06 October 2005

"This is what you get for marrying a historian"

Last night, Colin and I sat down to plan out our trip through Pere Lachaise, the big Paris cemetary with all of the rich and famous. I think I had about three people I wanted to see: Georges Bizet, Sarah Bernhardt, and of course Jim Morrison. Colin had 36 people total. That's not a typo: thirty six people!! Hence the title of today's blog, "This is what you get for marrying a historian." (That's a quote from my dear hubby today.) I suspect that this is just revenge for the day that I dragged him around the mall to create our wedding registry... apparently, three hours of shopping is just too much for one man. Hey, at least he got to play with a scanner gun!

It was another cloudy day here, but not as cold as it has been. Maybe low 60's today. Good day to wander around a cemetary, even though we spent nearly 3 hours there. Good thing we bought new tennis shoes this morning!! (Another steal for Amy: only 29.95 euros for super-cute tennis shoes.) The first picture above is just a shot of a path through a small part of the cemetary. It's such a different landscape from the cemetaries of the Midwest US - very nice, quiet and picturesque. But, you need a ton o' money to spent the ever after here, even if you're just a little square in the crematorium! Nonetheless, there are about 70,000 tombs in this one cemetary alone.

Here are a few highlights of the trip for the non-historians out there. First, one of my favorite painters, Georges Seurat. (He's the guy that invented pointulism. You will probably recognize this painting: www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/seurat/grande-jatte/seurat.grande-jatte.jpg)

The first picture is peeking through the window -- this family has their own mini-chapel that you have to have a key to get into. Pretty common in this cemetary, but no doubt cost a bit more than most of us have. Here's a shot of the mini-chapel itself (off to the left):


Then there was the composer Frederic Chopin, who *died* in 1849 ... long enough ago that I can't even grasp it mentally. It's kind of like trying to absorb the fact that there are 6 billion people on earth - just beyond comprehension! OK, maybe not that dramatic, but it's the best analogy I could think of off the top of my head. Here's the photo of his grave -- there are a ton of flowers and tokens to him, so obviously a lot of people come to find his final resting place.


And, of course, there is the infamous Jim Morrison. I actually found his grave to be quite anti-climactic. I guess I expected there to be something much fancier, or at least a throng of wailing fans. Instead, I found a rather unimpressive grave wedged in behind other, more impressive graves. I had also heard that there was a guard on duty 24-7 to keep Jim's crazed fans from doing anything unmentionable at the site (apparently, people liked to come and have sex on it ... geez, who thinks of this stuff??), but the guard was nowhere to be seen. There were some metal guardrails to keep you from getting right up to the grave, so I guess that says something. Here's the picture:

Last, but certainly not least, is my unexpected favorite spot on the tour de Roust: Oscar Wilde's grave. We had heard that his grave had turned red from all of the lipstick marks, and boy, can you see why! Had I known it was so dramatic, I would have brought some lipstick and added my tribute. But, I only had Blistex in my purse, so I couldn't leave an indelible mark. I did give it a quick kiss in the spirit of the whole tradition, but if I ever go back, I'll be sure to bring some bright red lipgloss for Monsieur Wilde. Also, just from an aethetic perspective, I really liked the sculpture on his stone - it's very interesting. Here is a shot of the grave, so that you can see what I mean.

Of course, someone kissed the statue right square on the lips ... they had to have had help because it's really high up! I imagine that some girl got up on her boyfriend's shoulders to reach (maybe a shoulder stand, not just sitting on the shoulders, because seriously, it's really high up!)

Man, there are a ton more pictures, but a lot of them are only meaningful to Colin. The only other memorable part for me was using the restroom and discovering that A) there was no toilet seat, B) there was no toilet paper, which I found out too late, and C) there were no paper towels to dry your hands after washing them. That was definitely one of those moments where being a boy would have been a lot easier. I haven't had to "hover" in quite a while....

In other news, I fear that Colin and I are starting to develop addictions to Orangina and chorizo. You can blame the chorizo addiction on Annie Hesp (she's the one who introduced Colin to the delightfully spicy meat, which he can't stop buying); the Orangina addition is entirely my fault, though Colin isn't exactly putting his foot down. Then, of course, there is always the Champion chocolate ice cream, but since it hasn't been very warm, it's easy to eat that in moderation. Colin just saw the weather report for tomorrow ... yet another cloudy day. Bleah. I think we're going to hit one of the smaller art museums tomorrow, but we're definitely going to the market to get fresh fruit and veggies. We're having a little party on Saturday here at the apartment with Annie (she's a friend from Romance Languages), a friend of Annie's from work, Rachel (a girl from my French 231 class) and possibly a friend of hers, and of course, our savior, Muriel. (Muriel is the native Parisian who helped Colin get settled here. We wouldn't have a bank account without her!!)

Well, Didge has collapsed into a heap by my chair, so it must be getting late! Guess I ought to wrap this up and get to washing the dishes from dinner. (Man, do I miss having a dishwasher...)

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