Thursday, August 28, 2008

Part 6

After our big day of shopping and running around Paris on Segways we were exhausted. We dragged our weary selves back to the Hilton and I told Tori that I wanted her to see "Inspector Clousseau". (The bar tender in the hotel bar. I had seen him last year and hoped he was still employed there.) I was very happy to see that he was still holding down the fort and was still the same very stereo typical French man that I remembered. Tori and I perused the drink menu and I immediately found what appeared to be the closest thing to a chocolate martini and I ordered it. Tori ordered the same thing but Clousseau was trying to tell her that wasn't what she wanted. This would have been interesting banter if we understood French or if he spoke English but since he didn't and we didn' was a bit of a challenge. He pointed to a drink on the menu and was touting it's superiority. Tori decided to take the path of least resistance and she agreed to order what ever it was that he was suggesting.

Clousseau returned to our table with a huge martini glass containing something that looked nothing like a chocolate martini and in the other hand he had a very festive, multi layered, girlie girl drink. I tasted my drink and it was very, very yummy. Tori was still inspecting her drink trying to figure out what was in it when she looked at me and said, "Well, color me happy...this drink has chopped up mint leaves in it!" To know Tori is to know that she equates any form and any type of mint with poison. I laughed and laughed at her misfortune and then I traded drinks with her. I have no idea what sort of alcohol was in this beverage but it had crushed raspberries, mint leaves and lots of ice. It was very yummy. We almost had round two until we found out that our drinks were 22 euros a piece. At first I thought that Clousseau was trying to swindle us but I looked at the menu and it stated right there in black and white that most of the specialty drinks were 22 euros. Wow!

We decided that it would be cheaper to go to the hotel's business lounge and check out email for 5 euros for 10 minutes. Little did we know that we left a couple of hundred dollars worth of souvenirs in the bar.....

On our last day in Paris we got up early,(again!), and took a HUGE and unnecessary walk around the city. I thought for sure that I would remember how to get to the Musee D'Orsay but apparently I didn't. After almost two hours we finally decided to catch a taxi. The taxi driver feigned any knowledge of the English language, laughed at our attempt at trying to communicate with him and then very blatantly drove us 5 miles out of the way and then dropped us off at the back of the museum once we finally got there. What should have cost us about 3 Euros wound up costing 16.00. I wanted to throw him a 5 and then disappear in to the crowd but having to call my mother to bail me out of a French prison just didn't fit in to my vacation plans.

Little did we know that on the first Sunday of the month the museum is open to the public for free. We got there at 9:00 and there were already easily 1,000 people in line to get in.

This was all of the progress we had made after being in line for about 1 hour. And wouldn't you know it...this was the first sunny day we'd seen since we arrived in Paris. Since it had been raining for the duration of our visit Tori and I had both dressed in long pants, jackets, tennis shoes..and I had on two shirts. I sent Tori to get me a soda and by the time she came back I had taken off the jacket and one of my shirts. I was just fixing to take off my shoes when the line started to move.
This gigantic rhino statue was right outside the museum doors. I'm not usually a fan of rhinos but Tori and I had seen a tee shirt at Harrods that had a picture of a rhino on it and the caption read, "Rhino you are but what am I?" So that became yet another catch phrase of our trip.

"What? I can't hear you..."

Since they didn't have to take tickets the line moved pretty quickly, however everyone had to have their bags inspected and we had to walk through metal detectors.

The museum was built as a train station and was changed in to a museum in the late 1930's. In this picture you can really see the disguised skeleton of a train station.

There was a distinct lack of air conditioning and that coupled with the bright lights and the massive amounts of people made for a very toasty museum visit. Tori isn't a huge fan of art to begin with so I have to commend her for sticking it out while I oohed and aahed and shrieked with excitement every time I saw another painting that I recognized. I took pictures of most of my favorites but because of the propensity of the crowds to just plant themselves directly in front of a painting and then act like they are the only person on the planet who might like to look at the photographs are not very focused and there is a bit of a light reflection problem shining from the glass...but at least you can see that I was really there. I was right next to these beautiful works of art!

Their beauty is just not captured in photographs..

(Tori was whistling...) This picture was much bigger than I expected it to be.

This is a ballerina sculpture by Degas. I adore his ballet series. I actually bought myself a tee shirt that has a small version of this ballerina on it.

This is a Renior...

Hey look! It's Vinnie!

After zooming through the museum in record time we walked back to the Hilton and proceeded to go on a wild goose chase for our lost souvenirs. The concierge said no one had turned anything in and that we were just simply out of luck. The bell man had the same story as did the people at the front desk. Tori went to the bar and asked Clousseau if he had found our things and he said yes and that he had turned them in to house keeping. (Why all of the other departments were told that there was nothing turned in to housekeeping is beyond me...)Luckily Clousseau was able to get our bags and we were able to breath a sigh of relief.

We had packed our suitcases the night before so it was very easy to check out of the Hilton. We had taken a little bit more time in the museum than we should have so we told the bellman to tell the non-English speaking taxi driver that we were in a huge hurry and that we'd appreciate any attempt at hurrying to the train station. The drive acknowledged that he understood that we were in a hurry and that he would speed things up. Well. A word to the wise. A. French people don't like Americans to begin with and ...B. No one in Europe is ever in a hurry. Ever.

Our driver hurried as he tossed our suitcases in the back of the taxi, then he ran as he went to get inside the car. Then he put the car in gear and never broke 25 miles per hour the whole way to the train station. I was almost in hysterics as this guy risked life and limb and was driving in bus lane and yet didn't go any faster than the rest of the traffic. I swear we were being passed by people on bicycles.

When we got to the train station the driver jumped out of the car and very quickly got our bags out of the car. "I hurry!", he stated as though he'd just won the Indy 500. I applauded his enthusiasm and gave him a big tip. I had no more use for the euro money and it's pretty easy to spend orange and purple money that looks like pretend money anyway.

As usual Tori and I had pretty much no idea where we were supposed to go so I got in the ticket line and stood there for 25 minutes only to find that I didn't need to stand in the line because I already had my ticket and didn't realize it. Our train was going to leave the station in the next 5 minutes and we had to race up to the next level or our train would leave with out us. We were doing everything short of knocking people over as we climbed the stairs with our suitcase in hand. I'm happy to say that no one got hurt and we made it just in time.

Check in tomorrow for more adventures back in London.....



Anonymous mina said...

Great photos, I was glad to have recognized some of the art pieces!

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should have known better then to have ordered our drinks off of the " Presto changeo double your room fee " menu!
Tami forgot to mention the rude french taxi driver tried to convince us the museum we wanted to go to was across the street from where we got into the cab. He tried to sell us on this point only after he coasted forward enough to get the taxi meter to click to the next ammount, thinking he would charge us "bourgeouis Americans" a fair for rolling ahead 10 feet! Lucky for us, we knew the building he was pointing to was a military museum, and not a building full of priceless art.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Good Heavens... $32.00 for a drink? I hope it came with a tiny little chocolate stirrer for that amount of money. And a cookie.

But I bet it was really, really good! :)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

22 better have been a GOOD drink. :)

6:20 AM  

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