How great to spend the 4th of July in a different country, it goes by totally unnoticed, there aren't hoards of police on every street, people don't die of alcohol poisoning (or at least any more than would on any given day) & there are no hills to light on fire accidentally through a fireworks display! Fab. Thanks Paris.
So today is Sunday (July 4th), or at least it is for the next 23 minutes, so I'll update about this weekend! Saturday was probably one of the greatest days in Paris yet. I woke up to RAIN, hallelujah, which was kind of bad timing because we had a row boat tour planned for that morning, but was fabulous at the same time because we were all so through with the heat, one more day probably would have killed me. So it rained in the morning, then let up & stayed very cool all day long, it was great. A few of us went and explored, since we had the whole day free to whatever we wanted, around Notre Dame in the Latin Quarter. We got un cafe longs & expressos (yes that is how they spell espresso in French) TO-GO which was rare and fantastic, and some Nutella waffles & other pastry fatty things for breakfast. The French but Nutella on everything, I swear. We explored the Latin Quarter a bit, then met up with Frank & Katie down in the Marais.
Went inside another great cathedral in the Marais and did a great deal of window shopping. It's nearly impossible to shop anywhere here because the "sordes" (sales) are all going on right now, and everybody and their mother is out shopping every day of the week! It's horrid. But the Marais was fun and cute, and we hung out there for a few hours, then Abby & I went to buy a few dresses at Zara because it had been SO darn hot here and the clothes we brought just weren't airy enough for comfort. Not sure how these Parisiens stand the humid heat, it's killer (in the worst way possible, of course).
That evening we all planned a very successful & cheap picnic at a park beneath the Eiffel Tower because the Fifa Fan Fest was playing the Spain/Portugal game on the big screen right at the park. We set up a picnic with baguettes, 3 French cheeses, a few bottles of wine & champagne, strawberries & plums, and watched the game. It was probably one of the most fun things I've ever done in my life, major "life points" as Abby would say.
Almost our entire API group was there, and then some. After the picnic we got some Heinekens (that is literally the only beer the French drink, it's sick) and watched the last 20 minutes of the game including the winning goal by Spain. The crowd was nuts, so fun, so alive and so much energy! Really fun evening to be sure. Post-World Cup game we traveled by Metro to the 1ere Arrondissement (near our API office) to get some drinks before a small group of them headed out to the clubs. I was far too tired to join, because "going out" in Paris means leaving around midnight or 1am and staying out til the Metro reopens at 5h30 in the morning. No, thank you! So the rest of the night was really fun, we had a few bottles of wine between the group at a pretty outdoor bar and then most of us headed home & a select few crazies went out and partied on the Seine in a club on a boat that played Middle Eastern techno music. Only in Paris!
Today was Sunday, the 4th of July, and we got to see Versailles! The only down side to the Versailles trip was that the crowds were un-be-lieveable. So many fat, sluggish people walking around with no purpose - it was maddening to say the least. But the grounds are beautiful, the gardens are amazing, and Marie Antoinette was really wealthy and snobby. Loved it. Had lunch at Versailles & came back to Paris for a relaxed afternoon. Had some Nutella & banana crepes and then came back to the FEU to do laundry and rest. Had a fire drill type thing afternoon - the FEU set up a barbecue to celebrate the Fourth and the smoke set off the fire alarms and evacuated the entire building. Pretty funny. Ate hot dogs (which are disgusting here, by the way) with kids from the FEU and celebrated a bit, which people definitely STILL are, right outside my window, screaming and yelling and being drunk assholes in general. But hey, Viva la Amurrica, right?
Now it's almost midnight & I have my Catho testing tomorrow (verbal French test) early in the morning, so I'm going to bed. Night from Paris!