Tuesday, January 05, 1999

Navigating Paris at Night

London, England
I arrived in London, blew through customs, and caught the 0850 Gatwick Express to Victoria train station. The express ride was scenic...lots of greenery. I got McDonald's for food, since it was early for them, but late for me, and I needed nourishment. I hopped on the Underground which took me to the Eurostar departure station (Waterloo, if you care). This was kinda of interesting. The Eurostar people
  1. Don't take mastercard, so I had to put it on the AmEx (thanks Dad!)
  2. No Youth Passes until 1643 or something like that. Which means no arrival in Paris until 2000 something which means no Louvre.
So I decided to suck it up and get my Europass validated early and save some money (pass holders pay like 50-60% of the full fare). I was killing time just sitting around Waterloo station, remembering the last time I was here with Micah. On the train, I sat next to a girl from London who is studying/teaching art in France. It was nice to talk to her (I knew that good conversations in my language could be quite scarce for the next week). Two old guys behind us were talking about all sorts of stuff, even that tribe in Africa that communicates usings clicking sounds.

Paris, France
Gare Du Nord is a madhouse...and quite a large one. The Metro is easy to understand, but sprawling nonetheless. I tried to find the Sacre Coeur, but the map scale was off, so there were streets that didn't match up. It was much bigger than the map would lead you to believe.

The hostel  (Auberge Internationale des Jeunes) I arrived at rather easily, but I lost the deposit for my travel companion since he decided last minute not to come along. It's around 1816 monday right now, and I've been up since 0200 saturday here, with just a few naps.

I went out to find the What's Up Bar, but it turned out they were just watching some non-subtitled movie. My hostel roommates appear to be from Argentina. It's amazingly warm outside now. Time to find food. I walked up to Le Bistrot de Peintre (116 Av Ledru Rollin). My meal consisted of roast duck (about 69 FFr), and a glass of wine to go with it. The Bistro is Art Neauveau and I had a seat in the corner where I could watch the scooters go by. It's pretty surreal and everyone seems to be wearing black. I feel like people think I'm introspective when I'm writing in my little journal. Ha! That'll learn 'em.

There was a little white Cockapoo at the other table staring at me. People here dig dogs. The waiter brought the dog a bowl of water and when the dog jumped on another patron, the guy didn't seem to care. The ashtrays are an inch and a half deep. The duck with potatoes and cabbage is quite good. Bread, wine and water rounded out the meal. It's very cozy in here, and the voices of the other patrons form a background music of sorts as the pedestrians provide visual entertainment. Except for the lack of language skills and money, I'm pretty chilled out after the dinner hit me.

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