France, Day 9: Paris

My time here is com­ing to an end, and I start to won­der more and more what the prac­ti­cal­i­ties are of me mov­ing here. Karin asked if I miss any­thing about home (before already giv­ing me one answer, my cat). I thought about it, and decided that I do miss days in my paja­mas where I sat around doing noth­ing, and the smell of my guitar.

creme caramel

 

Also, my cal­louses seem to be slowly dis­ap­pear­ing. I brought my Joolie my ukulele1, but haven’t had much of a chance to play, although Karin and I did try to do some Radiohead cov­ers together, with her on vocals. She even has a cavaquinho, a Portuguese pre­de­ces­sor of the ukulele, tuned the same way but four semi-tones up. It also has metal strings and a tiny, tiny fin­ger­board, which makes it extremely dif­fi­cult to fret.

curry chicken

Brochette de poulet au gin­gem­bre et citron.

mousse au chocolate a l'orange

Mousse au choco­late et à l’orange. It’s amaz­ing to find out how the drops of rasp­berry sauce play an impor­tant part in the taste.

The weather has always been in our favour. When it rains it absolutely pours, but only does so is short bursts. If caught amidst a down­pour, one can usu­ally seek shel­ter by a bistro and just wait it out. We’ve never had to worry about rain when doing an out­door shoot over a large area.

parking in Paris

I asked how some­one would get out of a sit­u­a­tion like this, and was told that some­times it’s nec­es­sary to “push” a lit­tle bit. I’ve even seen, quite often, cars parked lit­er­ally with both bumpers touch­ing the two cars they’re sand­wiched between. This is because some­times you can drive for an hour and not find a park­ing spot, so peo­ple just get fed up and wedge them­selves in.

That’s why it’s so rare to see a nice car in Paris, and there’s cer­tainly no ricers or mus­cle cars. If you want to take care of a vehi­cle you need to pay for a pri­vate park­ing spot.

faux-filet de boeuf

La for­mule du midi. Faux-filet de boeuf, avec sauce au gingerbre.

crème caramel

Crème caramel à la fleur d’oranger. Ordering off the lunch menu is gen­er­ally con­sid­er­ably cheaper, and you can choose between an appe­tizer and main dish, or a main dish and dessert. Karin and I always get the main dish and dessert.

Paris Metro tickets

Paris Metro tick­ets. The only thing in the world that I col­lect are tick­ets of var­i­ous kinds (con­certs, planes, movies, the­atre, etc.), usu­ally one of each, cause they all have an asso­ci­ated experience.

Féerie at the Moulin Rouge

Karin took us to a show at the Moulin Rouge, prob­a­bly the most touristy thing I’ll do here. It’s one of those things that most Parisian’s rarely do them­selves, as they often plan on doing it one day, know­ing they’re so close, but never get around to it.

It’s not assigned seat­ing, though the hall is sit­u­ated well enough that pretty much any­one would have a good view, just not nec­es­sar­ily as close to the stage. When you get in, an usher walks you around and shows you to a table.

The venue is a very wide with much of the orig­i­nal archi­tec­ture and old paint­ings still intact. It’s also filled with black and red accents, giv­ing every­thing a lux­u­ri­ous, indul­gent look. We had a bot­tle of cham­pagne on ice to our­selves, which we came close to fin­ish­ing (though Karin def­i­nitely did most of the work there).

Moulin Rouge

 

Neither of us had any idea what to expect, and it turned out to be a mix of things over a two hour show. Most of it was ener­getic can-can danc­ing, but in between was speed jug­gling, acro­bat­ics, and ven­tril­o­quism. The lat­ter por­tion was quite funny and the only part in English, though the ven­tril­o­quist spoke var­i­ous lan­guages, includ­ing Mandarin. He even had a dog come out on stage, wear­ing a mask that looked like a real dog mouth, only the ven­tril­o­quist could con­trol when it opened by remote so he could use the dog as a dummy.

You really feel like you’re wit­ness­ing both a piece of his­tory and an evo­lu­tion of the show, as each revue has a ten-year run and all the songs, cos­tumes, and dances are updated every decade. While not exactly a poignant or pro­found expe­ri­ence (and I don’t think it’s meant to be), it was a thor­oughly enter­tain­ing night.

Féerie

 

There were peo­ple of every nation­al­ity in atten­dance packed into the hall (we sat next to an Austrian cou­ple and a British cou­ple), and each dance in the show itself had themes from coun­tries all over the world.

Also, breasts.

Lots and lots of breasts. Probably more breasts in one night than I’ve seen in my life.

I had no idea most of the show was done top­less. At first it was strange to see that their dancer who spe­cial­izes in frol­ick­ing in a pool of huge live snakes also doing it half naked. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, mind you.

  1. Which got cos­met­i­cally dam­aged dur­ing it’s time in checked-baggage. To be expected, this wasn’t exactly an expen­sive instru­ment. []

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