Monday, April 27, 2009

Paris

FOR MY BLOG POST I AM COPYING THE EMAIL I SENT HOME DETAILING MY TRIP.  MAY BORE THE HECK OUT OF 99% OF PEOPLE, BUT IN CASE YOU WANTED TO HEAR ABOUT IT...

hello friends...
on the plane home from paris...tired but happy with a pocketful of memories.  we were so jet setters for the past few days.  up early and going all day until 11 or 12.  wanted to share a few fun memories in an email.  be thankful i'm not inviting you over for a slide show because we took a kajillion photos (mostly of things we don't know the name to if i'm being honest).
1.  first nite there we went on a Seine river cruise.  literally had cocktails atop a boat at sunset. apparently the tradition is to toast and take a drink under every bridge (and there were a LOT of bridges).  I mostly faked it b/c you all know how i do with just one glass of wine.  on either side of the river is almost every site/monument you picture in your head when you think of paris.  it was astounding---the city is BEAUTIFUL and i felt like i was in a dream (or in the least, on a movie set).  then we had dinner and later a "dance off" where Mark did the worm---this probably doesn't surprise most of you 
2.  we got to eat lunch on the first level of the Eiffel Tower.  they said the room where we ate has a 3 month waiting list...fancy schmancy.  then Mark and I went off on a 7 hour walking/metro exploration of the city (Notre Dame Cathedral, Latin Quarter, Montmartre, Champs de Elysee, etc., etc. etc.).  spent a lot of time in the narrow streets lined with little shops and food vendors.  felt very Parisian.  on our way home we walked 5 miles, so i can only guess that day we probably did 10 or so total.  (which is why in a city where people scarf bread and cheese and drink wine pretty much all day, you rarely see anyone who is overweight.)  this was also our "sore thumb" day (see pic).  Parisians wear muted colors...lots of brown, gray and black.  mark and i had on red and hot pink.  so as we held up our map and scratched our heads in wonder, we couldn't have looked more touristy. 
 Just a side note....my hubs has mad skills in navigating the metro (but not such mad skills in navigating the streets :).  i was proud of him, and thankful b/c i was literally like a child just following and trusting
3. we did go to the Louvre but we didn't stay long.  saw the Mona Lisa (smaller than I thought) and Venus de Milo and a few other things, but
 I think it honestly would've been better if we'd gotten the headphones that give you a guided tour OR if I knew the first thing about art (i'm hearing the theme of beverly hillbilly's in my head as I type).  

4.  another side note...about the people there.  i only had to pull out my bon qui qui "rude" a few times.  they weren't stereotypically awful to us, but i felt "tolerated" for the most part.  A ALOT of them smoke and a tour guide we had told us we (americans) were to thank for that, as the GIs introduced cigarettes to the french during WW2.  a lot of them also ride vespas at ridiculously fast speeds.  if a pedestrian is in the way, they honk and maybe swerve if you're lucky.   
5.  on to the gala.  it was at a gorgeous pavilion and it was the only time we mixed with all the other countries represented.  so it was fun to see everyone dressed in their culture's version of cocktail dress---which apparently to some cultures was polyester pants and 
their favorite cardigan  (ok, so that was mean of me).  there was this music playing that was SO euro (think Mike Meyers on SNL..."I'm Deter, this is the time we dance).  and these people on stilts and in crazy costumes walked around as we mingled during cocktail hour (see pics b/c words can't express).
 
 then at dinner we had several courses and everytime a course was about to come out, "weird stilt people" would come out in a white outfit with balls all over it??? for a grand entrance.  just all so european.  it was a fun nite and believe it or not, my first time in real heels (AKA razor blades).  there were about 650 people there (320 sales reps plus guest).  have to give a shout out to the hubs... 100, 000 people work for the company world wide, and only 320 won this trip...don't tell him i bragged about him---won't sit well with him
6.  so we saved the best for last.  for those of you who don't know my hubs and i love learning about WW2 (esp. hubs).  we decided to deviate from the rest of our group and take a train from paris to visit the sites of D-DAy in Normandy.    this ended up being our favorite part of the trip.  even though mark and i booked this on our own, we ended up taking 2 new friends we met with us (who were also slightly obsessed with WW2).  rode the train 2 hours to get there and saw the french countryside...picturesque.  we had our own tour guide who was a walking wikipedia of all things normandy.  he took us to the usual attractions but also to some off the beaten path sites that weren't as well known.  we saw Utah and Omaha Beach, Bayeax, Carentan, and the cemetary.  at every stop he would hold up a photo taken in 1944 during the war and tell us the relevance and context and we'd look up and realize we were in the very spot the photo was taken.  WOW.  learned so much.  laughed.  cried.  truly amazing.


so that's it in a nutshell, a very small nutshell.  it was one of those things where words fail you.  
we missed all of you a lot and will be glad to be home and back in the swing.  can't wait to see you all!!!
Mindy 

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