Friday, April 24, 2009

Tour Eiffel Adventures

Ah, spring time in Paris! All of the trees are in bloom, petals fly through the air, and the pristine Parisian parks are overflowing with tulips. What better way to take in the beautiful weather than with a picnic at the Tour Eiffel? On Monday, Emily and I did such a thing. At a nearby grocery store we picked up some litchi and rose yogurt, apples, cumin Gouda cheese, and a log of goat cheese. Accompanied by a demi-baguette (half the size of a regular baguette), we dined like queens! We sat on a bench in a park next to the Tour Eiffel. The park is quite lovely; there is a pond filled with ducks and Koi fish, a little waterfall, big leafy trees, and walking paths through the very manicured lawns. Pretty romantic, right? It must be, because as we were finishing our lunch, we noticed a young couple 20 feet away, sucking face. They finally came up for air, then the man dropped to one knee and proposed! The woman said yes and Emily and I cheered and clapped for them. What a fantastic place to propose!

Emily and I then walked around and under the Tour Eiffel, laughing at the prices to walk up (5 euros to walk! That's a lot of steps. And quite a bit more to take an elevator up), mocked those waiting in the snaking lines (at least several hundred people deep), and ignored the pushy peddlers, trying to sell us cheap Tour Eiffel key chains ('1 euro; 1 euro, good deal! Where you from?'). I happened to notice the name Sturm written on the Tour Eiffel. I have no idea what kind of contribution this past Sturm gave, whether it be financial or engineering, but I figured it was worth a photo. We then crossed the Seine river and walked up to the Palais de Chaillot, where we watched young kids in rollerblades do really stupid things. I think this is a sign of aging. I watched these kids going down stairs backwards and kept thinking to myself, 'Man, they could really hurt themselves. Do they know how long it takes to heal from a broken arm? Do they know how much a doctor's visit will cost their parents?' I'm definitely getting old.

After spending some time people watching and soaking in the sun, Emily and I headed back across the Seine, past the Tour Eiffel, and walked through the Champs Mars, the large park behind the Tour Eiffel. Mini-lecture: most of the parks in Paris are, as mentioned above, in pristine condition with perfect lawns. The lawns stay so perfect becauce you aren't allowed to walk, sit, picnic, or poo your dog on them. Some parks have designated areas where you can be on the grass, but the majority of the lawn is for viewing purposes only. Because of this restriction, whenever I see a lawn that can be sat on, I have a strong desire to roll around on the grass like a kid. So far I've been able to restrain myself. We'll see how long that lasts.

Continuing on... Emily and I walked trough the Champs Mars, around the Ecole Militaire, and headed to a café near Bobby's lab. I have read that if you want to sound like a local, you ask the waiter for un crème instead of un café crème. If you ask for un café crème, the waiter, knowing you to be a foreigner, will bring you a huge latte instead of a normal sized one. The huge latte includes a huge price tag as well. I decided to put this theory to test and I ordered us deux crèmes, s'il vous plaît. I got really excited when the waiter brought us two small cups. The theory, however, was not true. Either the waiter mis-heard me or, more likely, my accent fuddled my request, but whatever the reason, Emily and I ended up with deux cafes (two espressos). Too embarrassed to correct the order, we drank the jet-fuel, um, I mean espresso, after went on our way.

That night, we took our new rice cooker on her maiden voyage. In our tiny kitchen/shower, the three of us squashed together to peel, chop, and slice for our tofu and vegetable stir-fry. I only got burned twice, the rice cooker slightly foamed over, and we discovered I accidentally bought sushi rice. All in all, a success! Accompanied by Bretagne cidre, we ate our hearty meal and followed it with one of my favorite desserts, mille feuilles (literally, a thousand leaves, but in the States we call it a Napolean).

Ah, spring time in Paris!

1 comment:

  1. This Sturm was a mathematician:çois_Sturm