jeudi 15 juin 2006

Madame, Mom
Madame, Mom, originally uploaded by m!les.

The big question for the day is “Are we going to The Catacombes?” The answer was “Non.” Due to logistical planning problems, neither The Catacombes (Paris’s City of the Dead) nor the Archeological Crypt of Notre Dame would work, so we opted for some souvenir shops nearby. I only bought a letter opener which may or may not become a letter opener souvernir.

From there we journeyed back, collected our bags, packed a car, and everyone but Dad and Madame tramped to the Metro.

On the metro, Mom and I met a Parisian woman who had lived for a time in Chicago. She spoke fluent English, with a little trace of an accent, and asked about the definition of the word “mix-match“. We talked to her for a couple stops. Thinking on it now, we gave her the definition of “mismatch“.

Then to the train station at Gare de Lyons. There we met the other two with our bags. I stopped at a photo kiosk and got my picture taken for 2 euros. It’s for Holli. :)

We set and waited for the train to Clermont-Ferrand to board. We had lunch: sandwhiches, chips, and coke. We put tags on the bags. Then we boarded our train. All was good until we tried to find our seat. Then it was discovered that our tickets were for the 16th, not 15th (see post title). We were scared, and Camille was angry (at her dad). She pleaded with an official, and we sat in unchosen seats. Thusly we enjoyed our trip: Linds, Bryce, Moll, and Bren in one quad and Camille, moi, Mom, and Dad in the other. The trip was problemless.

Arriving in Clermont we were met by Benedicte and Benoit and Alfred. We climbed into 2 vehicles, I and Bryce with Camille and Benedicte, where Camille was practicing her driving to be ready to take her test. Her driving wasn’t bad. France, not just Paris, is crazy with driving. Apparently there are a lot of accidents and harsher driving laws have helped to curb that.

We drove to the house and dropped our bags off. The first part of the evening was spent conversing and having champagne, soda, and pretzels. We met Quitterie, the youngest. Then they left to get Antoine. He is the eldest and most fluent English speaker of the kids. He took us to his place, which is elsewhere in Clermont-Ferrand, to download Bryce’s pictures, which caused him to run out of battery power (and it’s an odd, random battery). From Antoine’s we travelled to a volcano in the region, the Puy-de-Dôme. Clermont-Ferrand is situated within the Auvergne Moutains, made up of dormant volcanoes. I had a major ordeal in the bathroom there where I had trapsed almost all over the WC only to find that the floor was wet, and I had left my sexy footprints everywhere. So, I tried in vain to clean it as much as possible with toilet paper as I backed out.

Puy-de-Dôme, originally uploaded by m!les.

The mountains were beautiful. We sat and had champagne (again) and chips and talked. Antoine had told us to correct him whenever he pronounces something wrong or uses the wrong word, so I have been. It’s been interesting conversation, and I don’t mean that sarcastically.

Once back, Alfred took me to my resting place. See, I am seperated from the group in order to have a bed. I would argue the point, but it’s obvious that Benedicte has put a lot of work into getting this room, even though I am fine sleeping on the floor if it a means a little familiarity in a foreign country. I suppose that sort of feeling is what Mom had when she came over here, 37 years ago. There is a French guy staying here (probably around my age) who speaks fluent English. He showed me around, and I set my stuff down, and then Alfred and I left.

Once back we dined. It was omelettes and cheese (Bryce’s favorite saying!). Camille left to stay at a friend’s place (perhaps to free up a bed), but the rest of us ate. There was a lot of conversation in both languages, and a little in Spanish, too. The meal was good, as was the dessert. Shortly after, however, I headed back here with Alfred to settle in. The guy here is chatty (I suppose being friendly), but it makes me uncomfortable, as I’m not at all sure of the traditions, customs, or manners in this place, and I’d hate to offend anyone. Oh, well.

I told my parents of my plans for NYC in July. I’m still not sure if I’m going. I haven’t been able to check my mail yet. Hopefully tomorrow. Discovered that Bryce reminds everyone of a comical actor who created a character called “Brice de Nice”, who thinks he’s a surfer from the Mediterranean (where there are no waves).

I am le tired.

France – June 06 Flickr set (June 15)

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