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Published: March 20th 2008
Well, last time I left my readers I was finishing up my time in Thailand. Hua Hin was a great place to visit for all our needs and we finished up there with some skin diving and Mua Thai kickboxing. Actually, it was the kickboxing that occured first and caused some serious hangover problems for the snorkel trip -but those details aren't important. Well actually, they are because they're funny -I guess I changed my mind. T-Bone threw up over the side of the speedboat and James lay on his back in the water moaning for quite sometime, I managed to do allright and even had another beer with lunch. Judy and Larry somehow escaped the wrath of our endless rounds from the night before unscathed.
We all dreaded the return to Bangkok but at the same time looked forward to celebrating my aunts birthday. Upon our return, things were very rushed when we all realized we basically only had one day left before we all left to go our seperate ways. This meant, shopping, sightseeing, a birthday party, shaving and cleaning for the birthday party, last minute massages, flight confirmations and all other final arrangements that needed to take
An evening stroll in Sacre Coeur found this hidden little gem.
place. So, our last day in Thailand was spent in the weekend market, the MBK shopping mall (which is the biggest and busyest mall I've ever, ever seen), more shopping on Kho San Road (I wanted to end my life at this point) a stop for cigars at one of the Kho San Road bars where we successfully "smoked out" no less than one dozen patrons, and finally a birthday party. Since Judy and Larry had to leave at 7am or so to head back to Vancouver, the plan was to just stay up all night. That however, quickly fell appart when we were unable to secure reservations at our restaurant of choice, and in a fit of anger decided to have a "sit in" and order copious amounts of room service and finish several bottles of gin. Much success was to be had in that regard, though the food was not finished, even though I assured Judy that the tandem of Lush brothers were unstopable. Boy was I wrong. Though I'm sure she pushed us just to see what was humanly possible to consume, I honestly don't have time at this point to write out what was ordered, but
Tourist later got in line for what I was told an £80.00 show. Yes, this in fact the original though renovated.
can assure you that with no exageration at all whatsoever it was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 dishes. I did just great when I saw there was steak, I even ate all the fries that came with it. Sometime later when the sharp unforgiving pains errupted in what felt like nearly half my body and all that remained was fried rice I quietly rolled off my chair and started moaning in pain.
Because our hotel (James, T-Bone and myself) room was such a bag of rotten ass we decided to stay in Judy and Larry's suite on the last night, after they had left around 4am. While the hotel managers were really confused why we came over to wish our aunt and uncle goodbye, and then never left again until noon, the plan worked flawlessly.
After waking up and doing more last minute errands, I went out to the airport and boarded my flight onward. I arrived in Colombo (Sri Lanka) sometime in the dark, and left again hours later sometime in the dark. I'm not sure what time zone I was in or what time it even was. After hours in the airport pub with some
Died with the soul of an Indian.
people from my flight I stumbled to the departure gate and woke up someplace over Turkey. A few hours later I landed in Heathrow and with no trouble at all whatsoever I spent about 50 minutes on 3 or 4 trains (I lost count) and ended up in south Clapham, South London. I quickly headed to my cousins "flat" where she was conveniently awaiting my arrival (she had taken the week off work to work on her thesis). Still in a daze from the longest flight of my life and unsure what day it was, what time it was, or to be totally honest even where I was, we attempted conversation until it was decided I needed a shower and western food immediately. Aura took me to the supermarket down the street and I was quickly overwhelmed with food choices. She kept asking me what I'd like and all I did was shrug because I really didn't know. I hadn't seen food like this since Cape Town and since to be honest, everything looked great I didn't really know what to say. When I attempted to select some chocolate chip cookies Aura only said that those wouldn't do and told
Eiffel Tower -Secure
Though later when we got close there were in fact French soldiers with automatic weapons (at the ready) patrolling under the tower. Either way Frank and I did a hell of a job just 'protectin.
me there were better kinds, so trusting her those were added to the cart. Peppered roast beef, cheese, bread, crumpets, cookies, lots of milk, pasta and other things I almost forgot existed (well not really) all went into the car. Some 15 minutes later I sat on a couch, in a real "flat" and for the first time in quite awhile felt almost at home. I sat in silence eating milk and cookies. I think sometime later due to jet lag I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up realized I had a train ticket to Paris. Aura kindly had done some of my laundry and made me a sandwich for the trip. I walked out her front door and about 220 minutes later arrived in Paris only to find my dear old friend Francois there waiting at the end of my platform.
For those of you who have never heard of Frank, he travelled on and off with me in central America for about two months, primarily on our infamous adventure into the mosquito coast. Frank hadn't changed one bit, and he just got home a few weeks ago (from the same trip) and seemed
Eurostar platform pre-chunnel. Much like I picture the train stations in India sometime around 3042 AD.
to feel almost as out of place still as I did currently. At this point I almost forgot I was even in France until Frank started speaking French to people. We left my pack in some sort of locker and jumped on the metro a few stops further closer to central Paris. We got off at Luxembourg station and started the tour. What was in front of me was very strange, it wasn't at all like Asia (obviously) but it wasn't at all like home either. The garden (jardin) and palace (now the house of the Senate) had been the home of Louis the XIII's mom, the Luftwaffe and who knows what else. It started to sink in that every building around here had a rich history so I started just to enjoy it all and worry about the details later. Frank and I started walking, and walking and walking and walking. We saw the Notre Dame, a few other Cathedrals (one being the oldest in France I believe) some ruins from when the Romans were there, the outside of the Luvre, more jardins, more churches, more bridges, the sien, the opera house until my legs gave out and we
Parisan Social Circle
Gauche a droit: Frank, Virginie et Luc
took the metro south of Paris to Frank's appartment because he had an appointment with his plumber at 7pm (otherwise I'm certain we would have walked all through the night).
Frank's appartment looks like a total disaster zone because he's rennovating. This means we spent most of the time across the hall at his Dad's place. Frank's dad is great, in fact once I explained to him in my best French, that I really didn't speak much French and that he'd have to talk slowly, we began an extremely long and detailed conversation while Frank met with the plumber. He explained to me so much about France and was only interrupted occasionally with my strange questions in broken french. Interesting portions of the conversation included his absolute refusal to believe there was any cheese at all in England (until Frank heard this from the other room and explained that whatever cheese does exist there is all imported from France) and that he finds it strange the English eat such large breakfasts (this I absolutely agreed with). It was during this time actually that the long lost puzzle of my second language was dusted off and slowly pieced together. Any
The sign says it all.
words I forgot I simply asked Rene and on we went. On a final note, Frank looks EXACTLY like his father except of course for Rene's illustrious and magnificent mustache that is nearly the same size as Normandy.
In the morning I had my first genuine french breakfast, which I very much enjoyed. I drank about half a litre of Coffee (in a bowl) and half a baguette with a little bit of butter wich I joyously dipped in the bowl of coffee until I was higher than a kite from the caffeine. Rene explained that the French eat very small breakfasts, then larger lunches. He claims the English eat nothing but ordeurves for lunch which he personally frowns upon. Finally, I had my own personal epiphany as to why in french breakfast is called: "petit dejeuner" and lunch is called: "dejeuner" I always though it strange when I was kid and learned these words but finally some 20 years later it makes sense.
Fueled by coffee, and without Frank for the day I took the metro back into the heart of Paris and began my own personal tour of the city based off an ancient guidebook Rene
Where baguettes and cafe au lait grow on trees.
handed me from sometime in the 70's. Analyzing the map I determined a modest circuit that would see many sights and allow for a few baguette stops along the way. After about two hours of walking I realized I hardly dented the circuit and noted the scale. At this point I gave up and took the metro onward, but not without stopping to eat a baguette and an entire wheel of camombert cheese (which I suspected was the cause of my stomache problems later).
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