Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Part 5

After our adventure at the Eiffel Tower Tori and I meandered around the area and found ourselves at what we thought was a museum. As I was standing in line to buy a "Coke Light" Tori noticed that there were little kids on bicycles and people with dogs on leashes. She asked me when was the last time I said..."let's take the dog to the museum!" Obviously I have never taken the dog nor have I ever taken my kids to the museum on their two wheelers. After asking a kind stranger to help us figure out which coins were Euro coins and which coins were pounds*..we also asked them where we were. The site was a theater, not a museum. I'd like to say that it all made sense at that point but I don't understand why there were dogs and bicycles at the theater, either.

It had been sprinkling all morning but at this point the skies opened up and it poured for about 20 minutes. We didn't let the rain slow us down and we walked for several miles. I finally found a shoe store and gladly traded my sandals of death for a new pair of Nikes. My feet hurt so bad at that point that I would have traded my car for these shoes. After I got done paying them and calculated Euros vs American dollars I decided that it probably would have been more cost effective to trade my car for the shoes.

As we were walking through a park, heading back towards the Eiffel Tower to pick up our Segway tour group, we both noticed an awful smell. We both commented on the stench and then discussed how odd it was because Paris is a spotless town. There are people cleaning the streets and sidewalks at all hours of the day and night. Usually the only thing you can smell is bread baking...but this smell was not of the baking variety. The further we walked the worse the smell. "WHAT IS THIS GOD AWFUL SMELL!!!??", I said rather

(The man was standing in the far right hand corner of this structure when we saw him.)

I tried to re-group and walk in another direction and put my attention on what looked like a huge bird cage
and I said, "I wonder what this is?"...and without missing a beat Tori said, "It's probably the shitter! Let's get out of here!!" I don't know if this is one of those moments that you had to be there but I started laughing so hard I thought I was going to cry. I could hardly stand up. Tori was half way down the lane on her way out of this unexpected public restroom and I was paralyzed in hysterics. Even as I write this it has made me laugh out loud. (I hope this little blurb didn't offend anyone but actually if it did, then you are probably reading the wrong blog.)

We met up with the Segway tour group and signed our life away. There were waivers to sign, insurance papers to sign, deposits to sigh, etc. I was very surprised to see just how small, (and messy) the store front was.

Just beyond the "Fat Tire Bike Tours" sign they had about 40 Segways. The tour guide picked out a Segway for each person in our group and then we all had to be fitted for helmets. I realize how helpful helmets are and that they've probably saved many people from concussion and contusion however I really hated the idea of having to wear a used helmet. Who knows how many cooties were breeding in these helmets. I didn't notice anyone spraying the helmets with Lysol upon being turned in.

I bit the bullet and put my helmet on and went out to the Segway training area:

I was the first one in our group to get to try my hand at riding the Segway and I was scared to death that I was going to fall off of it, break my teeth, twist my neck and break the Segway in to pieces. I am so happy to report that it was actually easy peasy! Within moments our whole group was whirring around the training ground doing figure 8's and stopping on a dime. We even learned how to go backwards and how to go over rough terrain and up and down curbs.

We had more fun than a barrel full of monkeys when we were riding on the Segways! We rode past every monument and museum in a 10 mile radius from the Eiffel Tower. We crossed the Seine River, we saw the Louvre, the Musee De Orsay, Napoleon's military school, ..we saw the top of Notre Dame.

I hesitate to mention that I managed to back my Segway into a trash dumpster. Our group was stopped at a red light and a mob of people were jockeying for position on the corner and I was trying to get out of their way. The only reason I didn't wreck the Segway is because I hit the corner of the dumpster with my spine. No damage to the Segway, I can't say the same about my spine.

At one point we were going down this huge street with green beltways on either side and there were groups of kids playing soccer regardless of the many signs that told them not to. Someone kicked a ball and it wound up in front of Tori's Segway. I thought for sure this was going to wind up UNDER the Segway but instead the Segway just pushed it ahead. It bounced out from in front of Tori's Segway and then got caught between the wheels of my Segway and hers. We were going fast enough that the force just kept the ball going. At first it annoyed me that the ball was in our way but then when it didn't cause us to crash I just screamed, "GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL" and put my fist up in victory!

This was a beautiful cut glass street lamp.

This is the Jardin des Tuileries. There are no vehicles of any sort allowed in here so we had to get off of the Segways and pull them behind us. They didn't allow bikes to be ridden, either. This resulted in a a beautiful, quiet, serene late afternoon snack in the park. We had crepes with chocolate and banana inside and they were gooooooooooood.

This picture does no justice to this park. There were English flower gardens all over the place and I couldn't help but think that it must have been gardens like this that inspired the impressionist artists from 100 years ago.

Stay tuned for the next episode where Tori and I actually get to go INSIDE of a museum!

*In case anyone goes on a vacation to Europe...please note that the queen's face is on all of the English coins. Her face does not appear on the Euro coins.



Blogger Kathy said...

You are great! Too funny about the Euro v. Pound coins (beer tokens) :)

11:18 PM  
Anonymous mina said...

Love the photo of the two of you on your Segways in front of the Eiffel Tower!

5:10 PM  

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