Print Story We're gonna turn this world upside down
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 10:53:48 PM EST) Watching, Me, Paris, OBLF (all tags)
Watching. Me. OBLF. Londoner in Paris: Day One.

What I'm Watching
Saw "Poseidon" at the cinema. Not too good. Starts out pretty well, is grimmer than I was expecting and has what should be very tense scenes, but never really adds up. I think there are big problems with the pacing: you really need some quite space, some places to get your breath back; but instead it just jumps from one oh-my-god-we're-all-going-to-die set piece to another. #652E41

Went on a "mini-break" to Paris from Tuesday to Thursday. Have a big bunch of handwritten notes to fill in and type up: first day stuff below. Just stuck to the usual tourist track though, so don't expect anything very interesting.

Preparations: compromised on the travelling light thing and took a pair of lightweight shorts instead of the spare trousers. Worked out OK, though there were intermittent showers in spite of the weather forecast, so I think I might have done more walking in the rain if I'd had spare shoes and trousers, instead of ducking into Le Metro all the time. On the other hand, particularly on the way back it was nice to be able to navigate the rush hour with just my usual little rucksack.

Gold star for travel helpfulness goes to my compass watch, allowing me to fearlessly navigate a strange city, strike confidently out in general directions, identify eastbound and westbound Metro trains despite not knowing the termini, and to methodically quarter maze-like museums with merciless precision. Wow. So this is what it's like to have a sense of direction.

Paris Day 1: Eurostar newbie notes
Check-in is easy. To get your ticket just slot your credit card into the ticket machine and enter the booking code (not sure why even that's necessary though, the credit card should be unique most of the time and it could always prompt for the code if you've booked multiple tickets). There are plenty of machines, though some are half-hidden on an opposite wall. Then you just slide your ticket into the departure gates and walk through. After that there are airport-type passport control, bag scanners and metal detectors. Don't know how or if you can check baggage in, but there's plenty of space on the train, with extra luggage racks by the doors as well as overhead compartments.

Did make a newbie mistake and went through the first departure gate, then had to barge through fourteen carriage-lengths of people to get to my seat. There are gates all along the platform, so you can just pick one near your place.

Got my bag searched which was irritating since I thought I was old, respectable and conservatively-dressed nowadays. My nifty aluminium glasses case might have been a disadvantage there: they have metal detectors at the major museums too and it seemed to confuse several security people.

The Eurostar economy class is comfortable for a 5'10'' guy like me: slightly more space than a UK intercity train, a lot more space than an economy flight.

Paris Day 1: Arrival
Quite a productive first day. Bit of a mixup at the hotel: room was apparently flooded, so they sent me to another hotel in the same chain. Closer to the Louvre so all right with me: the first one was halfway between the Louvre and the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord.

Seems slightly less electronical: the taxi driver had to be told where to go by me, and when we got to the hotel the receptionist had to go out and pay him in cash. Driver was very polite and fairly friendly despite some confusion. Didn't really see any of the legendary Parisian rudeness, but that was probably because I stuck to the tourist trail only really spoke to people in the tourist industry. You'd have to be pretty dumb and arrogant to openly insult the people whose money you depend on, after all. So it probably only happens in London.

Room was OK. Smallish single but comfortable: AC and own bathroom. Has a strange dry minibar, with soft drinks and snacks at about five times local prices. TV costs 12 Euro per day when you switch it on, so didn't bother.

Paris Day 1: Musée d'Orsay
Bought a Paris Museum Pass: don't think it saved me much money but saves an awful lot of queuing, so well worth it. Louvre is closed Tuesdays so went to the Musée d'Orsay instead.

Blown away by the sheer volume and variety there. It concentrates on late 19th and early 20th century stuff, including the Impressionists: they've just got room after room after room of great art. You can see the same names in the London galleries, but what would be a highlight in London is just a random piece of wall here. Particularly struck by Gaugin's paintings and the Monet and Renoir nudes. Recognized a couple of things from when they visited London. like a sculpture of a dancer by Degas.

Paris Day 1: Tour
Also strolled around a bit: went down to Ile de Paris (river island, linked by bridges, oldest part of the city) ands saw the Hotel de Ville, Palais de Justice.

Walked around and inside the cathedral de Notre Dame. Looks surprisingly squat and solid from the front, almost more like a fortress than a church. Impressive from the sides though, and with a powerful atmosphere of age inside. Lit a couple of candles, probably sacrilegiously but what the hey.

After that braved the Metro and the RER (overland rail). Dead easy to use, providing you remember that different RER trains use the same platforms. Ticketing is much simpler than in London, and machines easier to use. Some have touch-screens, but the older ones have a different system: after a couple of minutes of stabbing futily at the screen I realised you have to roll a little roller-cylinder gadget to select the right menu option, then press OK/cancel buttons to proceed. Pretty cheap: 1.4 Euros to go anywhere one-way in the central zone: you get a little paper ticket which you stick in the automatic gates and retrieve.

Didn't try it in the rush hour, or later than 22:30, but was not too crowded, comfortably cool, and with astonishingly sober passengers in the evening.

Went up the Eiffel tower at dusk. Found it surprisingly nerve-wracking to trust in the ancient looking machinery. Somehow would have felt safer if the giant exposed cable guide wheels weren't painted a cheery yellow. Superb view from the top, though it closed in a bit with the rain. Queue was about 15 minutes: there are ticket offices in each leg.

Ate at a brasserie near the louvre. Veal escalope in mushroom sauce: nice, though a little tougher than I was expecting.

Operation Become Less Fat
CW: 11st 10
SW: 14st 4
Loss: 36 pounds
Weeks: 26
Loss per week: 1.4 pounds

Still managed to lose a pound: spending all day walking around must have compensated for the extra calories.

Saturday 27 May 2006
Breakfast: 2 tea, sausage roll, 2 large slices bread, piece cheese, 2 olives, tomato.
Lunch: 125g venison leg steak (140kcal, 28g protein), potatoes, broccoli, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip.
Supper: 4 slices bread, 3 slices ham, tomato.
Snacks: 1 tea.
Booze: 1 beer, 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 4 Level A+. Light and heavy weight dumb-bells

Sunday 28 May 2006
Breakfast: 2 coffee. 2 slices bread, chicken broth, piece ham
Lunch: Chilli con carne, rice, butter. Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia frozen yoghurt. (169kcal,4g)
Supper: 2 slices bread, mini steak and kidney pudding, tomato. Choc and black cherry dessert.
Booze: 2 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 4 Level A+.

Monday 29 May 2006
Breakfast: 2 coffee, 2 slices toast, 2 eggs, 3 slices pastrami.
Lunch: 125g venison leg steak (140kcal, 28g protein), potatoes, broccoli, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip. Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia frozen yoghurt. (169kcal,4g)
Supper: 3 pieces bread, chicken soup, 2 pieces cheese spread, 2 slices pastrami
Snacks: 1 hot choc with splash whisky
Booze: 1 whisky
Exercise: 5BX Chart 4 Level A+. Dumb-bells: light 5kg 3x10, medium 7,5kg 3x10, heavy 12.5kg 3x10.

Tuesday 30 May 2006
Breakfast: 2 coffee, 4 small pieces bread with cheese spread,2 slices pastrami
Supper: Veal escalope in mushroom sauce, chips, tiny side salad. 1 chocolate
Booze: None

Wednesday 31 May 2006
Breakfast: 2 croissants, bread roll buttered, 1 piece cheese, 1 piece salami, orange juice, 2 small coffee, pain au chocolat.
Lunch: Orange juice, small brie baguette
Supper: rabbit stuffed with stuff on a bed of spinach. Choc, merigue, ice cream dessert. Bread roll. Toast and stuff.
Booze: 2 red wine

Thursday 1 June 2006
Breakfast: 1 croissant. 2 bread rolls with cream cheese, slice ham, orange juice, 3 small coffee, pain au chocolat.
Lunch: Rabbit leg and terrine of duck with salad, potatoes, mushrooms. Orange juice.
Supper: 400g potatoes, 2 beefburgers, Ratatoulle, Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia frozen yoghurt
Second supper: bread roll with cheese spread
Booze: 1 beer, 3 whisky

Friday 2 June 2006
Breakfast: 1 slice bread, 1 jumbo pasty
Supper: 3 slices bread, 1 piece cheese, Chunky Chilli soup. "Count on Us" strawberry trifle.
Second supper: 4 very small slices bread, 2 slices tongue, 2 olives. Large mango.
Booze: 2 whisky, 1 Baileys.
Exercise: 5BX Chart 4 Level A+. Dumb-bells: light 5kg 3x10, medium 10kg 3x10, heavy 14kg 3x10.

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We're gonna turn this world upside down | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)
Wipo by joh3n (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 11:39:07 PM EST

I am a crime against humanity

Hmmm by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 11:55:30 PM EST
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
San Francisco! (nt) by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 07:45:44 AM EST

[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
OMPI by martingale (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 11:56:40 PM EST
Roma, but go in spring or autumn only.
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
Added by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 11:58:37 PM EST
Not a bad idea. Also added Florence for the Uffizi.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
I'd rather by TurboThy (2.00 / 0) #15 Sun Jun 04, 2006 at 03:18:47 AM EST
go to Florence than Rome, and I've been both places.

In re: Amsterdam, I find the city rather boring, though it has 1) character and 2) two world-class museums. The Rijksmuseum is being rebuilt right now, though, so I'd probably hold off on going to Amsterdam for a year or two (at least if you haven't been before).

OTOH, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum put on killer displays. My wife saw the Rembrandt/Caravaggio special at the Rijksmuseum a couple months ago (while I was stuck in a warehouse in Beverwijk working, gah) and was positively blown away.
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.

[ Parent ]
Ticketing by thunderbee (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 01:04:14 AM EST
The touch-screen machines are the older ones ;-)
I guess the roller-cylinder thingie is much more robust and withstands abuses better than touch-screens.

The shape of things to come by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 01:21:03 AM EST
I hate dodgy touchscreens where you have to press about five times for it to register...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Roller Thingies by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 04:13:17 AM EST
Last time I was at London City Airport, the DLR used them. Felt shamefully confused for a few moments...

Amsterdam is fun by me0w (4.00 / 1) #9 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 07:47:56 AM EST
If you go at the end of July/beginning of August they have arts festivals with street performances. Much fun!

WIPO: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 08:27:48 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

what?! by BlueOregon (4.00 / 2) #12 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 11:33:02 AM EST

...Zehlendorf, or perhaps a little Krumme Lanke action ... that's what I expected from you.

[ Parent ]
Why? by TurboThy (2.00 / 0) #16 Sun Jun 04, 2006 at 03:28:50 AM EST
Because it's quaint by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #17 Sun Jun 04, 2006 at 06:23:04 AM EST
and relatively clean.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
WIPO by Herring (4.00 / 2) #11 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 10:16:02 AM EST

Eurostar: Having been to Les Arcs for the snowboarding on the train, it's so much less hassle than flying. OK, the train is 8 hours, but when you add up the extra crap of flying (check-in, waiting for luggage, transfer etc.) then the timing is probably similar. When you also add in the hassle factor of taking a snowboard on an aeroplane, the train wins hands-down. The food is shit on the Eurostar, but there's no objection if you take a couple of bottles of wine and a picnic.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

WIPO by greyrat (4.00 / 2) #13 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 11:40:28 AM EST
  • Venice.

  • WIPO by Christopher Robin was Murdered (3.50 / 4) #14 Sat Jun 03, 2006 at 02:31:00 PM EST
    East Timor.

    Think of the great diary entries that'd produce.

    Day 2: Dili by ammoniacal (4.00 / 3) #18 Sun Jun 04, 2006 at 03:33:56 PM EST
    Queue outside the GB Embassy longest I've ever seen. Should've bought tickets in advance.
    Refugee camps pleasantly devoid of children.

    "To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

    [ Parent ]
    We're gonna turn this world upside down | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)