Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Paris: Day 4

Things I've learned about myself since arriving in France:

I have never eaten real produce before, and I will hate all fruits and vegetables once I get home, because they will never taste like this.

I can sweat, like... A LOT.

I really like monuments to the dead. (Cemeteries, tombs, monuments, whatever.)

When necessary, I apparently won't hesitate to swear at someone else in their native tongue instead of my own. I will still be grateful they didn't hear me, but other people will share a laugh with me.

These last two I learned specifically during my trip to Pere-Lachaise today, where I also learned that you're going to have a lot more people walk up to you with a question or just to strike up a conversation if you're going solo. Today I met:

A lovely Irish teenage girl in front of Oscar Wilde's grave who agreed with me that it looked more interesting when you could kiss the stone directly, but it's probably a good idea to have the glass up;

a tour guide without a group who talked to me about Gertrude Stein and how baking marijuana into cakes was all her idea (he also accused me of being a know-it-all and guessed I was a teacher because I knew who the people he named were, like Marcel Marceau and Oscar Wilde and Marcel Proust); 

a young American couple (I failed to ask where they were from but they smacked of New York) who asked me what Dachau was (/sigh... the monument is only the one right next to the one for Auschwitz);

and a number of people who asked me to take pictures for them, in front of Proust's grave, the Mur des Federes, and a particularly ornate sepulcher for a count I don't know anything about.

Speaking of pictures...

Honestly? I took this one for Chris and Beth, because of Tyrion.
(Look at the sign, not the grave.)

TONS of these surround the crematorium. Some were very new (the latest I saw
was 2004). I found an NSFW one. I'll post it when I post EVERYTHING when I get home.

Thanks to this guy, I have "I woke up in a new Bugatti" stuck in my head.
The groupless tour guide I mentioned? He told me Bugatti and 21 members of
his family are buried in this simple - but very large -  plot. Sweet, no?
And I know you're dying to know why I swore at a French person in French. Long story short, this guy was walking through the cemetery and talking at (not to, but at) everyone he passed. I figured he was begging for money, so I loaded up my "sorry-I-don't-have-any"-in-French gun, but when he got to me, he was definitely not speaking any language I know. (My best guess is Korean, but it was in this really cartoony, obnoxious voice.) When he passed me (after I said "I don't understand you" in French) he said mockingly, "I don't speak French!" I called him a "con," but he didn't hear me... however, the seemingly French-only couple in front of me did, and they had been annoyed by him too. We shared a laugh.

Edit to add:
Birk went to Normandy with Pete & Steve, and I am proud to announce that he held his own when he discovered that, once you leave Paris, most people don't (or won't?) speak English. Photos of that day trip to come when we get home.

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