This post is a little earlier than most, as we had the evening free. I am writing this, 9:10 (21:10) here. I’m in the hotel lobby with a strange French science/game show in the background. I noticed that on my computer, the homepage of my blog is really messed up! I hope that is just a technical glitch here, and doesn’t affect you all in the States, or wherever you are!
Today we met and walked through our neighborhood to the Place des Vosoges (http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=place+des+vosges&FORM=BIFD). We walked through a nice neighborhood with many, many cute stores and boutiques. I will have to return to the Marais quartier and do some major shopping! The Place des Vosoges is an old palace with a very nice park/courtyard in the center. It was built by Henry the VIIIth and was modeled after Italian gardens. Surprisingly, Paris was an extremely backwards place in the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance! In fact, one of the de Medici‘s (I think Katherine) introduced the fork and undergarments to the French People! Merci boucoup!!
We then walked through the Jewish quarter, which is apparently shrinking every year. We ate at this Falafel place. I had a pita with a hamburger patty and coleslaw, red cabbage, and cucumbers inside it. This was not good….not good at all. I had approx. 3 bites and then proceeded to eat the bread. Now, I have been pretty open-minded about the cuisine here, but this was simply GROSS. The meat had a green tint to it….no thank you! One of the girls is allergic to Sesame Seeds and unknowingly ate some in her pita. She had an allergic reaction. Others became ill. The falafel place was just awful. Next door was a Jewish pastry shop, and that was good. I had some type of Almond Biscotti. Fun fact: Almond in french is “Amande”. It is kind of strange to see my name on all types of food!
After we dropped our poor classmate off at the hotel, we took to metro to Montmartre to tour a college, or Middle School. One of Dr. V’s good friends has a son at this school. It was very interesting, very different from my middle school. There were no Macs, which is unusual in schools. That really stood out to me. Also, the kids can take English, German, Chinese, Spanish, Latin, and Greek. What a wonderful thing! I wish I could have started legitimately learning a language that early. We then all had a Coke (it’s made with cane sugar over here, not corn syrup!) and went to the very edge of Paris, near the 20eme arrondissement, where Dr. V’s friend Anne works. It was quite a long metro ride, with many line changes. I loved it! We visited the world headquarters of CGT, or la Confederation Generale du Travail. the CGT is France’s largest and most important labor union. (The whole time I was there, I was thinking about how much my dad would have LOVED it there….) We got a tour. It was interesting for a couple reasons- first the man spoke French. Dr. V did a little translating, but it is always nice to listen and see how much I can comprehend. It was neat to see the inside of a corporation over there. It seemed the same, just with more kissing of the cheeks. I don’t really know much about unions, but it was interesting to see the big differences in how they are perceived in Europe versus in the States. For example, the CGT doesn’t endorse any politicians, only certain policies. This is interesting, as it seems to be the opposite back home. We got free shirts! Yay, a leftist labour unionshirt! My first article of French clothing….
For dinner, Hayley, Laura, and I walked to a Monop’- the mini version of a Target. I had a turkey, cheese, and butter sandwich. Lesson Learned: butter is GOOD on a sandwich! Plus, if you walk as much as we do, you burn it all off! Now it is time to journal, blog, and go to bed. We are going to Deauville tomorrow, in Normandy. Breakfast is at 6:15! I dont think I will blog tomorrow- we will be gone most of the day.
P.S.- I saw a land cruiser today!
P.P.S.- I just learned by watching French tv that lemons float, but limes sink! Interesting!