Friday, June 10, 2011

Day Two: 1664 white with a twist of lemon

June 1, 2011
Got up around 8 a.m., checked out, had another disagreement with the luggage room, and then had breakfast in the hostel.  Bread, butter, jam. small cup. real small. Met up with Claire downstairs around 9; we also met the two advisors from ESA, Claire and Gael, along with another girl on the FESIA trip, Megan. The now five of us headed out to conquer the Champs-Elysees via metro. Confession: I may or may not have fallen in love on the metro. He was blonde. Huge eyes. And had a great smile. He waved and flirted well. He was sitting on his father’s lap- must’ve been about three or so… complete catch. We exited the metro and ended up right in the middle of the Place de la Concorde: the area in-between the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe. First we went left through the Jardin de Tuileries and stopped short of the Louvre because we’re seeing that tomorrow as a group. We crossed the street to look at all the shops lining the Champs-Elysees. We found Angelina’s Tea Room (I’ll definitely be stopping there when I get back to Paris and meet up with Mitch). We arrived back at our original starting point by the Concorde, and set out towards the Arc de Triomphe. Along the way, we saw an Egyptian pharaoh and shortly after stumbled upon a film crew for a movie they’re shooting in Paris. We then got side tracked by the shops on the right, so we moseyed that way. #typicalgirls, amiright? We got sidetracked again at the idea of seeing Moulin Rouge, so we grabbed lunch at Julien, a sidewalk café. I had a chicken sandwich with a touch of really good horseraddishy mayo and a water; I think the girl gypped me out of a euro but maybe I can’t do math… let that one go- and again to the metro. Once aboard the metro, Claire found out that our stop to Moulin Rouge was under construction… we did a pretty big shuffle but we finally got there. Well. Not quite. We got a bit turned around (which isn’t bad for your first mix-up in Paris if I do say so myself).  We asked a police officer for directions- wrong police officer to ask- he couldn’t really tell us how to get to Moulin Rouge, but a nice lady did, so away we went. Before going there though, we took a detour to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmarte. It’s a huge basilique on the north side of Paris that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city. As we started our hike upwards, the five of us were solicited by street vendors “selling” string bracelets. We dodged most of them, but a persistent vendor followed me. After several “no, no thank you’s” and him assuring me that “if I didn’t like the bracelet, I wouldn’t have to buy it’s”- I 'was nice' and let him start a bracelet. Hannah forcefully told the vendor we had to leave, I agreed, and he took off the unfinished bracelet, smiled, and let me go on my way. Hannah was quick to inform me of their ploy: the vendor will begin to make the bracelet after gaining your attention, then tie it on you in such a manner that you can’t remove it- forcing you to pay for the bracelet… and pay substantially more for it that it’s worth. After that encounter, we stumbled onto another. A male duo was putting on an acrobatic routine on the first tier under the basilique. They stretched to some Fergalicious and then continued with their show- which gave me some good material for the routine Mitch and I will perform after we meet up in July. Lots of hat tricks. Stay tuned. After that substantial hike (and seeing a two-story carousel) we made it back to the main road and made our way to Moulin Rouge. Definitely passed a plethora of G-rated shops on the way there. Finally, we spotted the windmill and knew that we made it. Granted, I’m sure it comes alive at night rather than the middle of the afternoon, but it was still a sight to see. After, we explored a French Starbucks (even more expensive than normal. Ugh.) and hit the Juarez line to St. Christopher’s. Brandy and I grabbled some Swiss ice cream at MK2 after we got off the metro and checked in for the second time. Thank goodness the elevators worked today- yesterday they didn’t- because our room was lucky number 504 rather than one on the first floor. Allie and Tess were the first girls to arrive after us for the FESIA trip. The entire group was scheduled to meet at Belushi’s at 6:30 for dinner- where we got the official ESA introduction from Claire and Gael.  Our waitress, Izzy, suggested our group get acclimated to Paris in the form of a Jagertrain- I’ll conclude that topic by saying she is quite persuasive. After dinner the group retired to our rooms, then met downstairs again at 8:30. We went to Casino, a French grocery store, and everybody grabbed a bottle of wine to drink in a nearby park. Tess and I split a bottle of blush wine -which was great until you actually swallowed it, it had quite a bite. We all sat in a circle on the grass that overlooked the river and drank our first bottle of wine in France. However, it wasn’t for as long as we hoped. A sketchy French male caused us to end our rendezvous early, and we departed back to the hostel soon after. As everyone got back to St. christopher's, we ran into Izzy and had a pint with her (1664 white with a twist of lemon). Highlight of the night: we talked Izzy into letting us leave our mark on the hostel. Jake drew a TAMU sign on a dollar bill and Izzy hung it above the bar at St. Christopher’s. Called it a night at about 1 a.m.
Place de la Concorde

Moulin Rouge


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