Friday, July 11, 2008

Paris 2008 - 5-6 Juillet

5 Juillet (Samedi) - Robb has been chomping at the bit to get back to La Défense, so we bopped on over to Nation to get the métro. For at least the fourth time, we had a problem trying to use our monthly tickets on the turnstiles. This time it was my ticket. The thing is, if your ticket doesn't work, you have to squeeze in behind someone else, and they're not always happy about that because they think you're trying to beat the system and get in without paying. But you can't use the same ticket twice at the same location. We've tried that both with mine to let Robb through, and Robb's to get me through. When we got to La Défense, I went to the ticket window and got a new ticket. I'll admit that it's not a problem to get a new ticket, but the point is, you shouldn't have to get one.

We wandered around Les Quatre Temps simply amazed at the number of people trying to buy out all the stores. Here's a shot of the escalier mécanique to the third floor. It is the time for the second annual sales event (Soldes). I didn't expect that much craziness at La Défense. And we joined right in. Actually, we only shopped in one store, C & A, where Robb bought a really nice jacket and I bought a pair of jeans.

We wandered around a bit more and then stopped at a bistro for a café. Twice, while we were sitting there, water poured down from some place. I never could figure out where it was coming from, but it was like someone had emptied a bucket. The first one was right next to two Japanese girls sitting to our left, who screamed in surprise. The second one was about three tables in front of us.

We left the bistro and wandered to the back of la Grande Arche, where we came upon another neat sculpture and a lot of very modern buildings. It had the feel of being in a science fiction movie.

When we tried to leave, it was Robb's turn to have a ticket problem. Fortunately for him, a young French girl let him squeeze in behind her.

We had dinner again at the Q Bar. It was quite crowded.

6 Juillet (Dimanche) - We had planned to take the 69 bus to Champ de Mars from which we would go somewhere to eat and then check out la Tour Eiffel after dark. But, of course, being in Paris, you can't make plans like that. Both of the buses we needed to get there were not running today.

Instead, we went for a long, long walk. Down Avenue Ledru-Rollin, with a few side trips to rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, during one of which I found this interesting place. Then, we caught the 61 to Pére Lachaise where we came upon a large crowd. It only took a few minutes to realize it was some kind of mobile soup kitchen. There were two vans givng out bags of food to anyone who got into the line to get one. Robb saw a guy with a shopping bag in the line. I took a picture and was chatised by a Muslim woman with a bag in her hand. It occured to me later that if I had been a TV reporter, she would had been the first to try to get her picture on TV.

You may have surmised by now that I'm not crazy about most of the Muslims in Paris. Whenever you go into the métro, the people you see begging are Muslim women. Their children think nothing of asking total strangers for money (Robb and I have been approached several times by them since we've been here). They just seem to have no shame when it comes to begging. I know it's not easy to get a job in France. but to come here with no intention of getting a job and just live off the state and begging in the streets, is wrong, and yet, that's exactly the impression I get of most Muslims in Paris. Okay, rant over for now.

After taking the picture, we continued up Boulevard de Ménilmontant to Boulevard de Charonne. We walked a few blocks and then started back toward the apartment. We did stop at the Petit Casino and bought orange juice.

Back at the apartment, Robb was having hunger pains so we popped open a bottle of champagne and spread out some crackers and pâté.

Plus à venir, mes amis.

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