Day 46 – from a place where bakeries are on every block

I didn’t get around to updating you all for a week now, but I had a really good excuse this time, I promise. We’ve been living it up in Paris, home of historic megalomaniacs, where there is too much to do and not enough time. I’ll start with this failed attempt at a video blog:

So as you can see, I was attacked by ferocious Louvre pidgeons on my birthday – but I managed to get all 6 pastries down before they got me, so it was an altogether good birthday. Pidgeons aside, I thought maybe it would be quicker if I just video logged everything I did and posted it – but the real reason video blogging failed me was a personal conflict of style. As the week progressed I realized too many special moments unfold outside the camera lens, and it’s impossible to capture the elements of what we are experiencing without a certain amount of scripting, which in my opinion, defeats the purpose of our rather candid trip. Also, as I mentioned before, the lack of a proper computer makes video almost technologically impossible. Anyways…

We arrived in Paris a week ago, and settled into a cheap yet surprizingly cozy HOTEL. Yep, for the first time the whole trip, it turns out it was cheapest for David and I to share a private room complete with shower (: This has been convenient, but the lack of hostel-ish-sense-of-community has been very apparent. Combined with our inability to speak French, we have made far less friends than any other part of the trip. Although it has led to some very amusing interactions:

On my birthday I happened to stumble upon a cheese shop, and though I knew/know only a handful of French phrases, I knew I had to venture in, for the sack of my taste buds. The owner was (appropriately) one of the fattest people I’ve seen in Europe, very friendly but didnt speak a word of English. In French, I told him I cant speak French but I would like some cheese. So to help me decide, he begins with ‘le chevre ou le vache?’ Now, I knew that this meant goats or cows cheese, but I wasn’t sure which I wanted because I wanted to taste them all – but my moments of silence were interpretted as an inability to understand the language, so he rephrased for my level of intellect, “Moooooo ou Baaaaaa?” (points to cows and goats section)… as you can imagine, an amusing 10 minutes later, I had sampled about 6 fantastic cheeses and settled on a nice wedge of local Comte.

Speaking of food – the food over the past week, though minimalistic at times due to budget, has been nothing short of heavenly. Some additions to the food log include a spinach-and-black-truffle ravioli in a gorganzola and truffle cream sauce, rigatoni in pumpkin-mascarpone sauce, 13 new cheeses and countless pastries.

The week activities included 18 hrs at the Louvre spread over 2 days (we love art, history and art history), a daytrip to Versailles, and a few days of walking through the sites of downtown Paris. We’ve found that walking everywhere (as opposed to metros), though it takes hours, provides a greater-depth look into a city. There is so much to talk about but I couldn’t possibly do justice. All I can really say is that the French have brought new meaning to the word ‘extravagance’ for me. Judging by the example of Mr Sun King himself, or the Louvre’s unending collections, or the fact that I can get 4 fresh croissants downstairs for 2 euro, it would appear the French have cultivated a strong appreciation for the finer things in life. I am still rather overwhelmed and I have yet to digest it all (Both literally and figuratively). In the mean time, you guys can enjoy some picturesSidenote: I managed to meet up with the Paris meditation group and my buddy Scott, which was – well, refreshing (: Tomorrow Scott David and I head to Normandy, where William the Conqueror left to invade England, and where his descendants invaded/liberated France. Interesting cycle, no?

Peace/Love

Janak

6 thoughts on “Day 46 – from a place where bakeries are on every block

  1. Shreya

    Love the pidgeons attacking, mooo or baaa, the owl baby that some greek put on a cup, and the guy who looks like rhett. France seems awesome 😀

  2. Ramee

    Those pigeons had the right idea; I would’ve done the same thing. Also, I don’t think you’re aware of how jealous I am of your Louvre excursion. I’m liking the Horus photo +Versailles +Nike of Samothrace (art history nostalgia)

    I think that if I was on your diet of cheese/bread, I would have lost all my plasma fluid. MOOO lactose intolerance.

  3. mlo

    i am curious, how does real horchata taste different from the stuff we can buy in san diego?

    also, i like your scarf

  4. Janak

    Mike, horchata in spain is served as it was originally invented: with a tiger-nut base (chufa) rather than a rice base, and at room temperature. I think this gives it a more rounded out flavor (sweet and savory), rather than the straight-up sugar taste we normally get in san diego (although I love and miss the Mexican horchata too)

  5. Naren

    I loved the fat merchant saying “Moooo or Baaaa”. That’s classic. I’ve never wanted to go to France. For some reason I have “issues” with the French. But your pictures and descriptions of the trip give me a whole new outlook. And I have to add…you sure know how to write well, for an engineer.
    I’m really enjoying your blog. C U Soon, bhai. peace