Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
The Percy Winterbottom household recently acquired a new pet. Behold... Kaki.

new car

With this new acquisition arose a little problem... what to do with Plain Jane. Three vehicles in the driveway was a little much to manage, oddly. My dad, who's owned the truck all along, was kind enough to say that he would take her back after 14 years. And thus... the last road trip of plain jane. We headed East through the woods.

Last photos in Austin.
plain jane

And then... we were behind The Pine Curtain.
from the road
kaki on the road
road house

We arrived at our accommodations after many many many hours of driving. Percy enjoys the road trip experience much more than I do. I'm good for about 3 hours. Which will get me to Dallas or Houston. And that's about it. Anyway, the B&B was cute. There was a butterfly & a kitty outside when we got there.

After getting settled in at the B&B we headed out to my dad's house where upon the new acquisition was promptly "broken in" (read damaged) by the ongoing resurfacing of the highway. There are now a few scratches in the paint all the way down to the surface on the hood & bumper as well as a nice little chip in the wind shield. I think TXDOT owes me some money.

Anyway, Day 2 started out with a very filling breakfast at the B&B that I have no photos of. Then we headed out to my dad's to see the mules. Yeah.. mules.
I like to call them asses although I know that's not right. He has some asses though. They stay out with the cows.

In just one night Plain Jane had been transformed into a farm truck. When we got out there the bed of the truck was filled with hay, a saddle and a dog.
Here she is with just a little bit of hay. The saddle was on the mule by this time & the dog was looking for shade.
farm truck

At my dad's place he keeps 3 mules. Big John, Dolly and a baby who's name I don't know but lets just call her Trouble.
The Three

This one's Dolly. Probably named after Dolly Parton.

OMG I'm on a mule! Why oh why did I not have the Prada shades on my face instead of on my head? Cause... that would've been classy.
me and John
me and john 2

The baby doesn't like to be left alone. She likes attention. And when she's not getting attention she starts kicking at the fencing.
bad mule

Nature in ACTION people. Mules pee where they please.
mule pee

We went for lunch and this about sums it up.
big hair

And now on to the asses.
lone ass

This is a pet. No hamburger here.

Sunday came and we went home. This is the outside of the B&B. It was so humid that my camera lens fogged up as soon as I turned it on. I like it though.
misty percy
brick house

22/12: The big 3

Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
So last Friday Baby D turned 3... times 10. We were supposed to go to Vegas for the weekend but a week in Paris here and an engagement ring there & it was decided that it was best to stick close to home.

We all took the day off and headed to Dallas for some shopping and eating. Galleria... oh how I love thee. The ice skating rink looks much smaller than I remembered it to be. Apparently they have made it a little smaller. And of course having a HUGE Christmas tree smack dab in the middle doesn't help.

We high tailed it straight to the mall for 2 hours of power shopping. I'm not really sure what they boys did during that time. After, we headed to The Melrose Hotel to check in and get ready for dinner. Jimbo met us at the hotel bar for a couple of before dinner drinks and then we were off to La Duni for dinner where we were joined by the Gogos.



After our AMAZING dinner and a little side trip to some not fun bar called The Loon we headed back to the hotel to walk over to Village Station. Ah Village Station... I've had many a night there that I don't remember. I was all excited to go remembering strong drinks, good music and lots of hot gay boys. But when we got there everything was lacking except for the strong drinks. I guess the tide has turned in Dallas and all the pretty boys have found somewhere else to play. Sad. There was a drag show though. So all was not lost.

Stage at the show
the show

John's sister was nice enough to supply Deanna & Percy with extra large white russians. I'm sure the Kidney was sad to miss that.

Extra Large

Although after a while they started to look like this:

I personally did not partake in these super sized white russians but instead stuck to vodka tonics. And after many more drinks we wandered to this little coffee shop next door called Cafe Brazil for some late night snacking. They had an excellent and very decadent plate of crepes with fruit and whipped cream. So tasty. So sweet. Mmmm... sugar. So after all the booze and sugar we stumbled back to the hotel which was lucklily not too far away. The next morning I needed one of these:


Brunch the next day was at the super yummy and always crowded Breadwinners. Oh how I wish we had one of these in Austin. I'd be twice my size...

After our tasty but painful because of too many vodka tonics brunch we headed over to Northpark Mall so I could go to Barney's. The boys dropped us off and went to a bar - big surprise. Much to my surprise this Barney's had a little Co-Op section that just so happened to have the handbag I've been wanting and it was on sale. That helped the hang over a little.

The trip kinda ended unceremoniously with a long drive home. Most of which I napped through. When we got home it was Percy's turn:



Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
The photo that got us in trouble. You can see part of the old lady in the red in the background.

Faucet in the ladies at The Ritz.

Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
So it was Tuesday late afternoon & all I'd bought was a pair of boots. Money burning a hole in my freakin’ wallet and it was time to get on the metro and go back to the apartment. Percy had hit a couple of resale shops with out any success so we scurried back to the metro to jump on in rush hour.

A short time later we were back at our temporary home to find Deanna and the kidney relaxing and enjoying the view from our tiny little balcony.

A little while later and everyone was dressed to impress and ready to hit the town. My so-so mood from earlier in the day was slowly starting to slip away aided by a glass of lovely Bordeaux we’d picked up at the corner market. And by corner market I mean one of those TINY little places with stuff stacked to the ceiling. I think the proprietor cringed every time he saw us coming. The four of us in the store and it was packed. Pre evening out drinks finished we made our way to the cab stand in front of the metro station to get a cab. Now in the past I’ve had a bad experience with a cab in Paris. The bad part was that I was drunk and crying and just not able to comprehend what the man was trying to tell me. I some how managed to get kicked out of the cab – in the nicest way possible – and dropped off at a metro station. This was in 2000 and I still to this day have no idea how I found my way back to the hotel. But that’s another story. This night we would have nothing but nice, friendly French cab drivers. A welcome surprise.

We pull up to the Ritz and it doesn’t even look like a hotel. As we rounded the corner and our cabbie announced that we’d arrived and I was like “arrived where?” Then I see the doormen dressed in coat tails and top hats. I kid you not. Top hats. Maybe I dreamed it. Immediately upon exiting the car I felt out of place (ok I don’t know who talks like that -I don’t). The place was dead – but it was a Tuesday night in Paris. Not sure what I was expecting anyway. I think we passed through the same doors Princess Diana did on the night she was killed. Kinda spooky. Once in the hotel we luckily found signage pointing us in the right direction towards the Hemingway Bar. So down a loooooong mirrored hallway we went. I’ve never been to Vegas, but I’ve been told that this hallway was very Vegas like. Along the hallway on each side were lighted cases with all sorts of… well stuff. Sunglasses, watches, Mikimoto pearls, clothes, robes and tea sets. No clue what that was about. Can you buy that stuff via room service or something?

Anyway, a long walk down the shiny hallway and a couple of turns later and we were at the bar. Tucked way in the back there it was off to the left. I think I’d read somewhere that this bar used to be the women’s bar at the hotel back when things like drinking were segregated. The bar was tiny - one main room with the bar in it and then an additional room off to one side. We quickly walked in and sat down so as to not make too much of a scene. For me this in part had something to do with still feeling out of place.

By the door sat an elderly woman dressed in red with her hair up in a bun. An empty glass of water sat in front of her. The kidney was immediately thrown by this and proceeded to find out what she was doing there alone with an empty glass of water. Turns out she’d taken a nasty spill on the step going into the bar and was resting a bit to see if she’d twisted her ankle or anything. We chatted briefly with her and when she felt ready to leave the kidney escorted her out. Rather gentlemanly of him.

But back to the bar. Literally 3 seconds after we sat down a waitress was serving us water with fresh cucumber slices and a small assortment of mixed nuts. She then fetched menus for us listing the exorbitantly priced “specialty” drinks. These drinks were outrageously priced. Even if I was wealthy I don’t know that I’d spend that much on drinks… except maybe once. At the Ritz. Deanna and I ordered mixed drinks that came served with orchids. Percy had some nail polish remover in a glass and I can’t even remember what the kidney had. Now I kid you not when I say this was hands down the best mixed drink I’ve ever had in my entire life – and I’ve had plenty. Maybe it was the hand-crushed ice. Maybe it was the brand of sugar. Maybe they grow the freakin’ mint in the garden there. No clue. But it was heaven in a glass. So tasty that I had to take a photo. No big deal, right? I try to quickly and quietly snap my photo and put my camera back in my bag. Deanna decides to follow suit. This causes the bartender to come flying from around the bar and to our table. Apparently photos are not allowed at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz. At. All. My back was to the bar so I didn’t see any of this but the kidney said the look of horror on the bartenders face when he saw Deanna taking a photo was priceless.

In the mean time these two young guys walked in with an old man and sat next to us. I don’t know too much about men’s suits, but let me tell you they were not sporting Men’s Warehouse. It was probably two young aristocrats and their mentor out for a quick drink before dinner. They ordered exactly one drink a piece and then the old man told one of the young-uns to pay with his Amex black card. I told my mom that part of the story and she asked what an Amex black card was. To which I said “Exactly.” Anyway, I missed all that because I had to visit the gold encrusted powder room escorted by my security guard.

So as the young boys and their mentor were finishing their Pastis Percy and I went to the bathroom. Across the hall and down a winding staircase we went giggling at the insane ridiculousness of it all. As we made it to the bottom of the stairs a hotel security guy came from out of some back door, gave us the once over and went on his way. I didn’t think anything of it and went on into the ladies room. As we walked back upstairs Percy said he thought the guy was checking him out to see if he was carrying a gun. A gun? Are you kidding me? Percy so does not look like someone who’d have a gun on him. And I said as much. And then he points out that he (Percy) was kinda walking behind me and didn’t go right into the men’s room because it wasn’t marked so he didn’t know which door it was. And that perhaps the hotel security guy thought that Percy was MY security guy. Ha! Now that’s a funny notion. Me, a person of importance, with her security guard going to the powder room. That might’ve been the best birthday present of the night.

Fast forward and a few more people have arrived at the bar. There’s a regular sitting at the bar smoking a rather stinky cigar. An annoying Canadian woman (sorry Alain she was really annoying and homely) at the bar trying to flirt with people. A young couple has taken over the table once occupied by the elderly lady. Couldn’t quite figure out the young couple. She was smoking hot in her fur shrug and Christian Louboutin leopard heels. He was kinda nerdy but still attractive. He spoke French like a native but English with out any accent.
I think by this point we’d thoroughly confused the bar. Most tourists probably just stop by for one drink – just to say they’ve been there. We however were camping out and on round 3. Plus I don’t think the French drink like that. Especially not at the Ritz,

Done with the scene we asked out ever-attentive waitress for a recommendation for dinner. She was kind enough to direct us to an Italian place that was walking distance. I scored a little Ritz note pad with the address written on it. Deanna stole a menu. I mean… hey… why not. We were already in trouble for taking photos of our beverages. May as well go all the way.

On our way out we asked the concierge for directions and if he’d take a photo of us outside the bar. A fine ending to a lovely cocktail hour.


Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
The dogs at the tapas place.

The fat cat at Pere Lachaise.

Us at the Eiffel Tower.

Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
At some point in my frustration on Monday I’d suggested that Tuesday we split up and do whatever we wanted. Percy would come with me and Deanna & the Kidney could do whatever. Everyone knew how to navigate the metro at this point so getting around was a non-issue. We’d decided to get up a little early and leave the apartment by 10.30 or 11 for lunch and then go our separate ways. Percy and I were up on time. Our traveling companions however were not. This wouldn’t have been an issue if A) I wasn’t in a crappy mood, B) my stuff wouldn’t have been in the master bathroom and C) we had more than 1 key to the apartment.

Percy and I were soon on our way after leaving the key with Deanna and agreeing on a meeting time. That night we were supposed to go out to “celebrate” my birthday but I was in such a rotten mood that morning I would’ve just scrapped that idea on the spot.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We grabbed a quick bite to go at a bakery and set out to do a little right bank shopping in the neighborhood my mom & I stayed in a few years back. Why is it that when you have money burning a hole in your pocket you can’t find anything you want? Horribly frustrating. We wandered around Le Bon Marche for a while. Nothing appealed to me. We wandered across the street to LBM’s grocery store, which is pretty much a French version of Central Market. I loaded up on chocolate eggs and we grabbed a couple of sandwiches. We headed to the Camper store – which was a longer walk than I remembered it being. Half way down the street, just as before, I questioned weather or not we’d gone the right way. We had. It was just that long of a walk. By this time we were running low on time. I don’t understand how this happens. It seemed like we had barely made it over there and it was time to go already. Camper had nothing for me. Well more accurately nothing in my size. Disgruntled we headed back towards LBM and the metro. By this time I was annoyed that there was no time to make it to the Tod’s store. I’ve been coveting a Tod’s bag ever since I left one behind in Montreal several years ago. Should’ve bought it then… would’ve cost me less than what it’ll cost me now. Oh well. Live & learn. Anyway, we stopped off at a shoe store and I did buy a cute pair of black boots. After that, I made one more dash around the department store while Percy ran through a resale shop we’d found. Running late, we ran back to the metro to make our way back to the apartment to get ready for our “big night out”.

Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
Oh yeah... we waited in line at the Eiffel Tower for TWO HOURS. I kid you not. The crowds at the Eiffel Tower were unBelizeable. The sun came out and so did everyone else. It is what it is though. When in Paris one must see the Eiffel Tower.

I can’t remember what we had for lunch that day. That’s really sad. What am I forgetting??

Anyway, back to the 2-hour wait – and that was just to get up to buy tickets. That doesn’t count the time you have to wait until you can get in the elevator. I might be exaggerating. It might have only been a 1-hour wait in line. But it seemed like 5. Anyway, Monday was cranky day. I think we were just tired and didn’t like the crowds or the line. There’s not much to say about it other than it’s a must see when in Paris. The weather had cleared up and it was a nice sunny day. A few fluffy white clouds dotted the sky. The view from the tower is amazing. It really sinks in how big Paris is when you see if from way up high. Luckily they’d opened up the 3rd level right as we were about to buy our tickets so we could go all the way to the top. Somewhere around 35 minutes in line the Kidney mentions that he’s afraid of heights. Which amazes me. He’s 6’6”. He’s high. How can he be afraid? That’s unBelizeable. Anyway, back to the amazing view. It was crowed up there and we got separated. Percy was annoyed with me – but I just needed some time to wander on my own. Not like I could go very far… I don’t like crowds. At all. And it was very crowded the entire time we were up there. Views checked out and photos taken we headed back down. Which I swear took another hour. Waiting in line for the last elevator to take us down there was an Indian couple behind me. There was no organization to this line at all. It was really just a free for all. As the elevator car got to our level people started pushing. And I’ll be damned if this woman behind me didn’t start trying to push her way past me. I was like “oh no you don’t bitch” (yes I was cranky by this time) and kept her at bay while walking kinda slowly into the elevator. AND SHE KEPT PUSHING ME. Then on the way down her & her husband totally gave me this stink eye. What the hell is that about? I wasn’t the one being rude – she was. French people aren’t rude. It’s all the other jackasses that visit their country.
Now here’s the semi entertaining part – after we left the tower and made it back to our metro stop we see this same couple. Percy and I are waiting on Deanna & the kidney to buy their metro tickets and the husband approaches me. I was a little scared at first. Was he going to try & throw down with me right there in the metro? Would Percy step in and defend my honor? Shockingly he came up & asked if I was from Paris. I WASN’T THE RUDE ONE!! YOUR WIFE WAS!! I quickly said no and he turned and left. What was that about?? Weird. Deanna said I should’ve said yes and then given them bad directions or something. Um… that’s karma I don’t want.

Oh I remember what else happened to us on the way to the Eiffel Tower… the Kidney and I had thrown away our metro tickets somewhere on the way to the tower and wouldn’t you know it… they were doing a ticket check right as we were going to get on the last metro. So what happens if you don’t have your ticket and they’re doing a ticket check? You have to pay a freakin’ 35 euro fine. CASH. RIGHT THEN. The guy was all “you have a problem” to me. Um… ok. Whatever. I was trying to be as nice as possible seeing as how I didn’t really want to go to metro jail. The Kidney on the other hand boldly says, “I don’t speak French and I don’t have a ticket”. The guy just looked at him with one of those looks. The French government owes me 38.20 euro. I’m thinking about sending them a bill. Nowhere on the metro ticket does it say that you have to keep the ticket until you’re done on the metro. I’m not sure if that’s even posted anywhere. Do I look like someone who goes around jumping metro turn styles? I mean… that’s pretty much physically impossible for me. I wish I would’ve been able to speak the appropriate French. Maybe I could’ve talked our way out of it.

Anyway, back to the story. Once we left the tower we headed over to the Champs to walk one of the most famous streets in the world. The sun had set already and the Arc de Triomph was all lit up. You could see a row of people on the very top of it taking in the view. The street was crowded. About as crowded as the tower was. This time I was expecting the crowds however. We did a little window shopping – most things were getting ready to close. Ducked into the Swatch store and then stopped for a couple of beers. I think by this point the Kidney was kinda annoyed and just wanted to sit and have a few beers. Unfortunately there really wasn’t a lot of sitting and beer drinking on the trip.
After the best pint of Guinness I’ve ever had and several small dishes of roasted peanuts we headed back out on the street. We decided to wander a side street to find a place for dinner but unfortunately the way were turned had nothing but closed stores. Some time late, tired and annoyed, we found ourselves back on the Champs.

I’d vetoed café/brasserie food for the night – that didn’t go over well but had I not done that… we wouldn’t have ended up where we did. Being tired & cranky we picked pretty much the very next restaurant we came across. It was an Alsace region restaurant that looked pretty upscale. A short wait at the bar and we were shuffled downstairs to a table in the back. This would turn out to be the common theme at most of the restaurants we went to on our trip. American = table in the back.

So it turns out that the thing to order at this restaurant is this MASSIVE seafood platter. We saw half of it as we walked to the bar. It’s served cold on a tray larger than any oyster tray I’ve ever seen. They had it for 1 or 2 people and it was quite pricey. More than just oysters, it had stuff on it I’ve never seen or heard of before. So of course the Kidney had to order it. While we waited on our dinner I wondered what a whelk and a winkle were. Percy thought I made those names up. But I didn’t. How could I? I googled it the next day. Whelks are snails in barnacle looks shells and winkles are tiny little black snails. It’s short for periwinkle. And all along I thought that was just a color. Who knew?
Back to the seafood platter – it had about a dozen various oysters, shrimp, whelks, winkles, crab and some still to be identified TINY little shrimp. Quite the feast – and we took no photo of it. Sad really. But the dining room we were sitting in had a mirrored ceiling and walls. The flash from our camera would’ve bounced for days.

Our waiter was very entertaining with his limited English and my limited French. All in all he took good care of us. We ended dinner with desert – sorbet for me, crème brulee for Deanna and a glass of Mirabelle for the boys. Turns out Mirabelle is the French version of grappa and way better. The drinks were served in tiny little brandy snifters set in mini soup terrines filled with ice to keep them chilled. Excellent marks for drink presentation.

Full and content we made our way back to the apartment and up five flights of stairs and went straight to bed.
Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
So we're home. I never did find the time required to finish posting while we were there.
And I'm finding it a little difficult to come back to updating once several days have gone by. But I'll do my best with recounting the rest of our trip.

I left off with it being Sunday morning and rainy. The rain wasn't really that bad. Just a little misting really. It had let up by the time we left the apartment. We wandered towards the metro stop in search of something for lunch. In retrospect this whole lunch thing slowed us down quite a bit. It's not like lunch here where you're rushed. Lunch there is as time consuming as dinner can be. But it's vacation... what else is there to do but relax?

Anyway, we'd wanted to check out this place that boasted an "American" breakfast complete with pancakes but when we got to the cafe there was a long line out the door and it turned out the place only had about 10 seats. So we kept wandering and stumbled across a little Spanish tapas place. How's that for complete opposite - pancakes to tapas. We walked in to a small restaurant that was all red and were greeted by two rowdy little Jack Russells who had taken over the restaurants only three bar stools. The woman running the place came out to greet us and to tell her little monsters to be quiet. They settled down into their chairs and continued to keep an eye on us our entire lunch. But back to the tapas. Part of the menu was in Spanish and part in French so we had an easier time figuring out what was what. We were told that the tapas menu was a choice of 4 items minimum per person. Or that's what I understood her to say. However, a little while later I saw a table only order 2 things. But that's ok. We had a pretty broad sample of the tapas and they were all good. The only thing I couldn't figure out on the menu was which was the mussel dish. I should've just pointed... but pointing in France is very rude. As in most tiny restaurants in Paris the kitchen was downstairs. Some time later our host came up the winding staircase with a tray over flowing with tapas. Lunch was served. I'm not really sure how she manages to carry those trays up and down those stairs in heels. Everything made it to our table in one piece. We'd ordered a couple of orders of bacalaou (which Percy and I had at Nick's house during world cup), some ham croquettes, chorizo (which wound up being pepperoni), manchego on toast, sardines, ham with jalapeno, lomo (which I still don't know what kind of meat it was but it was damn good), calamari, potato torta and I'm sure something else that I'm forgetting. Waaaaay too much food.

Some time later we'd finished lunch and were on our way to see Jim Morrisson. It was a perfect gloomy over cast day to go wandering around a giant cemetery. Now I love these old cemeteries and their sculpture and interesting head stones and mausoleums and could spend all day at Pere Lachaise taking photos. But some how I didn’t think anyone else would share my enthusiasm. We wandered around the perimeter a bit. Met a fat fluffy French cat that was wandering around. Probably visiting some old friends. Deanna managed to navigate us to Morrisson’s grave fairly easily. I’ve seen it before – it certainly pales in comparison to it’s surroundings. After a few requisite photos we were off in search of someone else… who it was escapes me now. We were about to give up when we came across a couple of tourists looking for the same person. A couple of the cemetery workers were showing them how to get there, so we just followed along. On the way there we passed something very familiar. A large Mayan stone carving like the ones we’d seen in Belize. I called Percy over to have a look and said, “Look, this is a Mayan carving like Deanna and I saw in Belize. Can you Belize it?” To which he replied, “That’s unBelizeable.” As we were walking off a man in a Doors tshirt carrying a Doors book approached us. I was sure he was going to ask us where Morrisson’s grave was but instead he told us that the man buried under the Mayan carving was a Pulitzer prize winning writer from Guatemala who’d died in France. The only people buried at Pere Lachaise are the famous or the French. He also told us that it was a “marketing ploy” to have people like the Guatemalan writer there. Marketing ploy… at a cemetery… you’ve got to be kidding me.

After that the troops had pretty much fizzled on Pere Lachaise and we’d decided to go to the other side of the river and check out the Luxembourg Garden.

By now it was starting to get dark. We’d made it to the other side of the river but for the life of us could not figure out which way to go. A painful 30 minutes in trying to figure out which way the freakin’ park was… and we’d found it. Just in time for closing. Good job! I sat and rested my left foot, which had mysteriously decided to act up, while the others wandered a bit to check out the park. Literally 5 minutes later the park police start blowing their whistles to clear the park. Great timing… We wandered back in the direction of the metro stop and decided to take a quick rest at a café on a busy corner.
By this time all I wanted to do was go back to the apartment and lay in bed. I was tired. My feet were tired. My hair was tired. It was ridiculous. I was dreading the Kidney making the call for a big night out on our only Sunday there.

We ended the night with take our pizza, wine and several rounds of LRC – the best dice game ever. A perfect ending to an overcast gloomy day in Paris.

Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
Ok - I have no clue what day it is. Yesterday I thought it was Friday for the majority of the day only to find out that it was Saturday. How does this happen? Does jet lag really have that much of an affect on your ability to know what time it is or what day it is? Anyway, it's Sunday. And they do observe day light savings time in France. Which I find quite sad as I can't stand day light savings time. But that means an "extra" hour to the day I suppose.

It's finally raining. We woke up to a quiet, wet and dreary street this morning. You can barely see the Eiffel Tower this morning it's so foggy. Last night was our first night in the loft as the Kidney joined us yesterday. He's... well to put it bluntly too big for the loft. So we had no choice but to give up our posh master bedroom downstairs and take the tiny loft upstairs. It wasn't that bad. I was afraid the little bed - which I think is a full - wouldn't be big enough for the two of us, but we managed just fine. I guess Percy and I don't take us as much room as we think we do.

Yesterday we did our first actual touristy things. We took the metro to the Isle de la Cite and went to Notre Dame and St Chapelle. It was pretty crowded in that little area. More so than I've seen before. But then again it was a Saturday afternoon (not Friday). Lots of tourists milling about eating crepes taking photos. I waited outside while the rest of the group made their way through Notre Dame. People watching was entertainment enough for me. After that we took a break at a near by cafe so the boys could par take in larger than life pints of beer. I think they were gallons. Maybe. The rest was a good idea though. My knee was a little stiff that morning and I was worried about my feet as usualy. But both did exceedingly well. After the beer and wine we headed over to St Chapell just in time for the sun to come out. We hit it about 30 minutes before closing and there was still a pretty good line. But well worth it. I don't think Percy was quite prepared for the amazing stained glass windows of the upper chapel. He truely seemed awe struck. The kidney & deanna made a quicker tour of it and waited downstairs for us while we took in the beauty of the setting sun hitting the stained glass windows that seem to be a mile high. A quick tour of the merch table and a gargoyle magnet later and we were off.

Much to the boys horror (I think) deanna suggested we stop by the H&M we'd seen on the way to Notre Dame. Um... yes please. What is it with these stores? They're always so damn packed and in a mess. They had the heater cranked up to near inferno at this one too. But I think that's just how French stores are. The boys headed upstairs to the mens department and didn't last long due to the crowds. deanna and I headed down to the womens section which looked like a bomb had exploded. We riffled through the racks, found several items each and headed for the dressing rooms. No luck for deanna but I bought everything I had except for one dress. And I'm still not sure what universe I thought that would fit me in.
Anyway, I came away with a cute retro hounds tooth jacket with cropped sleeves and a peter pan collar. It's probably a tad small but I don't usually button jackets. A green and white floral print wrap dress, a black and white kimono blouse, a white and black polka dot dress with ruffles on the front and a black pair of kinda sparkly stretch pants. Quite the haul for about 135 euros. Now Percy and I really do need to buy another bag for the return trip.

After the madness that was H&M the kidney looked like he was about to pass out. Jet lag was catching up with him. We shuffled him back to the metro and got him back home in no time. After a little leisure time at the apartment we were ready to head out for dinner. It was supposed to be a quick walk but since I can't seem to figure out how to read a map we walked a little farther than intended. All worth it though once we reached our destination. A quaint little restaurant called L'Apparemment Cafe. Which I thought until just now was called "L'Appartement". I have a feeling we were lucky to get a table with out a reservation. The guy who greeted us stalled a little before granting us access to a table. Cute place. The front was a bunch of couches, chairs and coffee tables and in the very back (which of course was tiny) there were a few tables - mostly set up for parties of 10 it seemed. I wasn't sure what to expect but it turned out that dinner was a plate of mix and match munchies. There were paper menues on the table and our waiter did his best to explain that each person had to choose a minimum of 4 items for their plate. You had the choice of several cheeses, meats, veggies, fruits and some "special" items like pate and roasted red peppers. Then you chose 3 other little things - olives, tiny pickles, parmesean cheese. And finally a dressing. Which I thought at first was a dipping oil. See I wasn't exactly sure how this plate was going to come served. Turns out... it's kind of like a salad. Looked like the took some nice lettuce, put that in the middle of a plate and dressed it. The rest of your choices were piled around the plate. Voila - dinner. All in all it turned out quite nice and a lot better than I'd expected when we were filling out our little menu cards. We played a long game of Uno while we waited for our plates and enjoyed a bottle of wine that was from LaGrange - but not La Grange Texas. We finished off with dessert - an apple crumble for me and a brownie for deanna. Apple crumble and brownie - who knew?!

After that we decided to call it a night and walked back to the apartment. Of course it took us less time to get home than it did to get to the cafe. Go figure. ;)

So like I said, it's cold and rainy today. I have no idea what exactly we're going to do. Coupled with the kinda crappy weather is the fact that it's Sunday and there's not much open. There was talk yesterday of the Louvre today - but I hope not as I'd wanted to send Percy and the others to the museum while I went shopping. Yeah, I know it's the Louvre.. but I've already seen it. I'm not a museum person.
Maybe we'll hit the cemetaries today. Nice gloomy weather for it.

Pictures - yes eventually. Percy's taken over 300 so far. I've taken... 10. And I really hate to say this but I don't think I'll take near as many as he will. Probably b/c I've seen it several times already. But then we haven't been to the Eiffle tower yet. You can't have enough pictures of the view. ;)
Category: Travel
Posted by: admin2
So we're here. Paris. The apartment rocks. The several flights of stairs to get to the apartment & my kinda bad knee do not however rock. But I reckon it's all worth it because the place.... rocks. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance from one of the windows in the loft. Percy is taking pictures of it all lit up as I type this.

The flights out weren't too bad. The flight from DFW to Paris was a little more crowded than I'd hoped so the pipe dream of scoring a row to myself to spread out & sleep were crushed. We managed to catch a little shut eye but I tossed & turned and leaned every which way on Percy for about 6 hours. The drive in to town always takes longer than I think it will. Right about an hour. Traffic sucks. It's like NYC traffic. Only faster - if that's possible. Our driver was excellent though and dropped us at the front door unharmed. 80 euro well spent. I love having someone waiting for you as you exit baggage claim with your name on a placque who immediatley escorts you to a car.

The apartment wasn't ready when we got finally got in the building. So we went & sat at the cafe next door to wait. Percy & Deanna experienced their first coffee order - perhaps expecting a normal sized cup & getting something just barely larger than an esspresso. I went with tea. Much better bargain. After that we milled around a while and returned to the apartment an hour later. Our maintenance/care taker guy Miguel wasn't there but his sister was. Once Miguel arrived he explained to me the "rules" of the apartment and repeated everything in Spanish to Deanna. I think we have it covered.

From there we wandered the area, had lunch at some tiny little sandwich shop and found a Monoprix for a few staples - wine, coffee, beer & kinderchocolat. I also came back with some interesting Fritos. Roasted chicken and thyme. They're actually quite good. Deanna thinks they're gross.

Trying to stay awake a full day to beat the jet lag we hung around the apartment and then failed miserably by taking a brief nap. We're just back from dinner at a cafe down the street. Not bad. Not the best ever, but not bad. They had an english menu which was very helpful seeing as how I've lost ALL of my vocabulary apparenlty. We totally pigged out. Percy had a bloody steak with fries, Deanna had a goat cheese salad and a beef kabob and I had a sword fish steak. All this washed down with a lovely bottle of house red wine. We of course had dessert. Oddly I'm not feeling that stufffed. Anyway, Deanna had the creme brulee - far better than any I've had in the states. And I had a cocolate cake that was like a warm dense piece of chocolate heaven covered in a chocolate sauce. Percy had another glass of wine. It's vacation! Of course he did.

We decided to check out a little more of the neighborhood and walk off some of the dessert after dinner. After walking another larger circle around our apartment, opposite direction from earlier in the afternoon, we finally got back to the apartment and the 5 flights of stairs. I think it'll be ok. As long as I take it easy all week it should be fine.... Just fine... Until I have to spend the rest of the week with the lovely Portuguese consierge lady on the 1st floor!!

Jill - the mani/pedi was awesome the other night. I love that place by the office. You should've come.

Pictures next time! Percy's already taken like 30 or something. I've taken 5.