here are some before and after pictures with our "swiss miss lady" (denise acabo) as i named her. my friend and i met her on our first trip to paris. that pic is first. her shop was right down the street from where we stayed so we stopped by her place every day on the way to or from the metro. on our recent adventure we were able to swing by her shop again. that's the second pic, me and two of my favorite ladies. ha! of course she speaks no english and i no french but my friend's fiancee translated for us and as my wife pointed out, when we went in this time i spoke in my "speaking to a 'foreigner'" voice--loud, slow, truncated, nouns and verbs only, no articles ("i here 8 year ago."). i actually brought a picture of her to paris but didn't know we would be in the area that day or else i would have brought it with me. anyway, she told me to come back 8 years later with my kids. awww, how sweet. here's a cool "review" of her place with some more info...
koreans, koreans everywhere...
one thing i found funny was how many koreans there were ("not that there's anything wrong with that"). i'm not just talking about the major sites but everywhere we went, even at the table next to us on our last night out to eat. i always wonder how they find their way around when they don't speak or read a lick of french or english. so resourceful. shows you how far you can get by pointing and with hand gestures. i mean, how exactly do they find their way to chartres?
paris is similar to the u.s. in terms of its populace--blacks, whites, yellows, etc. so it took a little getting used to hearing everybody speak french. i see the same looking people there that i see here so obviously, growing up here, i expect them to speak english (or korean) but they don't. i see some asian brothers walk down the street and they're speaking french. i see some brother brothers walking down the street and they're speaking french. at times i just wanted to yell out "what up, dawwwg!" just to see if they understood me.
if you're planning on a trip to paris and a cool, comfortable environment means anything to you, get a room with a/c, especially in a summer like this when it's hot everywhere. the nights are okay but the rooms will get hot during the day and it's hard to take a power nap like that. more places seem to have a/c but a lot of others still don't, even some of the nicer ones. the first 5 days we stayed at the holiday inn garden court auteuil in arr. 16. it's toward the edge of town so it took 10-20 min on the metro to get to the sites but the neighborhood was pretty cool and the metro stop was literally a stone's throw away. the last night we stayed at the best western lorette opera down the street from swiss miss lady's place in arr. 9 so the location was fabulous. both places had a/c (although our at the holiday inn didn't work but it was one of the better views and not too hot so we didn't bother changing), english-speaking staff, and were relatively clean. the bw was a very charming little hotel. read my reviews on tripadvisor...heh heh. just trying to get my name out there.
in between the two we stayed at le quai fleuri where the wedding reception was held. it was world cup time again and we got to see france beat spain and brazil while we were there. the brazil match was actually during the reception so when i noticed a number of empty chairs later in the night, i had to slip out and "use the bathroom" for about half an hour and watch the end of the game at the bar with the rest of the people...i mean use the bathroom. of course they won so everybody was in an even better mood and we partied all night. i even introduced them (at my friend's request) to a little nyc style breakdancing. it's a little tougher with dress shoes on. no suicide flip this time.
i think i even forgot to mention that i had foie gras (goose liver) at the reception, thus breaking my streak of not eating internal organs. i thought it had a cheesy quality to it and it was actually pretty good (and good compared to others i'm told) but i just couldn't get the idea out of my head that i was eating liver. i made it a general guideline years ago not to eat internal organs so it broke my heart when i learned that sausage casing was intestine-derived. well, there are exceptions to every rule. actually, i think most now are artificial but still, i'll turn a blind eye for a good sausage or steak. i also forgot to mention that we had this awesome lavendar champagne at the rehearsal dinner (tiny, tiny bubbles). yeah.
and what's up with all the female indian beggars in paris? at any of the major sites they are very aggressive and hound you, asking if you speak english and ask for money for their kids who are at home (who's taking care of them???). it's easy for me just to look like a foreigner and throw out the ol' "no speaka englisha."
more random paris memories and my new job coming soon.