Jessielah!

adventures in awesomeness…

Home Again.

Day Twenty of Twenty.

I had to be at Oakland at 6am to fly to Salt Lake City (what is that?!?) and then to Dallas. Another sleepless night, totally jet-lagged, but at least the shuttle guy was friendly. We talked about Paris. He was planning to go in March of next year. I was envious.

It was all worth it though, to come home to my three favorite boys, roses, and animal crackers. Even the house wasn’t as messy as I had imagined. Although the floor hadn’t been mopped. Back to work, mom. Back to work.

Day Twenty of Twenty. Adventure over. Time to kiss the boys goodnight and watch Teeth with Matt.

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Adieu Paris.

Day Nineteen of Twenty.

It was too early. We had too much stuff. How could we possibly make it to the Metro with our feet cut, bruised, and blistered so? I attempted to abandon my luggage several times that morning.

We flew from Paris to London in the Air France Airbus A380.

Now that is massive.

I guess it was special because everyone was shooting photos and then we got a certificate of flight afterward. Oh. Thanks. Maybe the pilot should concentrate on keeping that big ass thing in the air instead of autographing certificates.

Three hours in London Heathrow. I spent most of it asleep on the toilet.

Me… dying slowly inside.

Robert prepares for his last foreign meal.

We board. I passed out over Iceland and didn’t wake until we hit the U.S./Canadian border. Yay, we’re home! Four hours later we landed in SFO. My luggage and I are reunited. Luckily they don’t charge us for trolleys. I guess the don’t want disillusioned Americans to flee back abroad where the luggage trolleys are always free. Heh.

Roshani met us at baggage claim with a big smile and a warm hug. It was sunny outside. It was good to be home.

Day Nineteen of Twenty. An American accent never sounded so good.

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Shopping on Rue Rivoli.

Day Eighteen of Twenty.

It started raining sometime Friday night. Damn. There goes our Parisian sunshine.

We let ourselves sleep in because unlike the two previous days, today we only had three things to do: Boat tour along the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, and shopping. My feet rejoiced. I remembered that aller meant “to go” so we decided to try and order take away coffee at a french coffee shop. It didn’t really work, but we did leave with 5 ounces of a very strong and very tasty brew. The Seine called out to us, although yesterday would have been a better day to sit on the water and take in the sights. The boat ride left at 1:30pm. It was 12:30pm. I saw a sign for take away coffee. Emporter would be the correct verb to use.

We decided to come back to the boat tour later and do some much needed shopping on Rue Rivoli (much more affordable than Champs d’Elysees.) I found the dress of my dreams, played with some french fashion, and even scored a romper that didn’t pull up in all of the wrong areas.

My French homage to “Come on Eileen

Drained and afraid to try to order cafe de emporter, we went to Starbucks to get a proper sized cafe and then hit not one but two, H&Ms. Mmmm. I spent more than I would ever spend in real life, but as Ruby said, I loved everything I bought and it’s Paris. Paris. How could I argue?

We went back to the hotel, exhausted, but ready to change into our new duds and head over to the Eiffel Tower.

My favorite part is the rainbow luggage strap used as a belt. Tres chic!

Because I was feeling guilty about spending so much (30 euros) on a dress, I suggested we not go up the tower, but sit underneath in the grass and eat our delicious pastries. Ruby concurred. We poured the last of the wine in a to-go bottle and away we went! We took the wrong way on the metro and wound up back at the Arc de Triomphe. For twenty euros, we could get a bicycle cart to tote us to the Eiffel Tower. I’d never done that before and… well it’s Saturday night in Paris!!

The Eiffel Tower was stunning. Simply stunning.

L’amour a la Tour Eiffel.

We tried to find a spot to eat pastries but we kept getting molested by Parisian vampires. They always came in twos. The first ones weren’t bad, and even found the SD card for my camera. The second set tried to peep on Ruby while peeing in the bushes. The third ones I didn’t even see (I was knee deep in tartlet heaven) but they grabbed Ruby while sitting on the bench. Yikes! So we cabbed it home, where I proceeded to find a large chunk of glass in my foot, presumably from the bottle of wine I shattered.

Ouch… good thing I was wearing red shoes.

Fits like a glove…Nice.

Day Eighteen of Twenty. Shopping. Wine. Tour Eiffel. Paris, Je t’aime.

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Parks, Pastries, and Courbet

I woke up before the alarm went off and was treated to a magical sight.

What’s this? What’s this? There’s color everywhere. What’s this? There’s white clouds in the air. What’s this? I can’t believe my eyes, I must be dreaming. Wake up Jessie, it isn’t fair… What’s this?

I leaped from the bed and threw open the windows, leaning out into the Parisian sunshine. The bright blue sky, dotted with cotton candy puffs of clouds beamed down upon me. Bonjour Paris!

The plan was to cram in the rest of the museums and monuments today, saving a boat ride alone the Seine and the Eiffel Tower for Saturday. After grabbing coffee (we didn’t know how to say “take away” in French, so we were left with no choice but to go to Starbucks with the rest of the Americans), we headed for Notre Dame.

Robert at Notre Dame. No Quasimodo in sight.

It was enormous, breath-taking, and beautiful. I’m fascinated by the architecture and the carefully detailed sculptures. Magnificent.

Lighting a candle for our loved ones.

We were going to go on the tour, but the queue was incredibly long so we decided to do it on the way back, time permitting.

Next (and most important) pastries. We wandered through the Latin Quarter to St. Germaine where we came across the most delicious patisserie, Gosselin. Since it was lunch time, it was incredibly crowded so there was no time to be worried about how well you spoke french. The words came pouring out. Ordering pastries was a total French experience, more enthralling than Notre Dame. A total rush!

Deux tartlet framboise et un Frazier. Yum!!

I had wanted to see the Pantheon and the Jardin du Luxembourg on our way to the Musee Rodin and Napolean’s Tomb, but Ruby was ready to eat. Luckily she had to pee so I tricked her into seeing the Pantheon and the underground crypts where Voltaire, Rousseau, and Victor Hugo were buried. It was like Humanities all over again. Plus we saw two “matchy-matchy” boys… which gave us the giggles.

Note the alternating navy and white color scheme… down to their shoes!

We hit the gardens next, sitting on the grassy lawn with all of the other Parisians. University students were laughing and frolicking, babies were crawling, and we were eating pastries. It was heaven… just heaven. We could have stayed their all day but unfortunately we had two more museums to hit, plus the Arc de Triomphe before nightfall. Off to Musee Rodin, where we enjoyed the sculptures in the gardens, including “The Thinker” and played around in the restored mansion.

Boom, bang! Fire Power!

We couldn’t locate Napoleon’s Tomb, but we did find another park. Pastry break!  The Frazier was messy but fabulous. I was in love. We sat around with full bellies and sore feet, wishing once again that we could just sit in the park for the rest of the day. Eventually we headed for our last museum, the Musee D’Orsay. With our feet sore from walking, we tried to rent some public bikes, but for some reason, it wouldn’t accept our cards. We hopped on the Metro and awayed to our final destination.

Riding on the Metro.

I was pretty much done with museums by now. My feet were aching and my tummy was chocked full of fruit and cream. No photos allowed here… whew, because I couldn’t take any more photos. I had no energy. We saw Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, and a bunch of others. I didn’t get most of it. But just as it was neat to see the Mona Lisa, it was neat to see some of the other famous paintings.

The Museum announced it would be closing before we had even seen all of the first floor. We rushed over to see Van Gogh. His self portrait was just as impressive as the Mona Lisa, except you could actually get close enough to see it. I sat down. I was done. Ruby laughed and urged me into the last room. Maybe you’ll see something you like. I followed Ruby into the adjoining room and gasped. She was already laughing. What was Marcus doing on the wall??? She was thinking the same thing. But we couldn’t take a picture!?! ARGH!!  We would have stole one but there was a guard in the room.

Marcus, um, I mean, Gustave Courbet’s The Wounded Man.

I left the Musee D’Orsay in much better spirits, aching feet and all. We headed home, ate sandwiches and drank wine, then headed out for a twilight view of Paris atop the Arc De Triomphe. Complete with views of a cute boy and the Eiffel Tower.

Day Seventeen of Twenty. Another perfect Friday.

We couldn’t locate Napolean’s Tomb, so instead we decided it was time for another pastry break. The Frazier was messy but fabulous. I was in love. We sat around with full bellies and sore feet, wishing once again that we could just sit in the park for the rest of the day.

Eventually we headed for our last museum, the Musee D’Orsay. With our feet sore from walking, we tried to rent some public bikes, Velo, but for some reason, it wouldn’t accept our cards. We hopped on the Metro and awayed to our final destination.

I was pretty much done with museums by now. My feet were aching and my tummy was chocked full of fruit and cream.  At least we couldn’t take photos… I had no energy. We saw Monet, Manet, Renoir, Lautrec, and a bunch of others. I didn’t get most of it. But just as it was neat to see the Mona Lisa, it was neat to see some of the other famous paintings.

The Museum announced it would be closing before we had even seen all of the first floor. We rushed over to see Van Gogh… his self portrait was just as impressive as the Mona Lisa, and this one you could actually get close enough to to be inspired by it. I sat down. I’m done, Ruby. She laughed and says, one more room… maybe you’ll see something you like. We walk into the room. I did like this stuff. Then I followed Ruby into the adjoining room and gasped. She was already laughing. What was Marcus doing on the wall??? She was thinking the same thing. But we couldn’t take a picture!?! ARGH!!  We would have stole one but there was a guard in the room. Oh bother.

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Museums and Stinky Cheese.

Day Sixteen of Twenty.

We woke up later than we should have but our bodies needed the sleep. I had soaked in our fabulous hotel bathtub the night before so I was feeling especially wonderful. Even my feet weren’t throbbing. However, there was no sun to be found… just lots of clouds and rain.

We decided since it was raining to get a Museum Pass and hit the museums and monuments the first two days, leaving shopping for Saturday. After paying over 4 euros for a coffee,

A 4.10 euro coffee. At least it was delicious.

almost getting swindled with a ring, getting lost, getting wet, and having to pee… we arrived at the Louvre. It was magnificent. Can you imagine that someone actually lived here? This was their home, with gardens in front and the Seine to the left? And statues everywhere! I went photo crazy and we weren’t even inside yet.

In awe that Napoleon ate dinner in this room.

Ruby had something against the Louvre (that I didn’t understand until we’d been there for over 2 hours and hadn’t even scratched the surface). The place is CHOCK-FULL of art, sculptures, bits of ancient rock, and probably a few baby daddies. After seeing Napoleon’s Apartments, and enough portraits of dead rich people and their dead rabbits, we decided to hit the Mona Lisa and other famous things.

Robert and La Joconde.

I don’t really know what the fuss was all about. It’s a lady on a sheet of paper. Who cares why she’s smiling. Yet there was a guard and a crowd like it was Brangelina.

Lining up to see the most famous painting in the world.

We were wet, tired, and hungry, so we left and went back to the hotel. Why does it smell like feet?!? I thought it was Ruby’s wet socks. Nope. It’s our Camembert. Delicious nonetheless. We ate it with tomatoes, lettuce, and more olives. We also found a corkscrew at the Monoprix so we could finally drink that 2.24 euro bottle of wine. It was fabulous!!!

Me and my yummy sandwich!

Full and fed, we hit the Centre Pompidou, which is mostly new art. I saw a Picasso. Didn’t get it. The Dali was interesting. I found a few favorites.

Robert poses with his posse.

However, I found the most interesting to be the women artists. I liked the idea that since they were women (and stereotypically thought to be lesser than male artists) that they could just do whatever they wanted because, well, they were women. There are was daring, shocking, and even interactive.

“So that’s what it looks like…”

By nightfall, we were tired but in a good mood. Paris had that effect…. it was lovelah.

Day Sixteen of Twenty. Musee Du Louvre. Centre Pompidou. Bring it on.

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Goodbye Edinburgh, Bonjour Paris!

Day Fifteen of Twenty.

In proper Edinburgh style, we once again drank too much the night before. We had a strange evening, complete with shots of Avalanche (something I haven’t drank since Las Vegas with Stephanie), running from men with too many spaces between their teeth, eating at Burger King (very American, I know) and losing (and finding) Robert the Bruce, my take-home Scottish boyfriend.

Me and my lovely, little lamb.

This morning was the closest I came to having a hangover. Brutal. Mag got us up at 8am, way too chipper for someone who stayed out almost as late as we did. He wished us a well trip and we thanked him for the room, the tea, and the company this past week. Then we shoved all our crap in our suitcases and headed for Paris.

Paris!! We meet at last!

It was raining… big time. Sigh. I thought we would have escaped the rain. At least it was warm. By the time we got to our hotel we were sore and exhausted from dragging our luggage through the Metro, and starving.

To the supermarket!

Camembert and Boursin, baguette, olives, wine, chocolate pudding, raspberry tartlets, orange juice…. mmmmmmm.

We got home and feasted! The only downside was that we had no corkscrew for the wine. Ruby tried to push the cork in but no luck. It was our first, and only, night without alcohol on our entire trip. With the window to our 6th floor room open to the streets of the third arrondissement, sleep was welcome and came quickly.

Day Fifteen of Twenty. Bonsoir Ecosse. Je te donne un morceau de mon coeur… jusqu’a ce que nous reverrons.

Écosse

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Fight at the Sainsbury’s.

**We interrupt your regularly scheduled Friday Five for this important blog announcement.**

Day Fourteen of Twenty.

Yes, I saw the castle (and it was gawrgeous). I went to the whiskey shop and the tartan-weaving factory. I even thought about sucking it up and trying haggis (Dad, you win, I couldn’t do it.) However, the biggest thing to happen was the fight at the Sainsbury’s.

So. Ruby and I are in line… wet, lost, tired, and in somewhat of a florescent daze, when this 150 year old lady starts shouting out complaints behind us. “Why aren’t there more cash registers open?” she gripes. “Why are the queues so long?”

Huh? I looked around. There were two ladies in front of us, and two customers in the line next to us. Pretty tame for a Tuesday morning, in my opinion. She’s obviously never had the pleasure of shopping at the Balch Springs Wal-Mart. As she’s caterwauling, a flustered middle-manager rushes by. The old battle-axe attacks. “We’re understaffed,” the middle-manager explains hastily. “We’re doing the best we can, love.” Oh, ho, ho…. I swear I could hear the bomb explode inside the old battle-axe’s haystack of a head. “Don’t you LOVE me!” she roars. I almost laughed. Almost. Except that something was developing in front of me that was much more amusing.

The two women in front of us had been taking an incredibly long time to buy their groceries. It could have been that they bought some complicated items, but I am placing my money on the fact that they both splitting images of Snooki from the Jersey Shore, aged about 30 and 50 years, respectively. Yes, dear readers, before me stood a horrific sight: two well-past middle-aged women with pitch-black dyed, cotton-candy textured hair and skin as orange as an Oompa-Loompa. I kid you not.

+

Niiice.

The most unusual thing was the totally random, seemingly normal, blonde infant sitting in their shopping cart. Who are you sweetie and how did you get kidnapped by the Orange Witches?

Aaanyhow. The line is moving slow because while the Orange Witches appear to be paying for their stuff separately, they missed the memo on dividing whose grocery items are whose before the cashier rings it up. “Let’s just throw it all on the counter and let the cashier guess which one of us is paying for the milk and which one ate all of the grapes! Yay! It’s a game!” However, the cashier had not been informed of said game, and asked who was paying for the milk. The younger of the two Orange Witches swoops down, spitting out attacks as if the cashier had not asked about milk, but where one could go to become an Oompa-Loompa. This attack of words caused the cashier to break down and sob. Full on my-favorite-grandma-just-died bawling. The middle-manager from earlier rushes over and asks what the hell is going on. The Orange Witch says that the cashier was being rude (she wasn’t) and that they didn’t do anything to cause her to start crying. Riiiight. Because it’s normal for people to have a nervous breakdown after asking who is paying for the milk.

After the middle-manager rushes the Orange Witches, a nearby cashier asks what happened, to which the middle-manager replies “Rude customers.” Heaven forbid we spend a full two minutes in this store without an old lady becoming verbally abusive. The old battle-axe behind us exclaims, “Are you talking about ME?!?” Well, no, not at first… but now that you’ve brought it up… The old battle-axe demands to see the manager and then gripes and complains while Ruby & I buy our things.

My only regret in the whole things is that I didn’t take any photos.

Day Fourteen of Twenty. Old ladies effing rock.

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Here is Wine.

Day Thirteen of Twenty.

Who says 13 is an unlucky number?

Third times the charm. We finally secured the two hundred pounds from the bank. We celebrated with kebabs, cheesy chips, and shopping. I’ve come to realize that the rain has a strange effect on my travel partner. It’s either the rain or three years of memories flooding back. Or maybe it was just walking with wet feet. Regardless, I was fairly certain that I did not want to hike down to some canal with my own wet feet. I gave it the benefit of the doubt… maybe it was a beautifully scenic canal. But it wasn’t.

The industrial buildings added a quaint touch.

We walked back along Gilmore street. I felt like a stalker. Ruby promised me that I wasn’t. But it didn’t stop my eyes from darting to every tall dark haired man in a jacket. I was very much a stalker. We decided to take the bus back home. God in heaven, it felt good to sit down. We passed the H&M. Despite our ragged, wet-dog appearance and sour moods, we couldn’t resist. We popped in and tried everything on. Why does shopping have this calming effect? Spending money terrifies me. I hate to part with large amounts at a time.

We met Ruby’s old friend, Pam, at Ecco Vino. “Here is wine.” Nice. Was anyone even going to drink wine? I would. I needed a night away from beer. Pam was awesome, hilarious, magnificent. It was the most I laughed since Thursday. Good, hearty, making fun of people, ab crunching laughter. Where was Pam on Saturday? We laughed all the way home. I made toast and Ruby checked email. There was a reply waiting from the very improper and embarrassing email I had regretted sending. Crap. I looked at Ruby. She scowled at me and told me to stop laughing. Then I ate my toast.

Day Thirteen of Twenty. Peedy Pam and toast. Yes.

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Vodka and Toast.

Day Twelve of Twenty.

It’s Sunday so of course we go out drinking. We head up to Bar Kohl for a sampling of their 54 flavors of vodka. Yum. We did the math and we had 7 shots, 2 1/2 beers, and a Smirnoff Ice… each. Jesus Christ on the cross. I guess that is how you end up running through the streets of Edinburgh with the sun coming up, peeing in the streets, playing doorbell ditch, taking photos of Greyfriars Bobby, eating toast, and sending improper emails.

Day Twelve of Twenty. It’s official. My bangs are out of control. And so is my drinking.

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I Love the Scots!!!

Day Eleven of Twenty.

You’re Gargeous…

One am. El Barrio. Good music. No cover. Long Vodkas. Jagermeister. Marcus. Sambuca. Lady Gaga. Tequilla. No Food. Lost. Ayes. Escape. Loveliness. Ta. Vandalism. Adventure. Excitement. Scotland. Massiveness…. Keys!?!!

Day Twelve of Twenty. Here’s to hoping I can get inside the house. RUUUUBBBBIIIEEE!

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