Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Trip to Paris – Part 1 of However Many Parts I Feel Like Writing

The iconic Eiffel Tower (as seen through the lens of my iPhone): a giant-ass Erector set.

Jaimi and I went to Paris for 4 days. We just got back yesterday, after a grueling 17 hour trip – which included 1.5 hours at baggage claim. Long story short, I believe our luggage is still in Frankfurt, Germany, enjoying a stein of lager at the airport bar. But that’s a story for another day.

All in all, we had a great time in the City of Light. Yes, I was referring to Paris, France and not Paris, Texas. The food was excellent. The public transportation was efficient and relatively well labeled. The people were far less obnoxious than I had expected. And the croissants were way, way better than those at Dunkin Donuts.

I think there are a few observations worth mentioning, and then I’ll move on the details of our trip. I’m sure you’ll find it all very thrilling.

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, the French butter everything. The sandwiches are slathered with the stuff. The pastries are 80% butter by weight. The meat and fish are cooked in it. The ladies use it as a facial moisturizer. And the museums use it to preserve their precious works of Renaissance art. I’m pretty sure some of the buildings are held together with a mixture of butter, sand, and gravel.

In any case, it makes for a very delicious experience. Which brings me to my next observation. Croissants are perhaps the most crumb-producing of all pastries. The feathery layers of buttery, crisp dough simply fall apart in a melt-in-your-mouth avalanche of fine, lightly browned flakes. The shit gets all over the place. And Parisians eat these things all the time. So my question is, how do they clean up all the crumbs?

My sweater was covered with crumbs after just a few bites. It’s impossible to avoid. So what about a French office or home where numerous people are consuming croissants on a daily basis? Do dogs clean up the mess? Do they vacuum twice a day? Are the sexy French maids busy sweeping up crumbs with their feather dusters?

This remains a mystery to me.

A few other things:

- Many small dogs, but very few large ones. And yet, plenty of dog crap on the sidewalks. I’m no scientist, but I believe it is a physical impossibility for those little dogs to have produced solid waste of such length and width.

- Starbucks has the best coffee in the city – although not quite as bold as in the US - even if it costs 6 bucks for a grande.

- Cell phones seem to work in the subway. Either that, or Parisians love to talk to themselves while holding their phones up to their ears. I’m not sure which is more plausible.

- We bought a 1.5 liter bottle of water for 30 cents at Carrefour. I don’t know what was wrong with the stuff, because every other bottle of water was 2 euros for 0.5 liters. Were we drinking toilet water? It was hard to tell from the label.

I have many more details to relate about our trip, but it’s getting late. Again, it was a great time, and we really enjoyed the French hospitality. Paris is a marvelous city, and the French should be awful doggone proud of their capital

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