Friday, July 1, 2011

Au Revoir for now Paris

I am now writing to you from London. It is official. I have left Paris, and I have no where to go back to if wanted to return at the moment. It is a strange feeling, considering it was my home for the past 6 weeks. My final two days in Paris were spent touring a little more of the city with Taylor, doing errands to get ready for my leave, and walking everywhere to just soak in the enormity of where I was and where I had lived.

Tuesday was somewhat of a tourist fail on my part. Taylor and I got to the Arts et Metiers, which houses many old inventions in communication, transportation, etc... We saw some neat things like one of the first Apple computers, printing presses, and so on, but it turned out to be quite boring for both of our tastes. Taylor had seen it before, and although inventions are neat, the museum was hard to connect with since everything was in French and there was really no story I could follow behind the different objects. I think that I could grasp what great feats these objects were, I would have appreciated the museum much more. One thing that was neat was seeing the statue of liberty inside and outside the museum. It is such an American icon, that people forget the French were the ones who gifted it to the United States.

With the first attempt at fun for the day not panning out, we headed to Centre Georges Pompidou to visit the Musee National d'Art Moderne. This turned out to be the second problem of the day- it is closed on Tuesdays! After another wave of frustration, we both got a Gyro baguette with fries on it in St.Michel, ate in a park, and did a little bit of shopping before the rain began. It was later in the day, and I needed to head back to get ready for dinner and discussion at Dr.Cooney's apartment as a final class lecture alternative.

The 5 of us arrived in the small apartment area, with an elevator that could only fit 2 (which Wyatt and I took) and the most spectacular view of the Eiffel tower! Dr. and Mrs. Cooney were located on the 5th floor, and their balcony had a straight on view of the tower with terra cotta roofs and pipes atop classic parisian housing architecture sitting in the foreground. After a few glasses of wine, quiche, melon and prosciutto, brie, baguettes, and much more, we were all having great conversation and sharing some of our memories of Paris and future plans. For me, I can never answer the second part. I have no job, no place to live, and no idea of what I am doing when I get back to Atlanta. My life is completely up in the air right now, but I am excited to figure it all out and start living the post-grad lifestyle. We all said our goodbyes and headed out after hearing thunder rumbling outside. On our walk home it started to rain. Just a light, cool rain that soak us enough to not be uncomfortable, but actually a relief from the high heat Paris had been experiencing. Walking home in the rain in Paris was amazing. I didn't care about getting wet, or that people around me were dodging the bullets from above. It was beautiful and a perfect ending to my day.

Wednesday was my last full day in Paris. I met Taylor for lunch and got a Croque Madame, then headed off to do errands. It included buying things from Harley Davidson, a street vendor by Notre Dame, and something else at a Vintage store. I can't say what all I bought yet since they are presents for people back home. One final trip was planned for our group, and it was a boat ride on the Seine. We loaded up and headed out. We got to see all of the views of Paris that were along the river from a completely different perspective. I was so tired by the end of it though, and I still had all of my packing to do for leaving and my trip to London the next day. After about 4 hours, laundry loads, and some expert clothes shoving, I managed to fit 5 bottles of wine, 3 coffee mugs, 2 suitcases of clothes, multiple books, all of my electronics, and a good amount of shoes in 2 suitcases, a carry on, and a bookbag. What a feat!

Everyone left the next day. It was bitter sweet. Everyone was ready for it, but no one wanted to leave the little family we had formed. Jason and I were planning on taking a taxi to Galienni where the eurolines bus to London was, but poor planning ahead lead us to taking the metro across town to get there in under an hour. It was practically impossible, but somehow we made it. Getting onto the first metro, I actually got stuck in the doors as they were shutting, having one bag on, one bag off, and my body wedged between the two closing doors. It was so scary, but I managed to pry the doors open and throw my second bag on. Switching trains proved to be a whole other disaster. The metro has NO elevators or escalators, and I was dragging bags up and down who knows how many stairs, sprinting through the hallways, and having strangers help me since they saw I was struggling. We somehow made it with a minute to go before 12, our departure time.

After 8 hours and still not knowing how we got on the bus, we made it to London Victoria station. I met with Travis there, and again had a problem getting bags up and down stairs while taking the tube to his home. He wouldn't let me carry them, and I felt so bad since they were about 50 pounds a piece. But, he did it, and after a shower that made me feel like a new person, we ate at a great burger place GBK. I got the Jamaican and he got the Kiwi burger, which was loaded with pineapple, beets, and an egg. I had never seen anything like that! My burger was so good too, and very different from the completely carb based diet I had been on in Paris. Coat and Badge, a pub in Putney, was our last stop of the night. I ordered a Pimm's cup, which was a great cocktail that was semi mojito/fruity/Caipiroska in style, but a perfect summer drink.

So, I have all day in London by myself. I think I am going to head to a nearby park in shorts and a tank with my current book "The Season of Lillian Dawes", and soak in some of the sunny day. I still have no idea where the past 6 weeks have gone, and I hope the next few days in London fail to fly by so quickly.

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