Culture Shocks: Oh, a million (why can’t I get used to things easily like I could when I was younger?!). The top three being (read on to understand why there are four bullets yet I say three top points…I CAN count, I promise):
Eggs and some kinds of milk are NOT refrigerated
I do not have hot water. Or a shower. Or a toilet seat. (This isn’t so much a culture shock, I guess, as I condition shock.)
Listening to people speak French on the street and listening to real accordion music waft through my window makes me feel as if I’m in a parallel universe
The Roma EVERYWHERE- why have I not noticed this before!? The biggest shock was their VERY sneaky ways to try to pull one over on me. The best, and almost successful, method: Write nonsense on a piece of paper and place it over the item you want to steal (in this case, an iPhone). As the poor reader furiously tries to make sense of what the paper says, wrap your hand around the iPhone so when you pull the paper away, the iPhone is underneath it and the reader, still puzzled from the interaction, will not notice
Palace at the Jardin du Luxembourg
1) Sacre Couer
2) Cimitiere Montmarte
3) Tour Eiffel
4) Arc Du Triopmhe
5) St Eustache
8) St Severin
9) Shakespeare and Co.
10) Notre Dame (more inspection later)
11) Jardin du Luxembourg
12) St Sulpice
13) St Germain des Pres
Money Spent: Too much, plus a £90 train booking penaltybecause I’m dumb and can’t read dates.
Prevailing Thoughts: I’m really glad that I have the opportunity to stay in a “real” place in Paris. I think that I’m getting a more authentic look into Paris life than I would if I were staying in a hotel or even a hostel, as has been my experience before this. I like that. I also think that being off the beaten track has given me the opportunity to speak more French. When I’m around touristy areas, people seem to immediately switch to English when I give them a blank, glazed over look after they’ve spoken to me. In this neighborhood, people just assume I’m drunk or on crack (or whatever the drug of choice is around here- absinthe?) and repeat themselves (in French), which forces me to make conversation.
My crowning moment in French this week: Returning a €19,90 parapluie completely in French after I found one for a much more reasonable € 4,50 down the road. (Or talking to the cute waiter at the brasserie on the corner. I was able to hold a whole conversation and understand EVERYTHING-kind of. The fact that I’d had two glasses of wine could not possibly have made me more courageous, could it? No matter, I still got a free cafe au lait out of it- and I think he got a kick out of my attempts to joke with him in my paltry “second” language.)