02 June 2005

Pompidoodledoo

When I went to New York for the first time a year ago, I was stunned that everything was even bigger and more spectacular and more grotesque than I ever imagined. Like Times Square, for example. You can't imagine just how vast and gaudy it is from the glimpses you get on TV and in films.

Well, Paris is like that too, for me. The city seems never to end... there's always some astonishing building just a few blocks further away. Which makes for very very very long walks and very sore legs and feet. The Louvre, for example. I thought it was just some big old building that was really beautiful. In fact, it's practically a kingdom. It stretches on forever. And did you know that Napoleon built it by himself (one night, while everyone else was sleeping; when they woke up and saw it, they really liked it a lot and thought he was a neat guy)?

Here's another thing that was unexpected. On just about every block there's a little Asian takeaway restaurant with tray after tray of excellent dishes at the counter and you point at stuff and then you have a meal. It's very different from Manchu Wok, though I can't express exactly how. Except maybe that the food is really good. And they microwave it for you after you've made your choices. The Oslo equivalent was the kebab joints, which I don't know if I discussed earlier. They were all over the place there -- you'd get this pita stuffed to the gills with lettuce, rice, spicy sauce and some kind of meat (though veg was available). They were deeeeelicious.

Today Dana and I are heading up to Gare du Nord, a train station, where we're going to meet Kim, from Holland, who I met in Guatemala and dated briefly 15 years ago and haven't seen since. I sure hope Kim and Dana like each other. So we'll spend the day up in the north part of Paris, some arrondisement or another in the high teens, and we'll visit Sacre Coeur, whatever that is, and wander around.

We spent much of today in the Georges Pompidou Centre, which is a massive arts complex, and is massive enough that you'd need a few days to see everything there. We concentrated on the 1960-present floor, which was pretty spectacular.

Oh, I should briefly mention the hotel we're staying in. It's called Jeanne D'Arc; the guidebook I used said it was on a quiet street. I imagine that is defined as a lower level of nonstop noise. I love hearing the emergency sirens, because it's like in the movies, but I guess it means that someone's life is in danger somewhere, so it's probably not so cool after all. The room is extraordinarily tiny, but sort of charming. The washroom is a challenge to manoeuvre in, and there are no hooks on the walls anywhere so you can't hang anything much up. Not a particularly economical use of space.

God, I'm fascinating on the topic of Paris!

Over and out.

3 Comments:

At June 02, 2005 12:44 pm , Blogger John W. MacDonald said...

Move over Jan (James) Morris! A new new travel writer is born: Razovsky in motion.

 
At June 03, 2005 12:21 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paris: The City Sans Hooks

The grainy black and white photo
of the tiled black and white bathroom, with the white sink
and black radiator, wouldn't look
as romantic, as sultry as honeymoon Paris,if the towel was hung neatly, as oppossed to crumpled in the corner, before they hurried off to bed.

(The hooks were never an option)


Sounds like yr having a blast Stu.
Save some wine for us,
-jeff.

 
At June 03, 2005 1:24 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paris: The City Sans Hooks

The grainy black and white photo
of the tiled black and white bathroom,
with the white sink
and black radiator,
wouldn't look as romantic,
as sultry as honeymoon Paris,
if the towel was hung neatly,
as oppossed to crumpled
in the corner,
before they hurried off to bed.

(The hooks were never an option)

 

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