Saturday, July 13, 2002

oh, and Ross - the dorm link has been corrected. enjoy, i guess.
ok - nix that praise of internet cafes. i came back to this one tonight to upload my pictures and guess what - the dumb thing can't find the driver. i've switched computers three times, so i know it's not a problem i can fix. sigh. maybe back at the Cite... or in Geneva.

went out to Giverny today. it's a little town about 45 minutes (by train) northwest of Paris, on the Seine. the countryside is beutiful, and the little village it is near - Vernon - is so adorable. like a postcard, with a big gothic church in the middle and the little houses and shops clustered on cobblestone streets next to the river. anyway, the trip almost ruined the day for us. the train was packed and then the bus from the station in Vernon ran on typical French time - whenever the hell they felt like it. it ended up taking almost 3 hours to get there, by the time we actually got in the door.

good thing Monet's estate is worth it. you can see some pictures and info here: i can't wait to get the pictures online and developed. the gardens are so incredibly beautiful and they go on and on. no wonder the man painted tons of water lilies scenes and garden scenes - i would too if i were surrounded by that every day. and, luckily, the weather was really nice, so wandering around was nice - although the mad rash strikes again.

tomorrow is Bastille Day here, so it should be a lot of fun. i may try to make it down to the parade... dunno. definitely will be catching the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower tomorrow night! i'm still going to try to get to the Musée d'Orsay, the big Impressionist museum, tomorrow.

as for just me and what's up in my head and stomach - i really really want to eat something other than camembert sandwiches or pizza or X with fries. i thought the french were known for their food. i guess if you like to spend a lot of dough, or if you are a huge fan of ham and/or eggs, you might be in heaven. also if you like to eat fries with every meal. i do have to give them this/ they know coffee. oh my god, the coffee is so good, and it is good everywhere - no burnt brown water here! i did have the moules et frites and a crepe with compote des pommes last night - yum yum. translation: mussels (steamed in white wine, onions and herbs) and fries, and a crepe with a thick apple sauce. oh lord i love crepes.

as for my head, i think i've run out of patience with a lot of the kids on the trip. they mostly are interesting in partying or, on the rare occasion they want to come out and see stuff, they are usually so helpless - regarding french, directions, knowing the historical significance of stuff, etc - that it can feel like babysitting. i pretty much have spent the last few days doing my own thing, alone or just with another person or two, and coming back to the Cite and ghoing to bed - recharging, i guess. ;-) Geneva is in two days and there will no doubt be craziness as usual there...

well, i suppose i ought to log off and get home. hope everyone is well. ltr
WOO-HOO! i finally paid my credit card bill yesterday! thank god for internet cafes. i think i'll try to go to one later and upload my pictures - can you believe i' ve taken nearly 100 so far?

so, what have i been up to... well, Wednesday i went shopping with another girl in the program from MSU, Leslie. i didn't really buy much but got to see part of the city i hadn't seen before and saw the outside of the Opera. what a gorgeous building! i wish we had time for the tour inside... unfortuntely, everything is so rushed here. while all of the MSU kids are spending most of their day sleeping off hangovers, i want to see the rest of the sites before i have to go! we're in geneva most of next week, then we travel all week the last week, so i really only have this weekend and next. i can' t believe how fast the time has gone!

yesterday, i went by myself to Montmartre, the area of the city that is sort of the artists area - its where Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso all lived at one point or another in their lives. i went on a walking tour - not the greatest (note to Bill: like the French Quarter tour w/o cast iron fixation), but interesting and nice to walk around the narrow cobblestone streets. the culmination was Sacre Couer, the basilica on top of the highest point in the city. absolutely stunning. Notre Dame is a dog copared to this place. too bad you can't take pictures inside - the ceilings are magnificent mosaics. i also swung down the hill to Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge. that strip is something else. the sheer quantity of sex shops and strip joints put Bourbon Street to shame. ;-)

well, have to go catch my train to Giverny now to see Monet's home and gardens. au revoir! miss everyone!

Thursday, July 11, 2002

aaaargh! why havent any europeans updated their browsers to 128 bit encryption?!?! i need to pay my credit card bill, which i could normally do online, but i can't find a computer with the encryption required - and i don't have administrator rights on these machines to upgrade them myself. ah, the wonders of technology...

went to the Louvre yesterday. wow. double wow. i was there five hours and still didn't see everything. i can't believe how incredibly huge that place is - 5 hours! saw the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory - fantastic, and got to see the Mona Lisa, tho i feared for my life at times. people get neurotic trying to get close to that - it was like a stampede of little japanese women pushing people over to get the best camera shot. the painting is magnificent, but they really don't let you get close, plus there must be five layers of glass covering it, so a good picture is impossible. i think what i was most impressed with, tho, was the sheer grandeur and opulence of the building itself. the Louvre was the palace of French kings before it was a museum, and the interior is amazing - huge vaulted ceilings with intricate carvings in the marble, gilded ceilings and 20x20 foot paintings on the ceilings... sigh.

well, gotta run to class. au revoir!

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

bonjour! writing again from gay Paree... class is cancelled today so we're hitting the Louvre.

i really liked london, but we didnt have enough time and i felt so rushed! at least i have my bearings here and know that i have time to see everything i would like to... oh, and i can eat a little heathier here. my body's all out of whack from the drinking, the staying up late, the fried food... plus, there's a lovely cold going around. i started to feel it coming on and im trying to fight it off before it gets full blown. sigh.

hopefully soon i'll have time and a fast enough connection to upload some pictures. i took a ton in london when the weather was cooperating. too bad you werent allowed to take pictures of the crown jewels at the Tower of London. they were incredible!!!

anyway, gotta run to get to the museé d'Louvre. send me an email, ok???

love and miss everyone

Monday, July 08, 2002

howdy howdy. back on the blog wagon today. we've been in london since friday night and just trying see as much as possible in the little time we have. i really love london and definitely want to come back... two things about it suck, tho: the weather and the prices. it is cold (try 50s) and rainy/cloudy (although i'm told we should have been celebrating in the streets for having partly sunny and 68 degrees on saturday!). and can anyone out there among my fanclub ;-) explain to me how it is that this island nation, the size of idaho, has currency worth so much more than dollars???? i mean, good lord. euros are almost at parity with the dollar, so that is easy, but a dollar here is only worth £0.65-0.75, depending on which rate you can get. incredible. oh, and these people really don't know how to cook. i'm surprised you don't see people having heart attacks in the middle of the street! all they eat is eggs and sausage and potatoes, all fried in a ton of real butter. crazy...

anyway, i have to run and grab lunch and get back to class.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. ;-) afterwards, off to the Tower of London!

miss everyone! give Neo a big hug and kiss for me, ok girls?