Dehors!

I had another one of those terrible métro rides this morning. The platform was so full I couldn’t even get anywhere near the train. Before every single métro arrives the announcer will say “Let people get off the train” and the person on the platform says the same and keeps people from getting on the train after the beep. This morning this wasn’t necessary, because the train was far too full long before the the doors closed.

I thought there’d be trouble when a young man jumped the queue or rather side-stepped the scrum and walked up right the little aisle for people leaving and waited for the train to arrive in the most inconvenient spot for imaginable. I expected trouble and texted Gergö “Shit’s going down!”. But contrary to my expectations people didn’t tear him apart, they just shook their heads and tutted and huffed. The platform agent talked to him but he didn’t budge. Unfortunately there doesn’t to be a special RATP security force for queue jumpers.

I am reading the newest Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London book at the moment and love the colourful London language employed by the main character / story teller. For a second I considered emulating him and shouting something a long the lines of “You can fuck right off, you little toerag!” but my inner librarian is a lot stronger than my inner Peter Grant. Plus nobody would have understood anyway.

The consequence of one single person ignoring the instructions was of course even more jostling and shoving than usual to get on the train. I got on the third train and ended up squeezed between several people. I was staring at somebody holding a newspaper with the title “GET OUT” while being elbowed in the boob.

But the weird and uncomfortable situation also finally gave me an opportunity to take a photo I’ve been meaning to take. I’ve been wanting to make a “What people think I do / What I really do” for me in Paris  for a while now and the cramped platform was the missing motive:

Honestly, I’ve been doing all of it, lately – taking photos of Parisian streets

rocking horse on a rainy parisian street

s’il vous plaît – souriez au passage

…and of food and my earrings

But we also had a visitor on the weekend, and we finally found out how to turn our couch into a bed. The most important aspect of the transformation is protecting your eyes before you take off the cover.

OMGWTFBBQ

We didn’t do do any sightseeing, because my friend already knows Paris and we wanted to avoid crowds and stress. But we went for a lovely walk in the park, (because we are middle aged now) where the heron is a regular guest.

“My” heron and turtles from the park across from our house. The heron often sits on the “peche interdit” sign but for this photo op it settled on the chair sculpture in the pond.

We also had lunch in the sun (!!) or, as I like to call it “lönch in the sön”, and went to about 3 different comic book stores, because they have the best stuff.

Obelix mug – I can’t believe i resisted the temptation. I can’t wait for the next visitor who wants to make a tour of the comic book stores.

We also stopped off at the lego store. They had a sign saying that you could press a button and they’d create a photo of you in lego bricks. Of course I wanted to check it out. We didn’t see the button at first, because it was placed for a different sort of target group. One about half a meter shorter than I am. But that rarely deterrs me, so I kneeled and got a lego portrait.


Nous sommes fous, nous Autrichiens

My brother and niece came to visit us this past week. Gergö and I had really been looking forward to the visit, because we would finally have an excuse to go to Parc Astérix. It’s an amusement park, just like Disneyland, but with Asterix and Obelix.

chute de menhirs. danger, obelisk falling.

So the day after their arrival, the hottest day of August and during one of the busiest weeks of the park, we set out to Picardie. Gergö also invited a colleague from work who knows all the ins and outs of the park and the fastest, most extreme rides. He used to have a season ticket when he was younger and he still has a stomach made of steel, I suspect.

welcome to parc asterix

I love, love, love the details that went into the park’s design. I remember queueing in Disneyland about 18 years ago, I think for a wild west themed ride and admiring the set design as well. It’s not just the buildings, everything is on message.

 

We started out with the newer part of the park, Oz Iris, a very fast, pretty extreme ride. I declined and stayed outside, to admire the decoration and take silly hat selfies.

One of my favourite rides was the Discobélix. You sit on a discus while it spins and at the same time goes along a wave like movement out onto a little lake. The queues are designed in a very clever way. Even though they state the waiting times clearly at the beginning, the line doesn’t look so bad. That is until you go around another corner, up the stairs and into a little building.

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The Obelix statue in the background about to throw the discus is a nice touch, I think. Also the broken columns from his last big throw.

discobelix waiting room

In the waiting room, there are Obelix’ shoes, his bag and a tally of throws of his opponents. His discus is still flying…

While Ben and Ella did the smart thing and went for ice cream and a water ride, Gergö, Hugo and I queued for Zeus’ Thunder – the longest and fastest of the rides in the park. We queued for the ride for at least 45 minutes, and Hugo patiently tried to teach me to pronounce Zeus in French. Voiced ssess are not my strength. Sadly I missed the selfie opportunity of Zeus watching over my shoulder.

20160816_152651 zeusssss

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I did get a nice view waiting for the next ride, though.

The ride was really very intense, and the photo they took of us during the ride was hilarious. I had my mouth wide open and my eyes were about as wide as Zeus’ up there. I was still too cheap to pay up the 11 Euros to take it home, but it would have been a great reminder of the reason why I was hoarse the next day.

We also took the ride with the 7 loopings. Usually a looping is over so fast you barely register it. It’s not like that, if there are seven of them.

7 loopings. Seven!

The park closes at 7 pm but with all the queueing involved, the day was over pretty fast. Gergö and I are already planning to go back in October when it’s not as blistering hot. Apparently the Hallowe’en programme is pretty cool, too and maybe there are even fewer people.

Bye bye Astérix, see you soon!

Bye bye Astérix, see you soon!

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Deuxièmes visiteurs

I realised I have to blog about my other visitors before my third set of guests arrive in half an hour. And before I forget everything about the visit.

J & C arrived a couple of days after my mum left. They weren’t quite as lucky as my mum as far as the weather was concerned.  We visited the Parc de la Villette, a park right behind the science museum. From the park you can see the big glass sphere called Géode that houses the imax cinema, I think, and the submarine as well.

At the moment it’s fun fair time, so there were a couple of carousels and rides in the park. Even when there’s no fun fair it’s a pretty interesting place. We had a little picknick, or pique-nique, as you say here, next to a giant bicycle from which only bits and pieces stick up from the ground.

We went for dinner along the canal the Saint Martin, a very nice area. In summer everyone plays petanque and pique-niques along the canal. It’s starting to get warm enough to do that during the day, but the evenings are still too cool.

We also went back to the Butte aux Cailles. You know, the place with all the street art:

But we didn’t eat at Chez Gladines, the famous Basque restaurant that is suprisingly affordable. We went to le temps de cerises, a restaurant that’s a co-op with uplifting socialist art, a worker’s mosaics in the entrance and an anti-cell phone policy. It’s all in memory of the Paris commune of 1871, “a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871”.

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The weather on Sunday was very cold and wet, so our visit to the big flea market st. ouen was cut pretty short.

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I refrained from buying anything, but I enjoyed the experience without Gergö being next to me reiterating that we don’t need more stuff. I also appear to not have taken a lot of photos. I suspect it’s because you are not supposed to take photos of the beautiful vintage dresses we admired and because my camera sometimes doesn’t save a picture, if I close the camera again too quickly.

We also visited a tiny vegetarian restaurant called Krishna Bhavan in Little India. It’s an area close to gare du nord with a lot of restaurants and take aways and supermarkets. Rue cail was decorated with orange lanterns which made me assume it’s some festival. I did some googling and it turns out it’s no festival, it’s just Christmas decorations that a local shop had handed out in 2014 and that people had decorated their windows with. The restaurant was really good, I think. Certainly not expensive. It’s just that my memory of it is completely overshadowed by the giant poster of a chubby blue-skinned baby that stared down on us from a wall calendar while we were eating. Click at your own risk.

The weather, which hadn’t been great to begin with, completely let out on Tuesday: There was a hail storm.

The white bits isn't the hail, but the flower petals from the trees.

The white bits isn’t the hail, but the flower petals from the trees. It was still pretty crazy, though.

I had stayed at home that last day of my friends’ visit, because I had to catch up with work and they wanted to visit the catacombs which I had already seen – no chance. The queue was really long even in the bad weather. It appears the one time I went in February, when there was no queue at all, I was much luckier than I appreciated at the time. Early February might not be great for a visit temperaturewise, but the queues are certainly better.