Waking up at 2:30 AM isn’t necessarily the best way to start off your day, but today… It was absolutely wonderful. I woke up, stuck my camera out the window for some shots of Iceland at night, then took my time getting ready. I was not prepared to see snow this morning. I packed for 70 degree F France, not 20 degree F Iceland. I’m still very glad to have stayed, though. Iceland was for me, a happy accident that I’ll never forget.
As memorable as Iceland was, the most unforgettable part of today was stepping of the plane (flight update: a bit of a turbulent ride today but I’m reading Anne Rice so that kept me distracted) into France. I’m in FRANCE! Just like I want to revisit Iceland, I already know I’ll be back to France again. It’s so warm today here; I’m in heaven. We decided to take a walk and find some food, and ended up at the Eiffel Tower. I’ll get to that, though. I’ve made another new friend today, score! I’m feeling much more comfortable with/in the group today.
On our walk, we stopped at a little pastry shop where I ordered París Brest. Don’t ask me what that is, because I have no idea. This was my first challenge of being here so far; the owners barely spoke English the way I barely speak French, so the conversation was a little rough but in the end, we had both communicated the right things. Our walk took us down the side streets and into churches until we finally looked up to see the Eiffel Tower. I never expected it to even be CLOSE to the size it is. I was in awe… I can’t wait to see the city from the top like I saw the Eiffel Tower from below. It was absolutely breathtaking, and there’s no doubt in my mind why it is one of the top tourist attractions in the world.
I know there’s a pretty big danger of pickpockets at the Eiffel Tower, but I never once felt even as if someone was standing too near to me. What did make me a bit uncomfortable was the man we saw arrested. Two cops with fairly large guns out approached him, took his merchandise (he was selling tiny Eiffel Towers) and began to escort him away. We’re not sure what he did, but I’ve never seen anyone get arrested before. At one point, the man broke free of the police’s hold and started to run, they tackled him to the ground and a third cop had to come and assist them. They did this all casually and ignored the gawking tourists. From what I understand, in the U.S., cops don’t walk around with their guns drawn and they usually make a bit of a scene out of arrests.
Tonight was a little… different than the day. The tone of the group seemed to change as the unquenchable thirst for alcohol aroused the better part of the group. The lighthearted attitude of the day turned into a vicious lust for drink. Very few of us were able to stave off the desperate desire for spirit, but we are the lucky ones. Hopefully they’re not too hungover tomorrow morning the way they were today… Oh well though. I’m not criticizing them for wanting to drink alcohol, because why not? When in Rome Paris! All I’m saying is maybe they’re overindulging themselves. Drinking is fine… But maybe we shouldn’t drink ourselves to the point of an unbearable hangover.
Anyways, after that little tangent… I wanted to muse upon some of the things I noticed today. To me, it seems that the French care little for tourists, as we were largely ignored– it’s as if each person here is in their own powerful, little bubbles. I don’t know if that’s more self-centered or whatever the opposite of nosey is, but I like seeing the differences between countries and cultures. Also, tonight a bunch of tourists from China were shamelessly photographing us at dinner like we were exotic animals in the zoo. I was very uncomfortable, even after our guide explained to us that blonde, red, brown hair and light eyes were largely unfamiliar to them. We must’ve been quite the spectacle to garner that much attention.
Is it because I have purple hair?
I’m looking forward to making more observations tomorrow, and especially for our first visit to a business.
Bonne nuit mes amours,