Saturday, September 19, 2009

All Alone In Paris (Part 2)

While I was being facetious when I said earlier "what is there to do in Paris all by myself," I actually didn't expect to do a whole lot. Just get some work done and grab a bite to eat and maybe catch a college game at a local sports bar (as well as stay up all night trying to find the FSU-BYU game).

But Paris has a way of changing ho-hum into WTF really quickly.

In this case, it was mostly good but one bad.

I was working through noon getting ready to go check out The Moose, a Canadian bar several blocks north of Luxembourg Gardens in the 6th arrondissement.

Then I heard what sounded like music and cheering. It continued. And continued. It seemed like it was coming from the other side of the building which happens to be where Blvd St Michel is. (We can hear the RER B rumbling late at night and early in the morning as it runs directly underneath this road.) I thought perhaps it might be the construction workers several apartments down who are always making noises.

Around 2p, I finally left for lunch and discovered that a parade had arrived on Blvd St Michel -- The Techno Parade. I will describe it in a separate post but suffice to say that it only happens once a year, it is nothing like you've ever seen in the states, and it takes 8 hours to go 4 miles (from Denfert-Rochereau to the Bastille), and they pass out foam ear plugs to the spectators/participants because the music is so loud.

After 30 minutes or so of following the parade on the road (literally, on the road) to The Sorbonne I took a left to try to find The Moose and happened across the French Senate building on the north side of Luxembourg Gardens (Rue de Vaugirard), which actually is where the French Senate meets, it's not just a reference to a historical building. There was a long line of people waiting to get in which was interesting because I've never seen anyone go in the building. I just assumed the Senate was not in session and it was closed except maybe for minimal office staff and security.

After talking with several policeman who were trying to redirect traffic disrupted by the Techno Parade, I discovered that this weekend is the only 2 days of the year that the public is allowed in the Senate Building. And it's free.

Well, I was hungry and Amanda was arriving in the morning anyway so I figured we could do it tomorrow. Odd though that the public is not routinely allowed in a legislative building. I don't think you could do that in the US.

Anyway, that's two surprises already.

I found The Moose, albeit not quite as directly as I had planned. Checked out the menu and tv sports schedule. Met the bartender, a nice Brooklyn girl named Lauren. Ate lunch. I'll tell the rest of the story in a separate post.

While at The Moose, the bad surprise happened. My iPhone crashed -- it said I could not longer make or receive calls until I re-synched with iTunes. Easy enough, I figured. I would just re-sync back at the apartment and life will return be blissfully normal again. Turned out -- after a couple hours of phone calls -- its not going to be that easy. Separate post but the short story is I have to ship it back to the states for replacement. Ouch.

I "skyped" Amanda during her layover at Dulles and everything is on schedule for her to arrive in the morning. (I guess I need to talk about Skype in a separate post also. Best thing to ever happen to international travel since trans-atlantic
flights.)

So, for a day I expected to be pretty slow and routine, I

- stumbled across the biggest party parade in Europe,
- discovered that the French Senate is only open this weekend out of the year
- found a nice new bar with friendly American bartender with full menu (something WOS Bar doesn't have) and they show 4 NFL games every weekend.... 2 from the early games and 2 from the late games.
- broke my iPhone.

Well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

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