I woke up at 5am.

Had to leave at 6am, or else my family and I were not going to make it to the airport on time.

You might be thinking, how in the world does a connection flight from Vancouver-Seattle to Seattle-Paris take so long that you need to leave at 6am?

Well, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. While Vancouver->Seattle->Paris is indeed the path I took to get here, it did not involve a connection flight.

It did involve 3-4 hours of driving in a Alamo-owned Kia 2017 SUV.

We also got there much hella early. I thought the trip was going to be 5 hours or so, but we ended up being almost 4 hours early for the flight. Heck, the damn display boards that show departures and arrivals didn’t even show our flight because it was too far away.

So, we waited.

Sometime before leaving the house at about 5:20 am, the still-drowzy me decided it would be a fun thing to bring the Lucina figma with me and take pictures of her “travelling” the world. Sleep-deprived me still thinks that is a good idea, but neither of them realized how awkward, embarassing, and time-consuming it would be to do that. It wasn’t until I tried to take a shot of her “closing” the door did it occur to me. So I swapped her out for a key-chain.

Simple....r

Simple(r)

Much more manageable.

Our plane gate got moved because the gate we were originally supposed to be at was taken by a plane that should’ve left at 9am, but was instead delayed until 12:10.

I had never flown Delta before, and didn’t actually know much about Delta airlines, other than the information about focus on customer service that I heard about in class, but frequently attribute it to the wrong company. I was pleasantly surprised about the flight. While economy class will never be exciting or comfortable for long double digit hour flights, their on-board entertainment was nice (they had Finding Dory,and some other recent movies, and oddly enough, TED Talks), food was good and given out frequently (snack, lunch, snack, breakfast, with water & drinks spaced between), and the people were nice. It was an improvement over constantly flying Air China/other Chinese airlines.

I also took a lot of pictures of Lucina doing stuff on the plane. I mean what else was I going to do?

When we finally did arrive near 9am Paris time (9 hours ahead of Vancouver), we were faced with delays involving Paris airport staff not being aware we were there, an Uber strike, and some early-morning difficulties (I mean the loading people didn’t show up when the staircase guys did, and they forgot to come in the first place). Stepping into the airport was the first realization of “I can’t assume people speak English here”. While I might have learned some French in secondary school, I am definitely not good enough to be able to use it. Throughout my entire short time in Paris, I always wondered if I should begin a conversation with a shop attendant with French and then switch to English if it doesn’t work out, or just use English. I stuck to the latter most of the time. I probably should’ve done the first option, but I remember Larouche saying French people don’t like others butchering their language (and I was embarrassed).

Though, knowing some French helped when reading signs and things like that. I could kinda tell what food I was buying/eating, and I knew generally what the signs and directions meant. It would’ve been a lot more helpful if there wasn’t English translations for basically anything of note though. I would just read the English one, then skim the French one and then nod to myself. “Ah, of course, yes, that makes sense.”

Our tour didn’t start until Saturday, and it was Friday morning, so what did we do? Explore Paris! Duh. (with the help of a tour guide)

We first went to the Chateau de Versailles (no I am not doing the fancy a). It was still early (about 10am), and there was heavy fog in the morning. The palace was nice. Lots of old paintings of previous kings and other people I should remember from social studies. More French paintings, nice living rooms, nice furniture, and a lot more paintings. I guess this would’ve been a lot more inspiring if I knew about French history, or had some kind of connection to it, but even then, how much would I have really cared? When I pretended it was Canadian history (lol), I still couldn’t find much personal importance for it beyond, “cool it was part of our history, and it’s a nice painting”. I guess it’s just not my thing.

I also have a problem with photographing paintings, the rooms, and the furniture. Beyond the fact that the lighting is A W F U L there for photography and the large amount of people crowding the place, I just don’t see the point in photographing pictures. I’ve always thought of photographs as a way to take a snapshot of a memory, tell a story, or remember an event, but how does that happen from taking picture of a picture? Yes, now I have a copy of an old painting of an old French king (Louis XIV), but what of it? I could easily google a photo of that painting, and I would have the same experience looking at that picture, and the one I took. Things like this should be captured with the eye, not the camera. But I digress. Here’s a small album of the palace. I snuck a little bit of Lucina, but it was definitely hard to do (and AWKWARD!!).

After that, we first went for lunch and had some baguette sandwiches, and then went on a boat ride along the Seine. It was freezing out there. It was already 1 Celsius, but then you add in cold wind… it was painful. The river was nice though. Fog started to peel back a bit, so it was easier to get photos. Here’s a few of them (I’m lazy).

And then with what short time was left, we explored a bit of the Louvre. This place is incredible. It’s hard to describe how impressive it is. There’s just so much stuff here! Once again, my thought on taking pictures of pictures applies here, and a little bit to sculptures as well. But I had to do it. Also, museum’s lighting is not very good for photography. They shine the light directly at the canvas and it refracts light and makes part of the photos white. Yuck.

Before a small album, there’s something I need to say about the Mona Lisa. The picture is very small compared to the many other massive works in the museum, yet it’s by far the most popular work there. But the most interesting thing is what people do when they see the Mona Lisa. They don’t really go look at it, because they’ve seen it on the internet before. What they do is just take a glimpse of the picture, then proceed with the actual important part – taking pictures of the Mona Lisa. So many people there are taking selfies with it, or taking pictures of it behind a reflective glass box. Too many times do you see camera flashes go off (that damage pictures!) and people retaking selfies. We live in a world where sharing your experiences with others is more important than the actual experience itself. I find it a little bit of an insult to the many works of art in the Louvre. Of course you’ll see the odd art student around, making sketches of the paintings and sculptures, but too often you just see people press the shutter button and then move on. These paintings were a lot more enjoyable viewing experience than the national history ones in the palace.

Also, you can buy a 3DS cartridge for 20 euro that is basically a virtually guide throughout the museum with 30 hours+ of audioguide. Definitely a more interesting purchase than one of the many books they have. And of course, I bought it. I could probably buy the books online, but not this.

Here’s the album.

And then it was time to go to the hotel. The hotel was really small, and the elevator fit like 6 people max. The beds for 2 separate people (my parents) and 1 person (me) were basically the same thing, only it was split in half for the two people bed. Weird. The washrooms also don’t have exhaust fans… or shampoo. Just body wash. Also, I need to comment on driving in Paris.

It’s C R A Z Y.

It’s like China without the masses of people, and drivers who are going to run you over. People walk basically beside the car, generally no one seems to like stopping, and there’s always a traffic jam somewhere. The roads are super small, cars go through all the most random little paths to get around traffic, and they have intersections in intersections IN INTERSECTIONS. They also have crosswalks that are split in two. There’s a light to lets you get to the middle of the road, then another light that lets you get to the end. It’s weird. If I had to drive here, I’d go crazy.

Well, I am already kind of crazy for not sleeping yet. It’s past midnight and I got to wake up at 6 again.

Later.

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