07 October 2005

Market day and a spontaneous tour

As previously surmised, I did end up going to the open air market today with Colin and Didge. This was Didge's first and last trip to the market, at least on a regular collar and leash that is. He did really well overall, but my arm hurts from having to constantly reign him in and/or get him out of the way of other people. Much like my parents' dog, Jacob "the Speed Bump," Didge has a knack for knowing exactly where the middle of the road is, and then plopping his butt there. Add on his long tail, and you have a formula for disaster. Fortunately, we didn't end up with a bad Ben Stiller-esque slapstick comedy on our hands - I was able to drag him out of the way for the most part. Nonetheless, the moron was able to solicit the coos of a few passers-by, including one woman who politely told him (in baby speak), "You don't need a potato!" Of course, he sat up just a little bit straighter as if to say, "Oh, but I do!"

On the bright side - literally - the colors in this market were a welcome relief from the dreary, cloudy days we've had this week. All of the produce is so beautiful - no bumps, bruises, or bad choices in site. I even want to eat things that I know I don't like! For example, I don't care for olives, but just look at the picture to the right!! I couldn't even fit all of the bins into the frame, so this is just a sampling of the choices available. Some morning, I'm going to just walk down, buy a single piece of fruit, and just eat it fresh, right there on the spot.

After the market, we came back and stashed our purchases away. After a leisurely lunch and some fussing around the apartment (I finally bought bathroom cleaner, so we no longer have a dirty sink), decided to go to a museum. Our first choice, the Musée d'Orangerie, turned out to be closed for renovations through the beginning of 2006, so we settled on Le Grand Palais, which had a Klimt exhibition (among other artists). Alas, when we arrived, there was a HUGE line that was much longer than we were willing to endure. I guess Friday afternoons are popular days for museums that have recently reopened!

We couldn't immediately come up with an alternative option, partially because I had no idea where we were (you know, other than Paris), and Colin couldn't think of anything else that was super-close for us to see. So, since I had spotted a very beautiful bridge nearby, I suggested that we walk over and get a picture of that while we thought further. Plus, one of my goals for the trip was to have a really good kiss on a bridge that crossed the Seine. (Maybe I've seen the ending to the remake of Sabrina one time too many, but I thought it would be wonderfully romantic.) So, we walked out to the middle of a bridge called Pont des Invalides to get my picture of the prettier bridge and to fulfill my romantic fantasy. I'm pleased to report that Colin didn't disappoint, and I also think we thoroughly entertained the tourists on the boat that was floating by at that moment. Who knows, maybe I'll end up in someone's scrapbook! The lovely bridge that I spotted is pictured to the left - Pont Alexandre III.

We ended up touring two churches after our "moment" - L'Eglise Saint Supice and L'Eglise St. Germain des Prés. The first one was my personal favorite of the two, though the pictures didn't turn out so hot. I really wanted a picture of the front alter, but there was a zone of complete silence around it, and people were praying all around ... so I figured it would be kind-of tacky to snap a picture. I tried to take one from further away, and just when I got situated, another guy came walking up, sat down, and started praying. I wasn't sure if it was a sincere desire to commune with God, or a sincere desire to keep me from taking a picture, but I got the hint and walked away. My only decent picture is of a line marked in the church that people took measurements of the sun's alignment from as a way to gauge the earth's rotation. I only took a picture because Colin says that it figures prominently into The Da Vinci Code, and I know a lot of people who have read that. (Don't worry, I'll get to it at some point, especially if someone sends me a copy!!) The other nifty thing in this church was a blown up negative of the Shroud of Turin, which actually made me catch my breath until I realized it wasn't the actual Shroud itself. It's a little creepy, but also awe-inspiring to look at. I didn't take a picture of that - it seemed really inappropriate.

The other church, St. Germain des Prés, just seemed old to me. OK, so it was built in the 11th century, so *old* is the understatement of this blog. Truthfully, I was tired at this point, so it probably would have taken a lot to impress me at that point. Nonetheless, I made sure to drop a euro in the donation box, just to show my appreciation for the mere fact that this building was still standing after so many centuries.

On the way home, I created a new goal for myself: never, EVER use public transportation at rush hour. I hate, hate, HATE riding the buses when they are packed solid with people. Not that the metro is a treat at rush hour either (I've literally been pushed like a sardine in a can in the metro before), but those buses are just so unpleasant. Maybe it's being forced to touch all of those people when I'm already worn out from walking. Maybe it's the fact that the supposed "climatisation" of the bus is set to create similar living conditions to the Amazon. Or maybe it's just that I hate having to shove my way through a solid mass of people for the privilege of getting into the blasted thing in the first place. Whatever it is - I hate it!! Colin doesn't think I can avoid mass transit during rush hour, but given that I don't have to be anywhere at a certain time, I think I can swing it. Besides, Didge isn't allowed to ride, so it can't be THAT great!

But, c'est le week-end! We're going to Versailles (by the way, fellow Missourians, that's pronouced "Ver-SIGH" not "Ver-SAILS") on Sunday, since they run all the fountains on that day. I expect that it will be at least somewhat more entertaining than Versailles, Missouri, but one never knows until one sees for oneself! Colin "goes back to work" on Monday, so I'll have to figure out what to do by myself from that point on. Any suggestions? Requests? Dares? Post your ideas to the comments section!!

By the way, I'm waiting until the end of the weekend to decide the winner of the "what does that sign mean?" contest from a couple of days ago. I think Keely has the most bizarre/creative suggestion with no detached-leg dangling, but I crack up every time I Ryan's suggestion that no bald men wearing speedos are allowed. I still don't know what that sign actually means, so if anyone knows, I'd appreciate enlightenment on that, too.

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