Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mama Needs a New iPhone

Last night I with friends to a mutual friend's concert in Ivry right outside of the southeastern Paris. After the concert we decided to head home and make it an early night since most of us were still recovering from a Noctilien bus ride the evening before. We rode the metro together until Place d'Italie where Sam and I got off to switch to our respective metro lines. I hopped on my metro, sat down, and took out the jPhone to play a game to pass the time. I noticed a tall a man standing in front of the fold down seat to my right and thought nothing of him at the time. I couldn't even describe him if I had to except to say that he was wearing an army green jacket. A stop or two later a family got on the metro with their cute young son in tow. I took a few seconds to glance at the tot and before I knew it we were at the next stop where the doors to the metro opened and the tall man standing to my left snatch my jPhone from my hands, ran off the train and began running along the unusually empty train platform. I did the only thing I could think of started to run after him in my 3 inch heels and dress. Half way across the platform I ditched the shoes because they were slowing me down, ran up the stairs and only to discover that the phone thief had disappeared into the night.

During the whole ordeal I was in complete shock as to what was taking place. During the rest of my metro ride home I felt a brief period of anger but the enduring emotion is disappointment in myself for being so careless and somewhat naive. What happened to me is one of those things that you read about and hear from other people but never think could happen to you until of course it does.


R.I.P jPhone
July 17, 2008 - April 25,2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Take That Mud!

My comical friend YM likes to joke and say that Parisians prefer to dress in colors that resemble shades of mud e.g. grays, browns, blacks and muted greens. Her theory is that Parisians don't like to do laundry very often and by dressing in dull, muted and bland colors they can put off the tedious task of doing laundry for as long as possible. While I don't agree with her hypothesis I do agree with her original observation.

Which brings me to this morning as I was riding the metro. I looked down and noticed my shiny new Mellow Yellow shoes and came to the realization that their bright pink hue did not fit into the accepted Parisian color palette. So what did I do? I snapped a quick photo, smiled a devilish grin and realized that I loved them that much more in spite of this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Le Paris Pratique

Paris, unlike NYC is not a city that one can easily navigate without some assistance. One of the most indispensible resources to anyone living in Paris is the Paris Pratique, which one rarely leaves home without. The Paris Pratique is a handy dandy map divided by arrondissement which is very useful when navigating throughout the city and trying to figure out which way to go after exiting the metro. There are several versions of this guide but I highly recommend the slim blue one pictured above which devotes 2 pages or so to arrondissement. Now while I praise the usefulness of this little blue book I must admit to rarely ever using one. During my first year in Paris I heavily relied on my Moleskine Paris City Notebook which was indiscrete, included detailed maps of most arrondissements and could be used as a notebook as well. The only drawback was that it was severely lacking in usefulness when it came to navigating “Real Paris” and you all know how I feel about “Real Paris”. 

Now that I am no longer an indentured servant working for the state and am actually pulling in a salary, I upgraded to a handy dandy iPhone which essentially does everything (when I actually have a connection and the battery doesn't die on me).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bordeaux in Photos

By Day

By Night

Bordeaux in Detail

*Warning: this is an unusually long post.

Prior to heading to Bordeaux I had some pre-birthday cocktails at my favorite bar in Paris. Somehow thanks to my girls Juliet, YM and Sarah we ended up getting a private tour of the hotel by to one of the owners. And if that wasn't enough there were complimentary rounds of piscines thanks to the owner's kindness and generoristy. Getting home late and full of champagne (I'm not one to turn down a free cocktail especially when they're going for 12€ a pop) I was afraid I would miss my 7AM train the following morning. Fortunately, that wasn't a problem and I made it right on time.

The 3 hour train ride was uneventful and passed fairly quickly as I used it as an opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep. Upon arriving in Bordeaux a friend picked us up at the gare and gave us a short guided tour of the city by car. After lunch, while my friend KD worked for a bit Kiki and I decided to take a free rickshaw ride. The driver told that his sole destination would be a mutuelle office on the other side of town and if we stayed for the sales pitch we would be offered a free gift. Not one to turn down a free gift and having nothing else better to do for the afternoon we hopped in. The driver must have found us charmer or possibly realized that he wouldn't have many other riders during the afternoon and offered to give us a tour of the city as well.

On Saturday we drove to check out Saint-Émillion which was absolutely gorgeous and picturesque despite the rainy and gray weather. Unfortunately, because we got a late start we didn't get to do any wine tastings altough we did have an enjoyable lunch. After and afternoon spent in Saint-Émillion we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the evening which included a Felipecha concert. It was my first time listening them and I must say that really enjoyed their live performance and I'd highly encourage you all to check them out. We all hung out after the concert and had an amazing time. At midnight my friends and the band started singing happy birthday to me which was quite embarassing. However, one of the bartenders heard the singing and offered each of us a yummy cannelets as a little gift.

On Sunday, after a late night we managed to get ourselves together and head to a vineyard in Barsac for a wine tasting. The region's specialty is a sweeter tasting Sauternes wine which, at first, I wasn't sure I would like. Turns out I really enjoyed the younger less sweet option that I tasted and ended up buying a few bottles. After our visit to the vineyard we headed back to Bordeaux to do some shopping at the outlet stores along the Quai des Marques and I scored some desperately needed new jeans. Sunday evening we took it easy and enjoyed a nice, relaxing dinner.

After 3 days of grey and gloomy skies, the sun reappeared on Monday in full forced. We used this opportunity to drive to Arcachon to visit la Dune de Pilat which is essentially a giant pile of sand. After laboriously trekking to the top we were rewarded with the most stunning views of the bay. After a short rest at the top to take it all in and enjoy the sun, we climbed back down, grabbed some lunch then drove back to the gare in Bordeaux.

All in all if was a fabulous weekend and I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my birthday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Celebrating My Birthday in Bordeaux

Enjoying a birthday cannelet


Sent from my iPhone

*Note: Updated to fix image.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

French Zealots

The French are fanatical about their language hence, my aversion to adopting the native language of the land. Reason being I generally don't support zealotry in any form. 

Case in point the follow sign was posted in the elevators of my office building:

Version 2 After Modifications


Version 3 After Further Modifications

Little does the red penned zealot know that accents on capitalized words are optional

Monday, April 6, 2009

On Internet Dating

Being sick this past weekend I was unable to accomplish a number of things that I had planned such as enjoying the sun, checking out a museum, etc. I ended up spending most of Sunday in bed watching CNN Europe. Out of sheer boredom, an impending birthday, and a lack of success on the dating front since moving to Paris I decided to join Meetic.com. I had sworn off of online dating once and for all after my previous foray during my days in NYC but I thought what the heck I've got nothing to lose. New city, new site, new people non?

Almost immediately after signing up for the site I regretted my decision. While the response to my profile has been overwhelmingly positive which is a good thing and a nice ego boost I'm left questioning what their response is actually based on. As of today my profile is still incomplete and lacking a description so they aren't evaluating me based on personality. Additionally, for almost a full day I had no picture associated with my profile so they weren't evaluating me on that either. So what gives?

Then there's the issue that every time I log into the site profiles of men flash across the screen trying to initiate a chat, I've received a new email or flash (whatever that is). And it all kind of feels like vultures vs. prey to me.

Lastly, if I were somehow able to get past my first two issues with the site, there's the issue of paying which I just can't justify for many a reason. I'd much rather put that money use purchasing cocktails at my favorite bar and flirting with the much too young bartenders, treating myself to a nice birthday present or buying some new summer sandals.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chance Encounters

Paris is a pretty big city with approximately 2 million inhabitants living in Paris proper and up to 10 million living in the surrounding suburbs. So the odds of randomly running into someone that you know while going about your daily business are pretty low if you ask me but not impossible.

And that's exactly what happened to me on Friday evening as I was walking along the train platform on my way to meet friends for a drink. As I was walking along the platform I caught the eye of a gentlemen standing there waiting for the train. I continued to stare as I walked past him unsure of why he looked so familiar. After I had passed him it clicked and I turned once again to get another look to confirm my suspicions and that's when he called out my name. And that folks is how I randomly ran into BC (my biggest crush in Paris). This wasn't the first, but the second time we've ran into each other this way since meeting.

We exchanged our hellos and pleasantries and proceeded to ride the metro together for several stops. I was half hoping that he would profess his undying love for me and to ask me to marry him but apparently that only happens in the movies. We made some awkward small talk, I cracked a few silly jokes which ended up being complete duds and then I was on my way. While it was nice to run into BC randomly and it's something that I wished for on several occasions I realized that he's not the French guy for me and I need to find a replacement.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Technical Difficulties...

Apparently some of my blog readers have been having trouble subscribing to my blog in a reader of their choice. I suspect it has something to do with my change from a Feedburner account to my Google account.

Nonetheless, if you're interested in subscribing to my blog use the following link for the time being:
http://feeds2.feedburner.com/LtrangreAmericaine

...we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sometimes My Life is a Joke

Top 3 reasons why my life is sometimes a joke:

1. Went to the Post Office today and was greeted with this signage:


2. Received a letter from my old mutuelle telling me that they plan to credit my bank account for the remainder of my doctor's payment not covered by social security. (On the surface this probably doesn't seem so bad but it actually means that I'll be caused headaches at some point in the future).

3. Made my second trip to Flo Bio to pick up the results of some blood work and was nonchalantly told to come back on Friday because the "first results came back positive so they sent the sample to another lab to be analyzed."* Uhm ok nice job dropping a bomb on me and telling me that I have to wait another 2 days before I know for sure.

* Disclaimer: I'm not pregnant and no the blood tests weren't for anything serious

There was an error in this gadget