Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And you thought I only went to Southeast Asia

Alright. It has been way too long for me between updates and I decided to put up photos from one of my favorit cities in the world - Paris, France.

I absolutely love Paris (the city, not the tramped up hotel heiress). I was last there in November of 2002, so almost four years ago. Four years ago, I guess I could speak some passable French. Now, my Thai is a lot better. This was part of my see multiple cities in Europe trip in 2002. I went to Amsterdam for about three days and the remainder of the week in Paris. Due to only having four days to explore, I went the traditional tourist route and saw the usual sites as you'll see below.

Because I went in November, a lot of these shots are taken under grey skies. I actually liked the atmosphere as it was a litte chilly in the air and there was a distinct lack of American tourists which I always like in my travels. I enjoy challenging myself in whichever culture I immerse myself. I've heard dozens upon dozens of times that the French are rude, etc... I call bullshit. Granted my exchanges with most of the Parisians was fairly limited, I found them to be warm and friendly. Especially when you made the effort to observe French culture and made an effort with the language which I feel is key.

Now, since 2002, there have been world events that have changed French opinion of America, but I highly doubt that applies to American tourists out to enjoy such a rich and colorful city and culture.

I took these photos with my old 3.2 megapixel camera which worked pretty well, but I wish I had my current camera and was able to capture more of everyday life in Paris.

This is St. Augustine in the eigth arrondisment of Paris. The city proper is divided into areas called arrondisements. I foget the total number, but the 8th had such stores as Hermes and Roderer just down the street from my hotel. The building with the red awning on the right had a phenomenal bistro that served a pretty good selection of beers. I went here my first night and never got back in there. Pitty I never got back in there.

This is the view from my hotel window on Boulevard Malsherbes. End of the day with Tour d' Eiffel in the background. I wish I had a good photo from here in the evening. There's a spotlight of some sorts that rotates around the top so when watching the tower, you see a beam of light shooting off of it.

This is the base of some building. The name of it escapes me at this time.

Same with this one. Here's where I really wish I had a camera with more resolution. The Eiffel Tower lit up would have really popped against the darkening sky. Seeing it live however was pretty cool. I've seen and I'm sure you have also seen hundreds upon hundreds of images of the Eiffel Tower, but actually seeing it live you'd probably have the same thought that I did.

"I'm actually standing in front of the Eiffel Tower."

I didn't go to the top of the tower as I'm just not too keen on heights and in the evening that I was there (I got to Paris in the afternoon and with three actual days for the sites I didn't want to go up).

Arc de Triumph. Once of the premier tourist sites in my opinion to see in Paris. To get to the Arc, you have to go down a set of stairs and through a tunnel the runs under the roadway. The Arc is in the center of a traffic circle and from my best recollection, there wasn't a street crossing.

The evening that I was here there was a ceremony taking place and I thought that it could have been Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I, but this was well past the 11th of November. As I walked toward where the ceremony was, I along with others were shuffled inside the Arc and paid a fee inside. I then proceeded up a spiral staircase that led to the top of the monument.

I said earlier that I'm not good with heights. Guess what? Still wasn't and the feeling of vertigo was a lot worse going down the stairs.

This is the view from the top of the Arc de Triumph. You can see a bit of the traffic circle on the foreground.

Notre Dame cathedral taken from a bridge over the river Seine. I guess the cathedral was pretty dramatic. I just wanted to see it and didn't explore it too much. I did however do a lot of walking in Paris. The subway system is second to none in my opinion and if gets you usually within a block or two 0f where you're trying to get, but with the multiple train lines, you will do a bit of walking uinderground as you make your connections.

I didn't really see any of the interior of the cathedral as I figured I'd have already been back to Paris, but I have promised myself that I would get back as soon as I can. Possibly in 2008.

Finally one of the many fountains in Paris. As you can see, not any water flowing. It's November and getting cooler. Yet another reason for me to get back to Paris. Soon.

I'll try and get a new post up a little more often. I have a few photos from the Louvere, Amsterdam, and Barcelona and I'm leaving for Thailand in about 30 days and plan to head into Myanmar for a day trip while I'm there and possibly Phuket to get back to the beach. I only have 14 days this time around, so I have to maximize my time. I'm already getting a headache thinking about it.