Sunday, April 30, 2006 

Brussels? Not so much.

April 14, 2006

Maybe it was the dreary weather. Maybe it was the omnipresent signs warning against pickpockets. Or maybe my mind was still in Paris. Whatever it was, I wasn't a big fan of Brussels.

Binky (my daughter - I've called her that since she was a baby, and she is so over it!) and I walked from our hotel to the Grand’Place. While I do admit, it is one of the loveliest squares I've seen in Europe, after you've seen it, then what?

Of course, one of the things Belgium is known for is chocolate. I'm actually not a big chocolate fan, but when in Rome...er, Brussels...

I had two small pieces - one was green tea, the other caramel and earl grey tea. Very good. Bink had a chocolate escargot filled with praline cream, and a milk chocolate something or other.

After more walking and window shopping, we came across a vendor of gauffres, the famous Belgian waffles. Wow. Really good. You might even get me to go back to Belgium for one of those one day. Vanilla scented, served with crème fraîche, in my case, and ice cream in Bink's.

We came across a grocery store and went in to buy a couple of bottles of water, and marvel at all the different food stuff - always entertaining.

Next, it was time to find Petit Julien, aka, the Manneken-Pis. Oh - and did I mention it was raining? Well, it was. A lot. Eventually, we found it. My prude of a daughter was scandalized, but I thought it was cute.

After doing some minor shopping at H&M (where we bought an umbrella) and C&A (where I had to figure out what size bra I wear - quite a task) we headed back to the hotel for a break.

Later, it was time to find dinner. We decided to go touristy, and try (what else) mussels. The chain Leon de Bruxelles was packed, so we went to another place, just down cheesy rue Boucher. Pretty bleak, but oh well. We didn't get a chance to sample the famous frites, but that's okay.

We made it back to the room, did a quick packing job, showered, and went to sleep. We couldn't wait to get the fuck out of Dodge, and get to Amsterdam in the morning.

Friday, April 28, 2006 

Reunited

April 13, 2006

I left Scottie at 7:15, promising to call when I returned to Paris the following Monday. He earned big points for standing naked in his freezing living room to hold me and say goodbye. He asked me if I'd enjoyed my "two night stand."

I took a cab back to the hotel, grabbed my (thankfully) pre-packed bags, checked out of my room and taxied over to the Gare St. Lazare, where I got on my Normandie bound train.

My daughter's host family was kind enough to drive her to Caen and meet me at the train station, saving me a bus ride to the coast.

She looked great! She was so proud - and surprised with herself...she hadn't realized that she really could speak French!

Since they drove her to me, we actually had a few hours to kill...I thought I'd be taking the bus back and forth. Luckily, we able to take the earlier train back to Paris (we had to leave through Paris to get to Amsterdam), which left in ten minutes.

After getting back to the City, we made our way to the Gare du Nord. Instead of waiting for four hours for our original train to Amsterdam, I went to the Thalys window to find out if we could get an earlier train. We could - but we'd have to change trains in Brussels. So, we got the new tickets. We had an uneventful ride to Brussels, and when we arrived, found there was a 45 minute wait for our train to Amsterdam. We'd planned to spend time in Brussels on our way back to Paris from Amsterdam, and since we now had open tickets that could be used from Brussels to Amsterdam at any time, we decided to just stay in Brussels.

We went to the tourist info. kiosk to find a hotel. Hotel rooms in Brussels are surprisingly inexpensive. We got a four-star hotel for €75. Now, normally, I'm more of a two-star type gal, but I thought, "What the heck?" We checked into our fancy hotel, and decided to go to dinner. We chose a restaurant called Et Qui Va Promener Le Chien? The food was fantastic.

The weather was awful. So. Very. Cold. Dreary. Damp and depressing. Why did I want to come here again?

When we got back to hotel, we availed ourselves of the free internet access. After checking my mail, I made my way over to bloglines to catch up on my regular reads, and imagine my surprise when I found that I was the Paris Daily Photo! Funnily enough, at dinner the night before, when I told Scottie that Eric had taken some photos of me, he asked if he would be putting it on his site. I told him, no - the site was for pictures of Paris... Thank you, Eric. My daughter got a big kick out of it when I showed it to her.

Bonus photo! This isn't in Brussels, it's backstage at the Cheetah Girls concert (ugh!), but you've never seen my lovely, Girl Scout Cookie Hall of Fame (5 years running) champion daughter. She figures prominently in the next few entries:


Believe it or not, she is only 10 years old in this photo from December. She turned 11 at the end of January. And no - she's not wearing make up (she's not allowed,) only lip gloss.

 

I am a dork.

Michael - thanks for the tip about comment moderation. I don't know how, why, or when I did that...

 

A Brief Respite

I've noticed that the comments have been eerily quiet since I started posting about Paris. Maybe because everyone is scandalized by my behavior? Or because there aren't any photos of the Eiffel Tower? At any rate, I will continue with the saga on my next post.

For now, here's a nice picture of a 2CV that I took on Ile St. Louis. Everyone loves these: Eric, Tomate Farcie, and Manuel all have them, so here's my contribution. Nice and uncontroversial!



And its bumper sticker:



Cute, no?

Thursday, April 27, 2006 

My Brush with "CeWEBrity"

I've been sidelined for a couple of days with a migraine, but the story continues...

April 12, 2006

I was checking my email in an internet cafe when my phone rang.

Apparently I talk very loudly - judging from all the "shhh!" I received.

"Hello, Buzzgirl? This is Eric from ParisDailyPhoto."

We made plans to meet that afternoon. I had a couple of hours, so I went to the Place des Voges to sit, read and relax:



Soon enough, it was time for me to head back to the steps of the Opéra Bastille and wait. After a few minutes, I heard the "beep beep" of a motorcycle horn. I ignored it. Beeping again. I looked up, and someone is waving to me. I think. I couldn't tell - I couldn't see a face, just a helmet. I waved back, and he drove off. I was a little confused.

Yes, it was Eric. He had just gone to park. We walked around a bit, and he showed me the location of this favorite PDP picture. He took me down trendy (at night, anyway) rue de Lappe. Since it was midday, not a lot was open. Finally, we found a small spot to sit and eat lunch. We talked about all kinds of things, notably socialized medicine, unemployment and macarons! We sat outside in the sun, but it threatened to rain, hitting us with a few drops. Luckily, the weather decided to cooperate, and we remained dry.

After lunch, he (of course) pulled out his camera. He took a couple of photos of me at the table, but said was displeased with the background. I gave him some Girl Scout Cookies - which he knew nothing about!!

He was great (and easy on the eyes, if you know what I'm saying!), and I would have loved to have had more time to hang out with him, but he had an appointment to get to. I walked him back to his motorcycle, and he asked me to sit on the Opéra's steps so he could take another photo. "And hold these," he said, giving me the cookies.

After he took his pictures, I took mine. Here's the one that I think is Eric in a nutshell: him looking thru the lens of his camera.



I had to leave early the next morning to go to Caen to meet my daughter, so I figured I would spend some time packing all my stuff, so I wouldn't have to rush in the morning, so I went back to my room and got everything ready to go.

Later that evening, I had plans to meet up with Scottie for dinner. Through a series of text messages, it was determined that we would meet up at a bar. When I got there, I waited for him to finish his drink, and we went to a different place. When we got to the second place, the first thing we saw upon entering was an older woman talking to a young man who had a cat on a leash. Okay. We ordered drinks, and stood at the bar talking. The woman heard us speaking English and asked where we were from. I told her I was from the United States. She told us that more than thirty years before she had been a student at the University of Michigan, and that her roommate had been a "black lady, like you." Okay. Meanwhile, her son (the guy with the cat) was getting agitated, repeating "Qu'est-ce que tu dis?" which she ignored.

When she found out my date was from Scotland, she was very excited. She had had a great teacher from Scotland, and was very enthusiastic in her invitation to join her at a philisophical discussion that was to be held later that evening, the topic of which escapes me at the moment. Scottie left her with a firm "maybe," and we went to dinner. I teasingly asked him if I should be jealous, because clearly she was inviting him, and not me.

Over our meal, we talked about how our days had been. He'd had a particularly stressful day at work. I gushed about meeting Eric and the ParisDailyPhoto site. Apparently, I was a bit over enthusiastic, because he asked me "Well, why aren't you with him tonight, then?"

A bit taken aback, I replied "Because I'm with you. Of course, I could call him after you pay for my dinner..." It was a little uncomfortable for a minute, but I was (secretly) pleased that he may have felt a little pang of jealousy.

I asked him, not to belabour the point, but because I was so obviously unaware of the signals I was putting out when we met, if it was my giving him my phone number that made him think that I'd had an ulterior motive?

"No. I'd thought that before. I thought you giving me your phone number was just you committing to it."

I was floored. Really? Who knew? I think that if I had consciously been putting out a "pick-up" vibe, I probably wouldn't have mentioned being a single parent. Or being unemployed. Or I would've lied about my age. Something. So, I'm not exactly sure what he found attractive, but, okay.

I was also a bit confused about our having dinner together that night, since I thought the point of a one night stand was not ever seeing the other person again. He told me to think of it more as a "holiday romance."

After dinner, we were going to go somewhere else, but instead he said let's just go back to his place. On the way he said he realised he may have been being presumptuous, but should we stop for condoms? I stopped in my tracks. Laughing. "Well..."
He said he realized there was probably no good way to ask or answer that question.
I told him that while I didn't know what the "right" answer was, the fact of the matter, was that stopping anywhere was unnecessary, since I'd already stopped at Monoprix.

So we went back to his place, and watched some weird short film and went to bed. I told him I'd have to leave before the Métro stopped running because I had to get up early to get to the train station. He wanted me to stay and get up when his alarm went off in the morning, when the Métro would be running again. I told him it would be too hard. He said it would be okay, and I could just take a taxi to the hotel in the morning if I was worried about being late.

Of course, that's not what I meant about it being "too hard" to leave if I stayed with him. But, of course, I did. And we slept. Actually fell asleep. Which was nice.

Monday, April 24, 2006 

What a Difference an "O" Makes...

NO! Not that! Read on...

April 11, 2006

Never before having had a one night stand in my life (really!,) I wasn't quite sure of the etiquette, but I wanted to know the name of the wine that I had enjoyed with dinner on Sunday night, so I'd sent Scottie a text message asking about the wine, and the composer he had mentioned. He wrote me back to let me know the wine (a red Sancerre) and the composer's name (Jean Michel Jarre.) He'd mentioned that he'd be out of town for work today, but wanted to know if I'd be around on Wednesday...

I walked around a bit. I stopped into an SNCF office and bought my ticket to Caen to pick up the kid, and our tickets for Amsterdam.

I wandered around Belleville for a good while, and bought some cool sunglasses. I also took this photo:

Now, come on! Is that a graffiti image of Robert Wagner as "Jonathan Hart," or what?! Here's a comparison:



See? WTF?!





I then began my quest for an épilation d'urgence!

I thought I might see signs for salons offering waxing services in posh neighborhoods...at least that's the deal here, so I headed for the Champs-Elysées area (which I had hoped to avoid.) No luck, but I did remember that there is a Ladurée there, and it was on my list of places to go. Oh. My. God. Macarons. I'd never cared about these most heralded treats in all of Paris, because I've always hated coconut, and in the U.S. a macaroon (with two "o"s) is a coconut cookie. Yuck. However, I'd been hearing so much about macarons (with one "o") lately, I had to see what the fuss was about. Well. Now I know. I decided to try several, because, you know, they're small. They were out of my first choice, caramel à la fleur de sel, but I did try one each of pistache, framboise, citron, vanille and praliné. Hot damn! I was (am) hooked! What a difference an "o" makes!


YUCK!!



YUM!!


I stopped by a hotel and asked the concierge about a spa nearby. I was directed to one, but they had no available appointments. Dommage. However, on the way there, I passed another San Marina store. They had the shoes I had wanted, and in my size. Of course I bought them.

Afterwards, I took a trip down memory lane, and went by the first place I ever stayed in Paris. When I was 16 I was an exchange student in the South of France and the program booked us into a hotel in the 8eme for two nights before we got on the train for Narbonne. The hotel is still there, though fancier now. They've gotten an additional star. Even the cafe on the corner, Le Coin was still there.

After a quick stop at Monop', I went back to Laduree, (hoping the same person wasn't behind the counter!) got a couple more macarons, and headed back to the hotel. After I got out of the shower, I watched the movie "Charlie's Angels" dubbed into French. Funny.

Sunday, April 23, 2006 

The Morning After...

April 10, 2006

I slept for four hours, then went out. I walked around Beaubourg for a while, checked my email, and made plans to meet up with Eric on Wednesday.

I went back to the Forum to buy a coat at H&M...which I did. Unfortunately, as I was leaving the store, the security monitor went off. Seems the cashier had missed taking off one of the inventory control tags. Great. I had to show my ticket caisse to the large African man at the door. He checked it over, wrote something on it and told me to go back to the register. All the while asking "You're not from here? Where are you from?" "The United States." "New York?" Blah, blah, blah. May I go now?

I stopped by San Marina, one of my favorite shoe stores. I found what I thought were the perfect shoes for me. Suede and leather, nice heel - really cute. I tried on a size 40. They were too big, so I asked for a 39. They had none, so I tried on a 38. Too tight. Argh. Determined to find them, I took the Métro to Printemps, which also carries that line. They didn't have them. I consided going back and getting either the 38 or 40, but I didn't have time: I needed to get back to the hotel to get ready to meet JennC.

I waited on the steps of the Opéra Bastille. After musing to myself that the exact same kids with their exact same dogs that hang out on Haight St. are also here at the Bastille, Jenn came around the corner.

I gave her some Girl Scout Cookies (I'd brought a bunch to give to folks, and was so happy to get them out of my suitcase...they took up a lot of valuable space!) and we went across the street to happy hour at a Tex-Mex restaurant - at least the French version of a Tex-Mex restaurant.

After a few awkward moments of small talk (it was like a weird, blind date,) we got our drinks. That's when I reached into my bag and pulled out my knitting needles and yarn. I needed to learn how to purl, and word on the street was that she's a pretty darn good knitter. So, between drinks, she tried to teach me. I thought I had it. Actually, for a while there, I did.

Jenn's version of the night's events is here.

After some more tipsy knitting, we decided to go to dinner. We stopped by the much heralded Café Charbon, but it was too smoky for me. We opted for a nice Brazilian place down the street. Jenn is a lot of fun (of course, I may be biased - she's Canadian, after all, and my love for all things Canadian was documented several years ago on my old Diaryland page.)

Unfortunately for her, she was also the first person to hear my rambling account of the previous night’s shenanigans. Sorry! With the time difference, I hadn't had time to talk about it with anyone else yet.

After dinner, on our ways home, we went into the Parmentier Métro station. There, for some inexplicable reason, was a huge - I don't know - homage to the French potato and it's growing regions. There were several bizarre examples of different, oddly shaped tubers pictured. Jenn remarked that they looked like "goblin willies" and I almost lost it! I couldn't stop laughing.

I can't wait to hang out with her again.

When I got back to my room, I put on my pajamas, pulled out my knitting, and was determined to practice purling. After several failed attempts, I gave up. I guess I wasn't drunk enough anymore. I promise to keep trying, Jenn!

Things I forgot to tell you, Jenn: I freaking loved your coat! Also, when we were talking about how remarkably well preserved I am for my, ahem, advanced age, I forgot to mention that when I was a Black Up, the woman suggested I buy some firming cream for my face! Did I smack the bee-yotch? Hell, no! I bought the cream! Also, I took my camera out, but forgot to take a photo of us - how lame is that? And remember when you asked me about my camera's memory card? The next day, I took two pictures, and got the "memory card is full" message. Oops. I had to delete some of the 2+ year old photos...duh.

Saturday, April 22, 2006 

Sunday in Paris...

April 9, 2006

I left the hotel around noon. I needed to find an internet cafe, and to add some additional minutes to my phone. It being Sunday, however, everything was closed as I walked up Rue de Rivoli. Argh! I thought that maybe the Forum des Halles would be open, but no luck. The only things open there were a shoe store, the aquatic center, and Starbucks. After being followed by three separate, yet surprisingly persistent men trying to pick me up (whom I put off by speaking solely in English, shaking my head and shrugging my shoulders,) I went into Starbucks. I know, I groaned too, but it was open. I bought a bottle of Badoit and sat in a corner and read for a while.

One of the guys whom I had put off saw me through the window and came in. He wanted me to go with him. I'd had enough. What is wrong with this guy? Finally, I said to him "Écoutez-moi, bien: je ne veux pas parler à toi!" (Listen, I do not want to speak to you!) He left.

Soon after, I left. With no plans, I decided to just wander. When I got out to the street, I looked at my phone to check the time, and noticed I had two text messages. Huh. The first said "Good morning! How are you today? Fun night? If you are free for lunch, we could meet up or go somewhere in the afternoon." The next said "This is Scottie* the Scottish guy that you met at the Rosbif pub, in case you didn't recognise the number."

I kind of laughed at the messages because they were perfectly punctuated, unlike most of the texts my friends and I send to each other.

I called him and asked if he knew of an internet place near Les Halles. He asked where I was, and I told him I was by the Bourse de Commerce. "That round building?," he asked. He said he lived really close, and to have a seat at a cafe, and that he could meet me and take me to one. I found a bench just outside of a cafe and waited with my book. He was there just a few minutes later.

He took me to a place, I checked my email while he played a game on his phone. When I'd finished, we went to the counter, and he paid the man for me. "Thanks!," I said.
"No, problem. I was thinking of going to the Louvre and checking out the Islamic art exhibition...do you want to come?" I, of course, had no plans, so I said "yes."

The line was remarkably short to get into the Louvre. We went to purchase tickets, and he paid for mine, which made me a little uncomfortable because I'm used to paying for everything myself. I did thank him, though. The exhibit was really good, though quite small. We wandered through French masterpieces and Middle Eastern sculptures for a while. I ran into a teacher from my daughter's school, who was there with his girlfriend! Poor guy, he travels to France on vacation, and can't get away from the parents. Sorry!

After we escaped the Louvre - the place is labyrinthine - he asked me if I'd ever been to the Jardins du Luxembourg. I hadn't, so, we set off walking. It was full of families and little kids running amok. It was really sweet. Scottie was hungry, so I sat with him while he ate a sandwich. Then we walked around the Gardens admiring the ponds and the trees.

Okay. Now, this is how lame I am. It wasn't really until this point that I started to think "Oh my God...I think this is a date." It hadn't even occurred to me. I thought we were just hanging out. That he was being nice because I was alone in the City, and, well, that was it.

He mentioned that there was supposedly some cool market at Bercy, and we should check it out. We found our way to the Métro, and went to Bercy. It was kind of strange. A sports complex, ice skating rink, large hotel, and a cool skate park for kids with skateboards, inline skates and bikes. But not a whole lot else. Oh well.

We'd spent quite a lot of time together by this time, and had done a lot of walking. I was getting a little tired. He suggested we go have a drink. We took the Métro, going back toward Les Halles.

When we got off the train, as we were walking, he took my hand.

As we walked I was thinking "Really? Me? You're interested in me? You want to walk around in public holding my hand? Really?" Um, yeah. I have some self-esteem issues. But I was happy.

We went back to the bar where we'd met. There was a huge football match on: Man United vs. Arsenal, and the place was packed. I got us seats at a table with three other guys, while he made his way to the bar. When he came back, we talked a bit while he made fun of the music on my iPod. We drank, we talked, we laughed and we watched the game. A good part of this time his hand was on my thigh. Finally, he asked if I'd like for him to make me dinner. I said yes. So we went back to his place.

Now here's where it gets a little sticky for me. This is not one of those blogs that goes into every detail, and I am certainly not as anonymous as I once was, but I really want to write about this because a) it was completely surprising, b) kind of awkward and silly, and c) really, really good. Though kind of scandalous.

Please come back for the next posting if you want to skip over this sordid stuff. Thank you. You have been warned.

Okay, so we go back to his place. He lives in a fifth floor walk up. His is the floor with the balcony, so it's kind of worth the hike. It's a great place. He plugged my iPod into his speakers and we were sitting on the couch listening when he leaned in for the kiss. They say you can tell a lot from the first kiss...I'm not sure what, exactly. But it was kind of awkward. We both wear glasses, so they got in the way. Then we kind of tilted our heads at weird angles. It was funny. Anyway, we worked it out.

As he moved in for the kill, I stopped him. "Wait!," I said. "What's your name?" "It's Scottie," he replied, looking a bit taken aback. "No, no, your last name. I usually know these types of things beforehand..." "It's L'Écossais*." "Okay," I said and leaned in to kiss him again. This time it was him who said "What's your name" "Buzz*," I said. "Your last name." "Girl*" "Oh, as in (insert obscure BBC television production name here)?" "I have no idea."

You know, I was going to go into more detail, but it occurs to me that I've already written all the details in my travel journal, so I'll just give the highlights:

Proof that I had no clue I might be getting lucky on this trip: I had been wearing cute little panties the day before, but that day I was wearing utilitarian underpants. When I laughingly mentioned that to him, his response (predictably, I suppose) was "I don't care."

At one point, he asked me if I wanted him to make me dinner. I said no. He asked me, feigning shock, "That wasn't really the reason you came here?"

I asked if I should go, not wanting to overstay my welcome. He said he wanted me to stay the night.

This is the view from Scottie's bed...just before we went to dinner:





We went out to dinner, and I could hardly look him in the eye. When he asked me what was wrong, I blurted out "I've never had sex with someone before having dinner with them!"

Being the Francophile that I am, I am embarrassed to say I know nothing about wine, and usually don't even like the stuff. Scottie, is quite knowledgeable about these things, and ordered a wine with dinner that I really liked a lot. Who knew?

We went back to his place after dinner. I sat on the couch while he laid his head in my lap and we watched an episode of Blackadder. I was really tired, so we went to bed...

We are both people who usually sleep alone. At one point, I got up to sleep on the couch, but returned an hour or so later because it was freezing. We tossed and turned fitfully until his alarm went off and he had to get ready for work. Finally, I could get some alone time...just kidding. We parted ways at Les Halles, when he went toward La Defense, and I continued my "walk of shame" back to Bastille.

When I got back to the hotel, I had to stop at the desk to retrieve my room key. The woman at the desk was surprised to see me. "Chambre 46, Madame?," she asked.

* Names changed to protect the sexxy...

Friday, April 21, 2006 

Paris

Okay, I'm going to do a day by day recap, with photos, if available. To be honest, I was pretty lame about taking pictures. I did take some, but I got a digital video camera this past Christmas, and had never used it before (I was planning to sell it.) I ended up taking more videos than photos. So. Here we go:

Friday, April 7, 2006

Wow. I'd never flown Air France before. Not bad. I was sitting next to a woman from Brazil and her daughter, who is a teacher in Fremont. They were on their way to Rome. The mom was hilarious. She talked the whole time, and was stoked to find out that the alcoholic beverages were free! Finally, I had to take a xanax so I could sleep.

I was so happy to get off the plane. Paris. Finally. In keeping with the theme, I had been there in 2002 and 2004, so I was due back.

I made my way to the Place de la Bastille, and my hotel, the Lyon-Mulhouse.



I was really happy with it. I had a room on the top floor - and the hotel has an elevator! The room was facing bustling Boulevard Beaumarchais, which might have been a problem, had there not been good, double paned, insulated windows. Nice. As you can see, I had an awesome view, with La Tour Eiffel on the left, and the Centre Pompidou on the right:



I didn't give in to jet lag (though I wanted to!) Instead, I walked up Rue St. Antoine and Rue de Rivoli for a bit and bought a prepaid SIM card for my phone.

Later, I met up with expat artist Matthew Rose. I brought him some stuff from the States, and he repaid me in art!

I walked back toward the hotel from his place in Montparnasse, and realized that I was really hungry. I stopped by a little place and had the plat du jour which happened to be seafood risotto. Yum. It was so freaking good! I wanted to lick the plate, but, you know. I didn't. For dessert, I ordered the tarte aux pommes with biscuit ice cream. Check it:



After I'd eaten most of the tarte (I couldn't finish it all,) I went back to my room, took a quick shower and hit the sack.

April 8, 2006

I got up at around noon. I thought I'd fooled jet lag! I walked around a bit, and found my way to the fantastic Willy Ronis exhibit at the Hôtel de Ville.

I came to Paris with no coat, just a black hoodie sweatshirt, so I needed to find something a little heavier. I went across the street to BHV, but couldn't find a coat I liked. Oh well. I went over to Black Up - and frankly, that name never ceases to crack me up, and had a makeover. Fun! After I was sufficiently "Blacked Up," I had about an hour to kill before I was to meet up with Gabrielle for dinner in Montmartre. I decided to head into a bar where I could nurse a drink, and read my book until it was time to head to Sacre Cœur. A girl walks into a bar. I ordered a drink, and started to read. A guy asked me if the table next to mine was taken. I told him it wasn't, so he put his stuff on the table, and went to the bar to get himself a drink.

While he was gone, I noticed that he was reading the magazine The Week. When he got back I said "I really like that magazine. I particularly enjoy the real estate listings." "Oh," he said. "Have a look." He thumbed through the magazine, and as I was looking at the homes, I realized they were all UK listings.

"That's funny," I said. "I've only ever read the American version. I had no idea there was a UK edition of this magazine."

"I didn't know there was an American version."

So, just like that we started talking. I told him about my kid and her exchange program, and showed him photos of her on my phone. We talked about his job and where we were each from (he's Scottish) and our work (or my lack thereof!) He bought me another drink, and that was pretty much it. I needed to go. I thought he was nice enough, but, if I'm being honest, that was it. I gave him my phone number, though, because I was alone in the city and said maybe we could hang out before I left. That was it.

I met up with Gabrielle, and had a fabulous time, and a fabulous dinner! She's hilarious. After dinner she said we should go look at the Tour twinkle. Huh? I had no idea the Eiffel Tower twinkled every hour on the hour! We went up to her apartment greeted the (very sweet) cats, and went out on the balcony. She has a breathtaking view. You can see pretty much everything from up there. Then, at 10:00, the Tower lit up. It was amazing!

After a few more minutes with the kitties, it was time for me to head back to the hotel. I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour so I wouldn't sleep away the next morning.

To be continued...

Thursday, April 20, 2006 

Sad, but true...

I'm back in San Francisco.

I'll begin the Paris stories on my next post.

At least the rain has stopped here, but I wasn't ready to come back.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 

I'm not dead...just in Amsterdam.

I can't wait to spill the beans on what I've been up to, but that'll have to wait until I get back.

Just know that though everything I write will be true, some names will be changed to protect the sexxxy!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 

I'm on my way...

Woo hoo! I'm leaving for Paris tomorrow. I still have so much to do. I'm not exactly sure why it is that I wait so long to pack, but I do. Always. I'm not too worried about forgetting anything, though - I'm going to France (and Belgium and the Netherlands,) not, say, Rwanda.

I actually look forward to running out of things on trips. It's an opportunity to go shopping and try new stuff. I mean, check out Mrs. B's shopping list!

I'm looking forward to meeting new folks, reconnecting with old friends, and just exploring the city on my own. I've been to Paris several times, but I've never once been there alone.

I bought a book to read on the plane. A murder mystery set in the Marais. It's by a local San Francisco writer. I hope it's good!

So, wish me luck! I'll take photos.

<3 <3

Saturday, April 01, 2006 

Oh yeah...

And yesterday was my last day of work, too. I am now unemployed (again.)