3/15/2019 0 Comments
A Splash of Paris
Ah Paris, I’ve waited so long, my trip was short but I wanted to reflect on somethings I picked up on while I was thereI didn’t get much sleep on the plane, a common occurrence in my travels because the amount of times I’ve declined a free cup of coffee is zero. Real quick let me get this out of the way, I know when they start boarding the plane you want tor immediately get up and stand in line but don’t. I mean they aren’t going to leave without you if you are right there. Just stay in your seat then when the line dies down just board and go straight to your seat,no lines. I mean this is also if you travel by backpack which you should, so you don’t have to mess with overhead storage. people act like other countries don’t have laundromats.By some miracle I was out of the airport in ten minutes and that is not an exaggeration. When I got on the train though,an entire day of buses, trains and planes caught up to me and I was a goner. In typical Hythum fashion I slept through my stop(which i was legendary for doing in LA) and my phone died. Luckily,since I’m a bit more well traveled and I know my life is one hilarious calamity after another, I grabbed a paper map for insurance. After getting off the train from the airport a strange wave of loneliness washed over me. I was so tired, lost and everything just felt so foreign, it didn’t help I kept passing happy couples traveling together, I’m only human I guess. In order to lift my spirits I went to a bakery ordered a Jambon-Beurre (French ham baguette sandwich) and a raspberry macaroon, so good. I did finally make it to my hostel, got some sleep and I was reborn. I set out as quick as I could and walked through the streets until nearly morning.Bakery after bakery, I would go to windows and point at things I couldn’t pronounce and was never once disappointed. My favorite was definitely the French classic Pain au chocolat, which is pretty much a croissant with little chocolate pieces. So simple, so French, so good. If you are trying to avoid carbs lemme tell ya, stay away from Paris,it’s carb heaven. I also absolutely loved the baguette sandwiches, they were everywhere, they were delicious and cheap, what more could you ask for? A realization I’ve come to is brewed coffee is not very popular in many places besides America, it’s all just espresso drinks. Now I’m stupid and thinking “ I know how to say coffee in French,check this out”. “puis-je avoir un café” I said,after having a giggle at my American-ness he comes back with a shot of espresso, okay lesson learned. Next place I go to I think okay, say americano that’s known here. I order an americano to which he replied and this is verbatim “I don’t speak nothing” and walked away, hmm that didn’t go as planned,I’m now 0/2. Next place I go to I try explaining to the man I just wanted espresso with hot water to which he then replies with the magic words “ahhhh Café alongé” ( which I later found out translates to long coffee) and with those two sweet words I cracked the cipher. I had a crepé each day but so many different options in this realm. I usually go for sweet(banana Nutella, strawberry, chocolate) but I once I said I’ll have one of those and pointed at whatever the guy next to me was having and it was delicious. Not sure what the meat it was to be honest but lots of cheese and very delicious.A great surprise I found that I hadn’t really read about anywhere was the amount of delicious kebab in this city. Where I was staying near Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, there was a kebab joint on every block and run by immigrants from all over the world. 5.50 Euros for a delicious kebab sandwich with fries? Sign.Me.Up.
Okay begrudgingly moving on from food.Paris has one of the most defined identities of any place I’ve ever been to. It’s like every street has a robust story to tell.America is such a melting pot that sometimes it’s hard to nail down concrete aspects of our culture. I don’t mean that in a bad way though being a melting pot is a good thing, it’s just hard to really define American culture for me.here it felt culture wasn’t divided by race or social status, it more felt like everyone was kind of united by their frenchness.Even immigrants serving food from their own country had a French twist to it. What a beautiful language,I found myself staring at people wishing I could understand. It was inspiring even watching people talk because they do so with so much passion and depth in their speaking. And my god they are all so happy to see each other. I kept seeing friends kissing each other screaming like they hadn’t seen them in a decade. In America it’s more like” sup bruh”.Now usually museums are kinda whatever for me, I’ve just been to so many and they never really do much for me but the Louvre was way different. If you go to Paris take a day to really appreciate it, there’s so much to see and so much information to retain. If you are only an English speaker though beware a lot of the descriptions are only in French but they offer Nintendo 3ds guides you could take with you in many different languages. Seeing the original Mona Lisa is kind of surreal, I never really cared about it before but up close there is something to it. I started thinking that painting is over 200 years older than the United States, that’s kind of mind blowing. Paris seems to have such a high respect for arts and being an artist here seems to retain more respect than it does back in the US or at least that’s the feeling I got.
The best advice I can give is to walk Paris. I cannot stress enough how many little hidden gems you’ll find by walking. Some amazing bakery, incredible graffiti,a street performer, some historical something or other. Of course, nothing wrong with using the metro to get certain places and even that in itself is an experience. Now I’m off to nice for two days which there probably won’t be much to talk about because I’m going to chill real hard, Paris wore me out.
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