06 November 2005

News Briefs

I don't have any epic tales to tell about this weekend, so here are some short updates on what we've been doing!
  • I found empty spray bottles for sale! The one I bought is far larger than I needed, but at this point, beggars can’t be choosers. Finally, I can iron with a spray bottle ... too bad I just finished ironing a big batch of laundry on Friday.
  • Didge’s “cast” came off today, immediately after which he began incessantly licking his long-lost foot. Fortunately, there has been no new bleeding, so we shouldn't be back to see the Aussie vet for a while. Keep your fingers crossed!
  • We have high-speed internet access again! (Woo hoo!) But we can’t use it. (D’oh.) Our confirmation came in the mail, but as it turns out, the modem we have from Wanadoo isn’t compatible with our new provider’s software. Club Internet is sending us a new modem, which should show up in the mail tomorrow. Hopefully, the high-speed connection will resolve my photo uploading woes with Blogger.
  • Rioting continues in and around Paris, or so we keep reading. There were riots last night in the third, which surprised me since that arrondissement is in the heart of the city. Colin says that it is an immigrant neighborhood, so I suppose the unrest there is not quite as unexpected as I thought. We could hear the helicopters flying overhead for the past few nights as they head toward the riots to shine spotlights on the violence. Other than that, you still wouldn’t know anything was wrong unless you keep up with the news. Colin is fascinated with the coverage, so he keeps me up to date every morning. Even though we are perfectly safe as long as we don't go "adventure seeking," we both hope it ends soon. Fortunately, there haven’t been any deaths yet.
  • I found a small space heater in our apartment, comparable to the one I had at work at U of M. I am blissfully happy to have it blowing on my feet right now.
  • Stateside, my brother is FINALLY getting a puppy! Dakota should be safely at home with Scott as I type.

Last night, Colin, Rachel and I went to the church at Alésia for a free performance of Fauré’s Requiem. I haven’t been to a “concert” in quite a while, so it was a bit of a treat. Plus, I got to wear my stiletto-heeled boots AND a new scarf, so I felt très French indeed. The inside of the church is quite lovely, which we didn’t expect. It was built in the 1800’s, so it’s not “old” by Parisian standards. Still, we really liked the interior. I love how the ceilings are painted: they are much more colorful than most of the cathedrals we have been in so far. In fact, I liked this interior better than Notre Dame! It's far less dreary and cavernous.

This afternoon, Colin and I took a walk outlined in one of the guidebooks that came with our apartment. We walked around Le Marais, which used to be swampland but is now a rather posh little neighborhood. I posted a couple of pictures of our tour on my photosite in the Paris scrapbook, if you're curious.

The walk started at the Bastille, which is definitely something that I have been wanting to see for historical reasons. There is a beautiful pillar there to commemorate the French revolutions of 1830 and 1848 (not the French Revolution, the other two), since the prison itself is torn down. In its place, there is an opera house that we are going to see an opera in. If you look at the pictures on my photosite, you can see the opera house behind the picture of the pillar. (It's the building with lots of glass squares on it.)

We also toured Victor Hugo’s apartment, which is huge and quite ornate. Since I didn’t go through the obligatory “Les Mis” obsession phase that so many people of my generation did, I probably wasn’t as enthralled with the tour as other people are. (I was busy obsessing over Phantom of the Opera at that critical time in my high school career). The courtyard that Hugo's apartment is in – a former home of kings and queens – is very picturesque with the pinkish buildings framing a little park with four running fountains and two large sandboxes. I somehow felt like we had "discovered" something unique when we went into this little nook of Paris. The weather was nice today, too, so Colin and I warmed a park bench and watched the kids play in the sandboxes for a little bit.

We also walked through the Jewish Quarter, which I found to be quite pleasant despite the throngs of pedestrians. The delis smelled fantastic (I was really hungry at this point), and the whole place had a very cozy, homey feeling to it. After the Jewish Quarter, our walk went into a gay neighborhood, but I didn’t really notice anything remarkable or memorable about the area except that it was a bit of a cultural contrast to the Jewish Quarter. I thought it had somewhat of an Ann Arbor-esque feeling to it, except that the neighborhood is obviously older than A2.

At dinner, we kept rolling our eyes at the silly requests that a nearby American couple was making. OK, we were in Pizza Hut, so I guess I don’t have any room to be smug. (Hey, everyone gets greasy pizza cravings every now and then!) At least we didn't ask for a glass of ice or a straw. [Colin: Actually, Pizza Hut pizza is way different here than in the States. It's much less greasy and I like the dough and cheeses better. Plus, all the olive oil really gives their pizza a nice flavor.]

The weather is starting to turn cooler, so I suspect that I will start touring museums in the upcoming weeks. I have yet to venture into the depths of the Louvre, and of course, the Musée d’Orsay is a must-see that I haven’t done yet. On Tuesday, I’m meeting a woman to practice French and English conversation – I answered her ad in a FUSAC magazine because I really need to force myself to use French more regularly. I hope she’s cool. Coincidentally, she has the same first name as a girl that I regularly sat next to in French 231 (Isabelle), so hopefully, that’s a good omen!

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