h00 or 02h00, I thnk. I know the métro runs later on the weekend.

Plus à venir, mes amis.

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