Rachael Puts on Her Angry Pants!

Paris Travel Blog

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All of Paris got up early today to celebrate one if the city's most time-honored traditions: "le greve". In other words, many of the city workers were today on strike. The reason we all got up early however was not to join in some grand protest, but to make sure we caught our trains on time. The entire city anticipated a total meltdown, but in fact the trains were running almost exactly the same as usual. Hm.

Even so, most school children didn't have class today, which leads me to a most serious question: are "greve-days" in Paris like "snow-days" in Wisconsin? I mean, you hear a few days beforehand that it's going to greve, and then the morning of you check the news to see how bad it greved, and then if school gets canceled, it's a greve day! Hooray!


I, however, did have class. It was another beautiful morning at L'Institut Catholique, and what is more I wore my pretty dress today because after my next class I had a ticket to the ballet! I found it kind of amusing that what I consider my fanciest dress was barely considered more than casual here, though. Ah, Paris. Anyway, even though my nylons ripped hardcore and I had to buy another pair at monoprix between classes, I was in a fabulous mood. Then, when I got to ACCENT there were a number of friendly faces there, and I ate my coconut and chevre (separately), only slightly irked because the man put mayonaise on my sandwich.

Class, too, wasn't bad, other than it being 3 friggin hours long of course. We talked about how Manon Lescaut, this book we're reading which was written in the early 18th century, is really the first "roman noir", as in "film noir" in book form. I thought that was pretty cool, I was on kind of a film noir kick before I came to Paris. It's got the crime, the intrigue, the makings of a femme fatale, and of course the good-boy-gone-bad narrator. This realization is going to seriously increase my ability to pay attention while reading this book. Now the narrator isn't some distant entity in a white wig and powder, he's Joseph Cotten, who plays hero in my personal favorite noir: Orson Welles' The Third Man. Sometimes he's even the great Bogey in the most holy and quotable Casablanca, which I do understand isn't really a noir. Best of all, instead of repetitive rambling narration in French, Manon était passionnée pour le plaisir ; je l'étais pour elle is starting to sound a bit more to me like The Germans wore grey, you wore blue.

It's a stretch, but I'm trying.

After class I went with Jen one and Jenn two to Zara, Jen one's fav. store in Paris. En route the single best thing I've seen yet in every day Parisian life occurred: a guy dove onto the metro at the last second, had to pry the doors open to get inside, and then they shut... leaving his attache case stuck outside the doors!  Voila, I have discovered the ONE thing that will make Parisians laugh out loud in public! 

The shopping in the area around l'Opera is pretty fab.  At Zara they had a lot of good, cheap, stuff, and so I bought my first official pair of skinny jeans! They are so comfortable I don't care that I'm being a little hypocritical in wearing them.  It's not like one kind of emo thing leads to another, guys.  This week skinny jeans, next week... Edward Cullen?

Never.  Never, ever, ever.

After Zara, Jen one departed and Jenn two and I decided to get dinner. I didn't have much time before the ballet and we were both feeling kind of sick of the Great Restaurant Hunt, so we did something we've been talking about for weeks now: we ate at MacDonalds!! Of course, here it's Called MacDo, and a quarter pounder with cheese is called a royal cheese. Also, their macflurries are far inferior: you have to pick whether you want chocolate or caramel oozed onto the bottom, then they put in the ice cream, and the candy goes on top. What did I tell you? They don't like mixing things in France!

When I got to the Paris Opera for the ballet I discovered that even though all the trains were running on schedule and all day there had been very few signs of le greve, the performance that night had been cancelled. I was really disappointed. I made Jen and Jenn tell me all about the show and the theatre, how the ceiling was painted by Chagall, all that, as they had seen it the night before.. and then I couldn't go. Blast!!

When I got home I put on my skinny jeans, which are henceforth called my "angry pants". I also listened to the Pumpkins for a while to get all the ballet-less angst out of my system. Then Jenn and I planned some more of our UK extravaganza: we how have train passes and hostels in Bath, Edinburgh, and Northumberland! Unfortunatly, I'm realizing that this trip is going to take up 3/4 of my Paris budget and I'm freaking out, but... well, I got nothin.

Tomorrow I'm going to see Natalie!!! Her choir is singing at Notre Dame in the am, and then we're going to tool around all day. I'm going to be so happy I'll fall in the Seine. Also, I'm hoping to convince not only her but some others to go to this swank jazz club I found in the 5eme tomorrow night. It's always kind of been a lame and old-fashioned dream of mine to be one of those hep cats at jazz clubs in the city. Ha, I've also always wanted to say hep cats.

Also, I have to say that we got our journals back in Lit class today, and even though my French is awful, beneath all the grammar corrections Prof. Langer wrote some really neat stuff, and it makes me want to be a good student.  Apparently my using my Lit journal as an outlet for all my pent up love of medieval history wasn't a bad thing after all. That kind of made my day. You know, after the ballet ruined it.

*shakes fist* Greve!!


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photo by: Sweetski