Monday, June 30, 2014

Bring Me Back Somethin' French Part Two: "Is that the Eiffel Tower?"

Oh Hai, Paris!
Or more accurately, Oh Hai, Le Havre, where we actually docked. Described as a "quaint port town just outside of Paris" by Celebrity Cruise pamphlets written by EXTREME optimists. Le Havre is like a demilitarized zone and is 3 hours "just outside" of Paris. There were literally buildings left  in ruin from WWII, and sewage in the street.
Jeff the bunny says "Le Havre…What a hole". He is correct.
So we resisted the magnetic appeal of the port town and hopped the double decker bus to Paris. We were told enthusiastically that we were so lucky that our bus had a bathroom because the other buses didn't and would need to make stops, making the trip longer.

Our bus had it's own obstacles though, like the man that couldn't wait for his wife to fall asleep so he could get up and tell anyone his life story that was full of anecdotes that "totally justify (his) racism". Charming.  Or that because we had this 'miraculous' bathroom onboard the lower level smelled like, well, a french public bathroom. But my personal favorite was the 50something (a spring chicken by cruise standards) woman who, as we pulled out of the dock exit (still 3 hours from our destination, mind you), pointed out the window and asked her husband "Is that the eiffel tower?".
Knowing that no intelligence could come of this, I still HAD to look. What was she pointing at, you ask? First of all, readers, I totally see your brains straining to rationalize this woman's query…. "Maybe it was a replica" you say, "like the one in Vegas". Sorry, sympathetic readers, but you are wrong. Stupid American Syndrome coming down in 3….2…..1….. A CELL PHONE TOWER. She was pointing at a cell phone tower that was maybe 50 feet tall. 

When her husband scoffed at her and said "no, the Eiffel Tower  is really tall", she started defending herself saying "Well I know we are far away from Paris right now and things look smaller from a distance".  We spent the next 3 hours listening to her intermittently ask if something tall in the distance was the Eiffel Tower. Matt and were doubled over in pain from silent giggling.
Matt and I in our bus seats. Did I mention she was directly behind us???
The rest of the cruise if we saw anything tall we would race to ask each other "IS THAT THE EIFFEL TOWER?!?!?!?!?" Here are some examples of what may or may not be the Eiffel Tower….

Is that the Eiffel Tower?

How 'bout this?


This one HAS to be right?
Well because we are not idiot tourists we DID locate and photograph the real Eiffel Tower before getting caught in a spring shower (sounds romantic, but is really just wet and makes running in jeans super uncomfortable). Here is that:
THERE it is!

Arc de Triumph and a freak monsoon!

Running in jeans in the rain with no umbrella creates this face.

The day was really topped off when we went into Richart Chocolaterie, a famous and artistic Chocolate shop. While trying to buy chocolates, Matt knocked over an entire display. The shopkeep was none too pleased and kept saying "Monsieur, please, do not touch, I will fix…" as Matt cartoonishly touched every piece of chocolate trying to get them back in the box. We bought one box, and I will cherish the memory long after the the chocolate is gone from our fridge.
Scene of Matt's Clumsy Crime
 And, THAT, dear readers, was Paris.

Next is Cobh, where everything is still the Eiffel Tower, and I meet my next husband in a bar at 11 in the morning on a Wednesday.

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