In order to not announce to all those _really smart_ criminals that I’m wandering the world, I didn’t public-post anything about the honeymoon while we were out and about. Now that we’re home and the jetlag has receded to the point that I can imagine being caught up, here we go. This was all written at the time, often after a tiring day. I’m not much of a poet.
The plane trip in doesn’t deserve much remembrance, other than to say that Frankfurt airport is huge and we got to see it for an extra 4 hours thanks to a cancelled connecting flight. The Kindles did _exactly_ what they were supposed to – I spent much of the time reading, as did Becky.
Phones, on the other hand,were a little hinky – when Becky turned on hers, it didn’t register as able to make calls for about an hour. Mine registered, but wouldn’t complete calls effectively for about the same amount of time. Thankfully, we got one call off to Becky’s mom (at 6am Pacific time) saying “Help, we’re 4 hours late and don’t want them to give away our car!”.
We arrived at Charles De Gaulle Airport, where our rental was ready for us thanks to a call Debra had made for us, bless her. Drove out of the city into the countryside, through Bailly-Romanvilliers, to the Marriott Village d’Ile-de-France. Checkin was quick – the guy at the desk took one look at us and said that while he had more information to share, we looked like we needed the rest more.
The place itself is pretty huge – a two story condo on an arc around a small artificial lake. It’s well-acquitted, warm, and slightly foreign. I’m still trying to sort out the two-button flush thing going on. My plot to have working electrical power, thankfully, actually worked – replacement cables for my laptop power supply and I’m in business.
We spent Saturday recovering from our 30 hours without meaningful sleep – lazed about the house, went to Bailly-Romanvilliers for groceries, and watched a couple hours of Cartoon Network in French. Loonatick – the edgy, reimagined Bugs-and-co show? Sucks in french, too. It reminded me of what would happen if Frank Miller got sufficiently brain damaged to make childrens’ shows and decided to model all his plots off of the He-Man cartoon. The Anime version of Power Puff Girls, OTOH, was almost comprehensible, given the fact that we just had to imagine it was in Japanese. Did I mention we had no subtitles, and we watched about 2 hours?
Sunday, finally, we went into Paris. It was windy and wet all day – we woke to wind banging, screaming, and rattling at the windows, and it continued to be so through the day. I got us lost almost immediately (Got out at Pyramides, started walking towards the first pretty building I saw, realized after a couple blocks it was the Opera house instead of the Louvre.) Corrected, got back on the train and off at the Louvre, and spent the next three hours in the Louvre. Got through a blazing fast trip through Denon and Sully wings. I remember the Winged Victory from before, as well as the Venus de Milo, and of course, the Mona Lisa – lordy, but they’ve got a giant bloody wall for that teeny tiny canvas. There’re a lot of striking paintings there that I wish I had enough background to spend hours staring at each one, or even that I had enough lore to identify more of the historical bits. Some of the murals on the ceilings were so striking and iconic that I knew I should recognize them better (the murder of Agamemnon by Clytemnestra was one of them that I had a second reference for). Others were straight up unsubtle – there was one room where the ceiling piece was a series of angels – the topmost holding a scroll titled, I believe, “Le Siecle de Louis XIV”, with a few others in the middle, and at bottom, Victory herself laying the smack down on an old guy with a scythe. Pretentious, much? naaah.
Right now, there’s a single piece of modern art in the Louvre, in the midst of the italians. It’s a great big 15 foot tall canvas painted black, with a series of light lines across it. At the halfway mark, the light lines change – on the left, it’s made of thick glossy black paint that reflects the light from the window outside. On the right, it’s white paint. I’m not sure what the guy did to deserve a spot – even temporarily – in the Louvre, but I’ll admit, the painting’s technically pretty cool. I had to take a second look after reading up on it.
On the way through Sully, we got to look at the original foundations of the Louvre. Big old stone. The curators have put up neon white cursive text along the way with series of statements, most of which I couldn’t translate. One of them that was kind of cool, as best as I could translate, came out to “By being down here, amongst these old stones, you are participating in archaeology”. My high-school french is worth just shy of nothing here – at least I’m able to read things enough to get some idea of what’s going on, but really, it’s about 4 words out of every sentence I can pull off with any confidence; the rest is relying on Latinate similarities.
The train station is still huge. They’ve got the upper floor locked off for renovations, so everything’s pretty much crammed into the first and second floor. Impressionists continue to be my favorites – I guess I’d have a lot more fun with renaissance artists if I was a more avid follower of Christianity or history in general. Since I’m insufficiently educated in those fields to recognize many of the characters, I instead have to admire technique - and I love the impressionists. Pointillism, minimalism, some of the pieces that you look at and realize that they’ve really painted just enough to give you the right idea of what they were doing… Love it.
The Art Nouveau section was also gorgeous – the pieces were in every sort of medium, from architectural drawings, to furniture, to glass – all this highly decorated, intricately wrought stuff. Screw modernism. I need to find some nouveau furniture or something, it’s pretty.
About 3:30, we were plumb tuckered, and meandered our way home with a combination of RER and Metro travel. Caught a bit of the homeward rush, and didn’t get a seat on the A train until we were mostways out in the suburbs.
Turns out around here the parking structures expect you to handle validating your ticket before you get back in your car. Logical, though it threw us. Thankfully not many people were attempting to leave, as we kinda ended up leaving the car sitting at the stile while we took the ticket over to the nearest machine. Whups.
Being functionally at a kindergarten reading level and nearly aphasic when it comes to speaking the language is pretty intensely embarassing; I’m sure it’s something I could get used to, but damn, this makes me want to refresh my language skills and take a conversational french class.
The weather on Sunday morning was apparently remarkably out of character for the area – there are places where roof tiles have come down here and there in the complex. There’s no nearby weather station, but some stations bordering Paris reported 90km winds, so I’m guessing we got something like that.
We were bushed, after the cold, wet, rainy day in the museums – know how I can tell? We woke up at 10am after going to sleep at 10pm. No chemical assistance, just pure tired. Jet lag’s almost gone, I think, though. This was honest tired.
By the time we rose to ’sorta ready to move’, it was noon, and really, it didn’t seem worth it to drag ourselves into town, even given the beautiful day.
We’ve been taking advantage of the little shop in the main building – it’s got all the basic cooking materials we could need. We have meats we purchased in the village, and have been cooking our meals, which is relaxing, to us, and taking full advantage of the timeshare. Slightly strange to be eating out _less_ in a foreign country than we have been the last few weeks, but at the same time, I love home-cooked food.The Dream Library)