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EUROPE PART I: PARIS



when i was 17 i went on a quickie tour of europe. i fell in love with it then. i always dreamed
of taking a nice long trip through europe. well, this one wasn't quite as long as i planned but
considering it connected with a trip to the u.s. it was a nice start.

i left taipei on the 17th of september. our plane had an hour layover in bangkok. i had never
been to bangkok before. and i guess i really haven't yet. as the airport hardly counts. when
we were all back on board the plane an announcement came over the loudspeaker. "is there a
doctor on board? malaria patient at the back of the plane..." or something along those lines.
things to put your mind at ease. the plane was flying to amsterdam but i was connecting to
a flight to paris from there. somehow i managed to get to sleep on the plane and i had the
following dream:

i dreamt i was in tokyo at one of the jr subway stations.i look down the platform and see my
friend alyssa. but then on the far end of the platform out jumps a gunmen. he's firing shots and
everyone ducks down. when he disappears we all get up and i see that alyssa is gone and i have
been hit in the hip. next thing i know i am back in taipei at the school i worked at. i'm asking
two of the teachers i know(leon and carolyn) should i go to the doctor? or should i just go home
and go to sleep? and then i woke up.

eventually i arrived in paris. my french pen friend
catherine was there to meet me. i've written
catherine for a long time. 13 or 14 years i think. we
met once before when she came to visit me in seattle.
we took the bus and metro to her house in the suburbs
south of paris.unfortunately the airport i was at was
north of paris. but transport there is dead simple so
we were there with very little trouble. since i was in
paris for such a short time we had a quick rest before heading out into the city.


we mainly took in all the usual sites. eiffel tower, sacre coeur, notre dame,...i
really wanted to go to the george pompidou museum. but unfortunately when
i was there the museum was closed until 2000.:( we were able to take in
the brancussi studio though. this is a museum made to look like his studio
and has the sculptures set up as he did when he was creating them. so that
was pretty nice. and on one of my last days we saw the picasso museum.
which was really nice and quite large with lots of paintings i had not seen
before.

it was weird to be in a western country after spending two years in taiwan.
paris was much more multi-cultural than i was expecting. lots of different
races which i dug. i was a bit in shock still this being my first stop after
taiwan. i found myself wanting to hear chinese. actually missing it. whenever
i would see a chinese person i would listen to see if they were speaking chinese. but all i heard was french.


i loved all the street art in paris. you never knew what you would get on the metro. several times
people got on and would start to sing a song. (once it was a really bad rendition of a beegees song.)
and one time someone got on and did a puppet show choreographed to a cab calloway song. after the
performances they would pass around a hat and then get off at the next station. there were lots of
street artists just around the streets of paris as well. we caught the end of a performance
outside the sacrecoeur set to music involving different masks and fabrics. really interesting.
and throughout the city people would be dressed up in different costumes standing up straight on boxes.
they had a bucket near them and if you put money in they would bow to you. i saw several people
people dressed as pharohs(or something) and one dressed as don quixote. don, was all in silver
and when you put money in his bucket he would slowly bow down and shake your hand. he was my
favourite among the performers doing this. he put on more of a show when he bowed down and you could
see his actual face. whereas most of the others just wore masks and it wasn't so special.

on my last night in paris we went to meet my friend
frederic who i know from the p-5 mailing list. we went
to his apartment and he played me lots of great japanese
and french pop music. and showed me some rare
pizzicato five videos. his friend miho was there. she is
japanese and is in france studying french. she was super
cool too. we talked about japanese pop culture. it was
getting late so we decided we should go get something
to eat. we thought about getting japanese food as we had
been talking about japanese pop culture but as i don't
come to france everyday we decided to go for french
food. well, we get to the restaurant only to discover
it was closed. so we decide to go to this crepe place frederic knows. but when we get there it
closed as well. so in the end we end up at a japanese restaurant in paris run by viet namese.
odd? well, perhaps. after our meal we have the waitress take a snaphot of us. and fred says
"maybe we'll see this on your webpage one day." and lo and behold there it is. after eating
catherine and i had to rush home. we had to get up early the next day so i could catch my flight to
amsterdam the next day.


europe part two
europe part three
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