Friday, November 13, 2009

More Adventures in Paris

There are a few things in this world that push me over the edge. Two of those things are heat and crowds. Put the two of them together and I will pretty much fall apart without fail. I used to be prone to anxiety attacks but in the 10 years since I've taken anti depressant meds I have been pretty much anxiety free. Then all of a sudden I find myself in a foreign country, in 100 degree heat with about 500,000 of my closest world travelers in the most magnificent art museum in the world. It was really important to me to get to show Tori and Rebek the "Mona Lisa" and I was really excited about getting to do so. The walk from the taxi queue to the front door of the Louvre just about did me in. It. Was. Hot. As usual I expected the cold blast of air conditioning when we walked in side the building but was instead greeted with the muggy hug of a wet blanket. There were 100's of people in the lobby and there were lines to get in to everything. There might have been some air conditioning in that room but there is a huge sky light that allowed the bright French sun to come beaming down and envelope the entire lobby in a steamy, sticky fog. I was a little apprehensive once I took this all in but I decided that if I had a diet Coke in my hand then I would be good to go. So we stood in a line of about 50 people, I am not exaggerating, and I got my diet coke. In a can. Out of a box. With no ice. Ahh. Refreshing.

There is so much to see in the Louvre but at this point I decided that all I wanted to see was the "Mona Lisa" and then I was going to be done. So we followed the signs and the farther we got in to the museum the hotter and more crowded it became. I thought if I just barreled through the crowd then I could get to the salon that housed Mona, we could look at it and then get out of there. I got as far as this:

Mona is up another flight of stairs to the right but this here is all she wrote. I made 4 attempts at getting up and beyond those stairs but it was just not going to happen. It was just too hot, too crowded and there was no air up there.

At the top of the stairs is "Winged Victory" and so of course there was a permanent mob scene at her feet. You had to go up another flight of stair to get to the floor that housed Mona and the more stairs I climbed the hotter and muggier it got. I'd get almost to the top and then without even realizing it I'd be turned around practically knocking people over as I raced back down the stairs. Tori and Bek gave me pep talks, I gave myself pep talks...but it was just not in the cards. I think the deal breaker was this:
This is a very strong air conditioning vent in the hallway that led to the stair case that housed Winged Victory. It was behind a lovely white marble statue. I sat down on the vent and told Tori and Bek to go off and see what ever they wanted to see and if I could get my act together I would meet up with them, but otherwise they could find me right there when they were finished. In the hour that I sat there I had about 15 different people sit down with me. Everyone was red in the face and wondered aloud why it was so hot in that place. It made me feel better to know that I wasn't the only wuss who was over heated.

After seeing this picture I'm actually glad that I didn't force myself to make it to the Mona Lisa salon. As you can see the mob scene didn't stop at the top of that stair case. (This is Bek taking a pic of Mona. See all of those people with cameras.....Well, Tori got in trouble for having her camera out and not pointing it at Mona. The guard thought she was taking pictures of the people in the crowd and apparently that is against the Louvre law.) (I neglected to mention that Tori had gotten in trouble on the train to Paris, too. Tori had the nerve to put her feet up on the seat facing her and the ticket guy reprimanded her. He got away before I could point out to him that everyone on the train was also doing it...poor Tori. Rule breaker that she is.) (NOT!)

While I sat on the A/C I missed something other than all of the wonderful art work. Tori and Rebekah were looking at something when this boy walked up to Tori and said something about a picture. Tori thought he was asking her to take a picture of him and his mom. She agreed and waited for them to pose...however the boy floated over toward Rebekah and made it clear that he wanted his "picture taken with girl!" This is Rebek and Wang. He asked if he could correspond with her and so she gave him her email address. She asked for his email address and he gave it to her written in Chinese. His mother rolled her eyes at him and apparently told him to write in English because he took the paper back from Rebek and re-wrote it so she could read it.
After they were finished trying to exchange pleasantries they went their separate ways. Rebek told me that his English wasn't very good but I pointed out that it was worlds better than her Chinese!

We left the Louvre and even though it was still hot outside at least it wasn't muggy. We walked all over trying to find a place to sit down but seats were at a minimum. There are not a lot of bums in Paris but here is one laying on one of the few benches at the Louvre. Apparently the sun was bothering him because if you look really close you can see that he has his head inside of his bag.
And if you look even closer you can see that his finger in in his belly button.

We walked around the streets surrounding the Louvre and found ourselves inside yet another Mc Donalds. The prices were still as expensive but this one had something I never thought I would see: McBeer! (I had a picture of the McBeer cup but in my effort to move it on this page I erased it and now I can't find it.)

We found out that in a crowded place such as the McLouve Mc Donalds seats are at a premium. So if you are sitting at a table for 4 and there are only 3 of you some one is going to take that 4th seat and join you at your table. Apparently it's something that comes along with the territory because I saw it happen a half a dozen times before it finally happened to us. Fortunately you aren't required to make small talk with your temporary dining buddy but it's still kind of weird to have a stranger sitting at your table.

Can you believe it's probably going to take another 2 posts to finish my stories about Paris? Stay tuned.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived the story you are telling, but it is still very funny to read your take on things!
I love the picture of Bek with the " Winged Victory".
Something very old, and something very new!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Jason, as himself said...

Yes, that sharing tables with strangers things over there definitely feels weird.

And I thought this photo of the sleeping man was a topless boobs....

6:45 PM  

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