We arrived in Paris a little after 11 a.m. completely exhausted due to a combination of sleeping at the Madrid airport and a really long shuttle trip. Luckily, our host was going to be home at 1, so we didn’t have to kill time in Paris, lugging backpacks around. We met the famous Nico, and learned that we were his 100th and 101th guests! Nico is an engineer to pay the bills and an enthusiastic musician as well as an expert-level couchsurfer. After giving us a basic rundown on the sity, he was off and so were we, into the ever-changing Parisian weather (think Oregonian in nature, gray rainy, sun, change again). We wandered around the center, still exhausted, and found a patch of dryish grass with a view of the Louvre and the top spire of the Eiffel Tower and took a powernap.
That evening, we joined Nico and visited on of his bars, devouring massive amounts of cheeses and cheap French box-wine. Now, I can’t speak French to save my life, but I managed to guess the words for “red wine” when ordering a refill. We then made our way to the Paris version of an indie music bar (complete with an airless basement and a fedora-wearing singer) where Nico in all his tallness was the only one able to actually see the stage. We found a superchocolate crepe and messily ate it and wandering into an Irish bar to drink Guiness and listen to Irish Parisian cuss at each other.
Day 2 was the day of museums and picnics. We went to the Orsay Modern Art Museum and in an example of things to come, I flashed my Spanish TIE and got in for free while Rae grumpily paid the ticket price. I did manage to confuse one particularly slow guard:
“I need your student ID”
“This is my student ID.” It even says Estudiante in big green letters.
“Then I need your residence card.”
“This IS my residence card.”
And so on…One grumpy French glare later, I was in! We nerded out to some great Impressionist paintings and I suffered through the Art Noveau section. We ate some French pasta and Rae learned that simply ordering “pesto” gets you nowhere when at the French version of Noodles and Co.
We then failed at getting into Notre Dame, got a little lost in the 19th when I made a wrong turn, and finally met up with Nico and the girls for a picnic near a canal. I failed at the “Patonk!” game, but happily drank wine out of a bottle like a bum (forgot the corkscrew). When the sun set, we went down to the Eiffel Tower to watch Nico’s tax euros at work–it lights up like a Christmas tree every hour. Dodging the annoying vendors–No, I don’t want a mini-tower made of tinfoil, we walked along the Seine until we found ourselves by a street full of high fashion shops. After Rae finished salivating on the windows, we metro-ed back to Bolivar and bed.