Friday, July 26, 2013

be cool with the water

We got into Paris about 10 this morning, and I’m proud of this group for being so responsible, prompt, and easy to travel with. It makes such a huge different in my stress levels. The train trip was relatively problemfree, thanks to cool heads and some early morning Diet Coke. While we waited for our train at King’s Cross I got a little loopy and made up songs about other passengers, but only a couple of sharp eared students heard and, consequently, enjoyed them.
We checked into the good hotel Hotel Ajiel and were pleased to find the elevator actually working this year! Hooray – we’re fat. To prove this point, a few of us hit McDonalds almost immediately. This was the first of three French trips to McD’s. And remember, I won’t apologize for it!!!!
I always like to (SPOILER) take the students to the Trocodero to see the Eiffel Tower first thing. I don’t tell them where we’re going. We just walk around the corner and – BOOM – there it is. I like doing that. If you are my student and you are planning to come next year, please forget that you read this. It’s my worst kept secret. I have to mention that the Trocodero fountains were going full blast today, which I have never seen. It was a warm day, and we all contemplated dive-bombing right in. It looked fun. Another fun thing is watching people pose at the Tower. These were some of my favorites:
We visited the Musee D’Orsay and I made it a mission to find the most awkward paintings in the museum. This is what starts to happen when you’ve been somewhere a few times. You look for ways to rediscover it (see also: Vid the alien). Here are my favorite three awkward paintings. Which is the worst? You judge. Remember, they are in the Musee D’Orsay, so they are probably still masterpieces no matter what:
Mary Cassatt: Louise-Aurore Villeboeuf
Henri-Edmond Cross: Mrs. Hector France
Vincent Van Gogh: Deux Fillettes
Afterwards we watched the always entertaining show outside the Museum, in which a raggedy clown walks behind people and makes fun of how fat they are or how far their boobs stick out. Intermittently, the roller skates guy shot past, swiveling through a line of plastic cups and, at one terrifying point, doing so with a child on his shoulders.
Next stop was Crepes-A-Gogo, which is no longer really called Crepes-A-Gogo, but I still call it that. Our waiter was named Hugo and he claimed also to be Victor Hugo despite being about 22. Hugo called me “Chrees.” He told us to stop ordering water. He claimed to remember the Salt Lake City Olympics, but later recanted that. At one point during dinner, as I was deep in conversation with our table, I put the glass water bottle up to my lips as if to drink straight from it. From across the restaurant Hugo shouted “Chrees! Be cool with the water!”

The evening was coming on and I always love watching the sunset from Montmartre. I made sure everyone felt like climbing  430 feet to the Sacre Couer, and there were no dissenters. So Josh, Aubrey, Devin, Jason, David and I took the Montmartre challenge, powered by the thoughts of gelato at the top. We sat at the Sacre Couer for a half hour or so, and took in the view of the city as the evening lights winked on. Then we walked through the village a bit, stopping so Jason and I could infiltrate a giant pack of Asian tourists:

We were also fortunate to get a picture of this elderly Parisian watching the world go by in his underpants:

To close the evening, we took the Seine boat tour which is super romantic as long as you don’t listen to the audio guide and provided you have someone to make out with. I was one for two, but I still enjoyed myself. The evening sky was lit with bursts of lightning in the distance and there was a cool breeze. “This is so amazing,” Aubrey kept sighing as Notre Dame and Ile de St. Louis floated past. And she’s right.

Note to Daniel Whiting: we got lots of people to raise the roof this year. It was a huge success.

Note to Kaitlyn Dahl: nobody peed on us.