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    I’m Not Good with Goodbyes

    September 18th, 2008 by mary

    I know 3 months is a short time to call a place home but Paris was just that; more so than anywhere else we’d been in our crazy adventure. Of course in the last weeks we had copious amounts of the foods we’ve come to love. Ah, chiboust I will miss you so. And what will our friendly waiter at O’Jilou think when he notices the Americans aren’t coming by to butcher his native language anymore? How will I ever get by without my gelato fix at Amorino? It seems cruel to separate me from Fauchon so soon. Sure the departure was largely self imposed but it was time to move on and bring the travel to a close. At least we were leaving on our terms. Next time we go to Paris it would be to live there.

    Posted in paris | No Comments »

    Bamboo is in this season

    July 4th, 2008 by steve

    Remember you saw it here first, the next rage in green transportation: the Bamboo bike.

    I’m not sold on the wicker seat, though…

    Posted in paris | No Comments »

    The happiest place in France

    June 25th, 2008 by steve

    After almost a week of waiting out the overcast skies, we finally made it to Euro Disney last week. And oddly enough, it’s a lot like Disneyland. Except all the lands are moved around and it’s just ‘Main Street’, not ‘Main Street USA’. I expected to find some interesting localizations, but there really weren’t any. Although there is no Matterhorn!

    Space Mountain here has a few new twists and is by far the best ride. My next favorites were the tea cups and the Buzz Lightyear kiddie ride. Good stuff.

    Posted in paris | 1 Comment »

    Music in the Streets

    June 22nd, 2008 by steve

    Along with a few other cities in Europe, Paris celebrates the summer solstice every year with a music festival. Paris packs the streets with dozens of free concerts on street corners, courtyards and in the street all over town. Our neighborhood had a band playing ever couple of blocks, sometimes close enough to be in competition. Not a fair fight when it’s an amplified rock band versus the acoustic gay choir, but such is life. Even Notre Dame chimed in with a choir and organ concert playing to a packed house.

    Posted in paris | No Comments »

    Lost in the Translation

    June 18th, 2008 by mary

    We’ve become fans of the ballet and opera so when we get a chance to score some cheap tickets we take advantage of it. Our latest slice of culture was the final performance of Les Capulets et les Montaigus at the Opera Bastille in Paris. In the early 1800s Bellini wrote this translation of the famed Shakespearan tale Romeo and Juliet. So basically it’s the Italian version of a British romantic tragedy, sung in Italian, with French supertitles, and to add to the confusion Romeo was played in the classic tradition by a woman. We may not have understood everything that was said but it was actually quite good. And it feels less silly to yell ‘Bravo!’ and ‘Encore!’ when you’re in France.

    Posted in art, paris | No Comments »

    We qualify for the French Open

    June 17th, 2008 by steve

    We forgot our tennis raquets, so we couldn’t play.  We lost the ticket lottery, so we couldn’t see the finals in person. Instead, we watched some of the qualifying rounds. The Roland Garros tennis park in Paris has 20 or so courts and there were 30-some matches to watch during the day.

    I’ve never really watched tennis, but it’s actually good fun in person. The personalities make up for any lull in play. Our favorite was a Spanish player who grunted “WWWAAAAAAHHHhhhhhhh“(click to listen) with every hit and “Ole!” for his good points.

    Victory

    Other stereotypes were rampant. The prissy European player who asked for permission to use the restroom in thAmerican Angste middle of play and then disappeared for 15 minutes – in a new outfit! He lost to the patient and affable Argentinan, Schwank.

    The American women are great entertainment. They’re so big and so mean. I wouldn’t want to meat any of them on a dark street. And we didn’t even see the Williams sisters.  But the only smashed racquet we saw belonged to a charming American.

    The big deal about this tournament is that it’s on clay, not hard court like we’re all used to. The clay is very solid, but ‘sandy’ on top, so there is a lot of sliding around. That makes it a very difficult surface for many people to play on. Federer has been the #1 player in the world for like 6 years now, but Nadal has beat him in the French Open 4 years in a row now. It’s all about the surface.

    Some had real trouble with it. This guy went down about 10 minutes into his match – and didn’t get up. Such a violent sport…

    Defeat

    Of the players we watched, there were only a couple that made it very far in the tournament. Schwank looked like the best player to us, and he made it to the 3rd round of finals (the Federer-Nadal final match was the 7th round). In the womens, Suarez-Navarro made it to the quarter finals (5th round).

    In the end, the true joy of tennis is watching the terrified ball boys and girls scream across the court to pickup balls and thee address the players with toy soldier-like salutes. 

    Posted in paris | No Comments »

    A Question of Etiquette

    June 15th, 2008 by mary

    You’re standing two feet away from a priceless masterpiece surrounded by other admirers when an urge to sneeze wells up within.

    Do you sneeze on the person next to you or the unshielded Van Gogh?

    Posted in art, paris | No Comments »

    We get into modern art

    June 12th, 2008 by steve

    A few of the pieces at the Pompideau Centre (museum of modern art) next to our apartment in Paris.

    Posted in art, paris | No Comments »

    Starbucks will never make it in Europe…

    May 9th, 2008 by steve

    We headed into the Latin Quarter tonight for the beginning of a two week jazz festival. There’s a few shows most nights in different venues and a bunch of the small ones are free. Very cool and cultural and Parisian, right?
    There were 4 concerts tonight and 3 of them were in a Starbucks. The Latin Quarter isn’t all that big, but there are at least 4 of Seattle’s best affront to the Old World in place.
    Welcome to the Americanification of Europe. Buy Starbucks stock.

    Posted in paris | No Comments »

    Singing The Baguette Blues

    May 9th, 2008 by steve

    We both love the bread in Europe. A warm baguette with lots of super crunchy crust and moist fluffy innards makes any day better.
    Most mornings, I run across the street to get a fresh baguette and then fry up some bacon and eggs to complete a perfect brunch. Yes ‘brunch’. It’s light out until nearly 10pm here, so we’re night owls these days.
    So the whole daily fresh baguette thing is great and all, but we’ve discovered that the grass is not always greener. Several times now, we’ve bitten into (and been bitten back by) squishy, dense or otherwise boring bread. It’s horrible. We’re not in Milpitas; this is Paris. We have expectations to be met. The bread should -always- be crisp and yummy.
    We’ve boiled down a few theories to these rules:
    4) Don’t buy on a Monday morning or after a holiday. The oven just doesn’t have its heart into the job yet.
    3) Skip it on a humid or wet day. It’s just not worth the risk.
    2) Think twice if the counter girl says “blahblah pas bien blahblah”
    1) NEVER EVER buy at the Naturalia grocery. Even if they are the only boulangerie open on Sunday. UGGGG. Healthy bread in any language sucks.

    Mary says: the baguettes from the Nature store are like Cold War bread ‘da! you veel eat rock!’ but today we found a boulangerie that sells the lustiest bread we’ve had. it’s simply glorious.

    Posted in food, paris | 1 Comment »

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