Saturday, July 3, 2010

Paris: Day 3

Joe told me I should write about our third day in Paris. I agreed, though I really don't remember any of it. Apparently I have the memory of a goldfish and I'm constantly distracted by Sparkles, my brand spankin' new engagement ring, and the memory of the salted caramel ice cream I ate earlier today and WHY AM I NOT EATING IT RIGHT NOW?

So. I just asked Joe to tell me/remind me what we did the last day in Paris. It went something like this:

We woke up lateish and I was distracted by diamonds for a long while. When I returned to reality I realized I was hungry. Very hungry. Joe and I headed out for another healthy breakfast of French pastries when my heart was abruptly shattered. It was Monday, apparently the day bakers decide to crush Americans' dreams of eating raspberry tarts in the morning. There weren't a lot of other cafes in the area by our hotel so we decided to take the metro to Saint Michel, a much busier area. And frankly, a nicer area in general. Our hotel was pleasant enough but was situated in a sort of French ghetto. Just a bit sketchy, to put it lightly. There was a hair salon every other store it seemed and the air was constantly perfumed with the sweet scent of chemical relaxer. Clumps of fake hair tumbleweeded the streets. On the bright side it felt like a great victory every time we came and went without being robbed. Or forcefully permed. I would blame it on Priceline but I think we really know who to blame: William Shatner.

When we arrived at Saint Michel, our blood sugar was perilously low and we sat at one of the first cafes we saw. I downed an Orangina, which I just discovered on this trip and are delightful. Part sparkling water, part orange juice, part orange pulp floaty bits = DELIGHTFUL! And by the way, you should know that I accidentally typed Organina on my first try and an organ flavored beverage does not sound so delightful.

I ate an enormous salad that came with toasts smothered in cheese. Camembert, maybe? The salad itself was unremarkable but the cheese, oh the cheese! Delish. I ate them all. Joe had um, something. Duck confit, he tells me. It was good, he said, but the skin was not crisp. Which is apparently some sort of sacrilege. We also shared "vegetable soup" which was actually French onion soup and thus more cheese was consumed. All in all, it was a decent and satisfying meal.

After lunch, I subjected Joe to shopping, which I always feel bad about. After about five minutes of shopping Joe becomes bored, panicky and grumpy. I think a part of his soul dies a little every time he sees a Nordstrom sign. Luckily Joe had brought along his Kindle, which made the process easier. So I spent an hour or two mostly window shopping, a favorite pastime. And Joe got to read one of his fantasy novels, his favorite pastime. I didn't buy much--backpacking makes shopping sprees difficult--but had fun anyway.

Somewhere around here Joe got hungry and he managed to find a Chinese restaurant. Joe loves Chinese food and I wasn't really hungry so Joe won. Surprisingly decent Chinese food, which I did not expect to find in Paris. Joe forgot to pay the bill before we left until the waitress called after us on the street in a panic. Poor dear.

This part gets particularly hazy. I think we went back to the hotel to pick up our bags. We had checked out of the hotel that morning but left our backpacks while we wandered around. That evening, however, Joe had signed us up to attend a wine tasting before realizing it ended soon before we were supposed to catch a night train to Barcelona. Not wanting to waste time going back to the hotel after the wine tasting, we hauled the bags to it instead.

The wine tasting was thankfully in English and thankfully enjoyable. I rarely drink unless the drink tastes like liquid candy. And in most cases, I just want candy. But I do like white wine now and then and know pretty much zero about the process. The French sommelier was quite charming and funny and led us through the tasting of a variety of wines. We tasted six wines in all. Joe could probably list them all for you but I don't really care. I liked the champagne and the first white wine we tasted. There was another white followed by three reds, all of which tasted somewhat like licking an oak barrel. Sophie and tannins are not friends. However, it was a really fun experience and Joe took care of any leftovers I had. I recommend! Though I do not remember the name of the service! Memory of goldfish: activated.

From the wine tasting we traveled to the train station with plenty of time to spare. In fact, I believe we sat at a cafe at the train station to kill time. Eventually we found the train and our sleeping compartment. It was "cozy".

The cabin itself was nicer than I had feared, having never seen that arrangement before. The beds were tiny and bunked but we did have our own little sink, vanity and complementary toiletry kits. I love complementary toiletry kits! Joe promptly took an Ambien and fell asleep and I decided to read instead and fall asleep naturally. I usually fall asleep promptly on trains or in cars but it was not so on the night train: occasional lurches, banging of other passengers and the lovely screeching of the train fighting the train track prevented me from more than dozing. I gave in and took half an Ambien at midnight and promptly fell asleep. You win again, Ambien!

Of course I didn't get the required eight hours of sleep necessary to resemble a normal person after taking sleeping pills so I was more or less a zombie for the next day or so. Which means I remember less than I normally do. Alas. Moral of the story: all night trains should provide complementary sleeping pills in their complementary toiletry bags. The end.


  1. Sophie, You and Joe are such great writers, I think you should pen a travel book together. Of course, what do I know, I'm just the mom/to-be mom-in-law.

    And Sophie, this is how good you are. When you mentioned ice cream, I got up and walked to the freezer for ice cream. When you mentioned cheese, the frig. Please don't mention liver.

  2. I agree with the above comment. You two are great writers. I am thoroughly entertained thus far.

    Also: congrats on the sparkly diamond. It's beautiful!