Monday, June 15, 2009

9:47 AM Frankfurt Time- Lufthansa Seat 15 A (Window Seat!!)
Here we sit, waiting for the take off of our second, and last, flight of this leg of the journey. We are going from Frankfurt to PARIS!!!!! I still don’t think it has really even hit me yet that we are going to be in Paris in a mere hour and a half.
Sleep on the last flight was nonexistent. Between Nick Ramsby’s insane, coffee-driven antics, our own crazy laughter, the discomfort, and the heat….yeah, sleeping was basically impossible. Uggg, I’m so tired and yet terribly awake.
The flight attendant says we’ll be there in 50 minutes. Our engine revs, and here we go. I’ll write more after taxi/take off.

8:40 PM Paris Time
Yes, Paris time!! When we landed in Paris around noon local time, it was rainy and grey. We retrieved our luggage and met our Tour Director, Luis Garcia, outside the gate at Charles De Gaulle Airport. He led us to our bus and so began our first day in Paris.
Memories of the trip to Italy came rushing back to me as we rode along. Seeing all the modern structures of Paris disappointed me as the modern structures of Rome did two years ago. All the skyscrapers seemed garish compared to the way I imagined the city: old and dignified.
We got to our hotel (Hotel Itinerere) in the Nantarre region of La Defense (which is a modern part of town slightly removed from “Old Paris” as Luis calls it). We stowed our luggage in this security room in the basement (after Tomas and Reanne got “taken” by the evil receptionist). After all that was taken care of, we walked to the subway station which is only two block from our hotel. We traveled via subway to the most famous street in Paris, the Champs Elyisse with the Arc de Triomph at its head.
I was in heaven: designer shops littered the sidewalk like it was a common thing. Louis Vouton, Cartier, Lacoste, and so many others! It’s such a different lifestyle. Everything was outrageously priced and it seemed like the people in the region were fine with it. Such money and wealth! I cannot even begin to imagine how dropping 10,000 euros on a purse will ever be okay in my life. That’s approximately $15,000!!! I was so dazed. The rain continued.
We explored the area for two hours. In that time Jacob, Kera, Bubba, and I ate at Hagen Daas, went in to the Louis Vouton shop, the Toyota design and concept shop, Lacoste, Marlboro Classics, and some random ones.
The biggest event of the afternoon for me was going to Ladureé, the most famous pastry shop in all of Paris. The four of us split a rose-flavored raspberry pastry tart thing. It was unearthly. Words cannot even describe it. There was such artistry in the production of such a food. It was as if each piece had been slaved over individually for hours. And maybe it had been! Such attention was paid, I’ll tell you that much. I’ve never had anything like that in my life and I doubt that there will ever be anything to quite compare.
We headed for dinner around 5 PM. The Restaurant (La Balonce) opened at 5:15 PM and served us chicken, pastry with cheese, potatoes, and an apple pie thing. It was nothing too special.
All I wanted to do was head for our hotel and sleep. Lucky for me, that was what we did next. After a long subway ride “home” from the restaurant, we were all assigned rooms.
I am in room 431 with Kera, Ashley, and Jessica. Our room is quite scary. I keep telling myself, “You are in Paris! It’s fine!” in hopes that it will make the grossness of our room better. So far, I am sadly unimpressed of the city itself. Our hotel room is cruddy, the city seems terribly dirty, and it smells like urine everyplace we go. I don’t want to dislike Paris!!!!
Tomorrow is definitely another day. One with the promise of the Eiffel Tower!!


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