Saturday, 21 June 2014

Paris 3.0

It's funny how the little things excite us more than anything else. Like how we pulled up in this train-cart whatever you call it, at Dover. IMG_2548 It's like the train is a portkey in Harry Potter and when you park your car in and poof! you've landed in France! Apparently, this is called the Channel Tunnel, which is constructed underwater. Or rather, it is built within the layers of ground under the sea. So you drive your bus into a train, park it inside until the train is loaded and ready to go.

Advantage: just too cool to be overlooked
Downside: I didn't even know whether I was on ground or underwater cos' it was all dark from the window of the train. IMG_2556 So there we go, after landing in France and a 300km ride, we arrived in the heart of Paris! Bonjour! IMG_2659 As we all know, France is a beautiful yet ridiculous country. I guess stubbornness runs in all French blood. #nevermarryFrench. Being one of the richest nation and in G8, France is the biggest operator of nuclear conversion to electricity. Well, every year G8 countries would get some marine boats to go negotiate with France to reduce the usage of nuclear power but well, it is obvious that they haven't succeeded. And France is famous for being stubborn in many other things. Like their food. Although just a sea apart, French food is obviously a lot better than the English food, which is near unbearable. There's almost no competition simply because English food is meh so I don't know how the fight about French or English having better culinaries can last as long as centuries.

There are plenty of great food just everywhere in France. Firstly, the French have their snails, the es cargots! IMG_20140601_003702 It just gets me wondering how French can make snails, these things that purr and crawl on soil and shits, taste so refined and relishing... French and their mystery. I don't want to imagine what they have added. BUT, but snails are never among the biggest French food around!French fries and croissants are! ......Only that they stole both from other countries and claim them theirs.... French fries known as frits in France was originated from Belgium, while croissants, the heavily buttered pastry is from Austria. Both of which France are never gonna give back to their origins. Yesh! These ahre mhine! says a French. But their fondness for weird food, either stolen or processed, doesn't end here.

This is a food which is already banned in many countries, which even parisians themselves don't eat. The goose liver, Foei gras (fwa-gra). Foie_gras_en_cocotte It is a controversial product of forcing a tube into a goose's gastrointestinal tract, constantly force-feeding 300g of corns everyday, until their livers are fat enough. Basically, it just means fatty liver. Being a French delicacy, it's ironic how Parisians don't eat them so it's extremely hard to see them in Paris. Usually, it's packed in a pink yellow Pâté form. I remember it tasting somehow buttery with a nugget-like texture. It just tastes... liver-rish.

But this is not why France is so famous with its stubbornness. The main reason is how French always think that France is the best country is the world. Or the ONLY country in the world. When you start travelling more around the world, you'd come to realise that you just don't meet so many French internationally. This is because French stays home a lot that when they travel they just usually go caravan around the French outskirts and that's all. We ain't noh stepping ohn your lands le stupide! Read this sentence out loud in a nasal tone with an oomph! at the noh! and you'd make a perfect French accent. Yes, you're doing it right! IMG_2723 Imagine a conversation that went like this:

French: Bonjour (bong-zhur/ hello)
Me: Bonjour! Bonjour! Comment ça va?(Ka-moh-se-va/ how are you?)
French: oui ça va! bien, bien! Comment ça va? (wee se va! bian bian! Ka-moh-se-va?/ yes great! Well Well! How are you?)
Me: the weather... comme ci comme ça (cum-si-cum-sa/ so-so)
French: *wave hands frantically* Why makes you say this? You should feel so happy! You're in the best country in the world!!!
... 3 seconds pause...
Me: haha oui oui! Now I gotta goooo merci! tres bien! (tra-bian/very good) au revoir(o-re-voa)!! Byee!

Thank goodness he didn't say you're in the ONLY country in the world!, I would have fainted on him.

Of course, it isn't just the goose liver, the stolen food and the patriotism that makes the French ridiculously interesting. They also have the... most ironic and weirdest history ever. Just like the story about this square in the photo below. IMG_2633 This is place de la Concorde, which is commonly called the Concorde square. As you can see, there is a gold-capped obelisk pillar right at the middle. If you actually look closely, it doesn't look like anything that may belong natively to Paris. In fact, it once belonged to Egypt. What happened was Napolean was travelling around the world and "accidentally" took this obelisk back home to France. Some claim it's given by the Egyptian as a friendly gesture towards France. But ever since the obelisk "accidentally" landed here, every year Egypt's international relation has been writing letters to France hoping that the French would give them the obelisk back. Every single year, the French have said no. I think the exchange of letter lasts even until today, every year. Hahahaha, I told you the French blood coats with stubbornness.

Another irony happened during the French Revolution. Kings and queens enjoy and spend extravagantly and the public suffered to cope with breads. Before the French Revolution, the King Louis XVI invented this beheading apparatus called Guillotine where a person is to lay facedown on a set of rectangular wooden structure, then the blade suspended above would drop and cut his head. During the revolution, people were so angry that they executed King Louis XVI using his own inventment. Good for the king to have a taste of his own creation.IMG_2757 It was reported that the square was so bloody after the uprising as many died that, the horses when near the square, would go crazy and refuse to go in. Thus, around in Paris, especially on the edges of the bridges, you would see many statues with a horse half in the air, and a man on ground to pull the horse down.

Another thing, which is the most ridiculous of them all, is the size of Louvre. IMG_2834 Even though I have been inside Louvre beside, I have never been able to really estimate how big it really is. Rooms are connected to one another and you walk from one to one without realising how far have you walked. Of course la, I am not talking about the glass triangle behind. How big can that be? I'm talking about the palace at the back, where Mona Lisa is. Louvre palace has 30,000 rooms. And this isn't even the most ridiculous part yet. The most ridiculous shit is that, with 30,000 individual rooms, King Louis XIV/XVI still thought that it was too small for him so he demanded for another palace to be built: the Versailles.

LOL WTF I am happy just having 1 room. imagine having 30,000 rooms. If you are to sleep in different rooms every night, you gotta live for 200 years to do that =.=ll Well of course, now a lot of rooms in Louvre are merged for arts displaying purpose.

Back in a few paragraphs, I have talked about the superiorly patriotic spirit of the French. And it is interesting how it seeps into their daily habit. One of the most prominent social phenomenon in France is their Café culture. Have you ever noticed how all the chairs outside a Café faces the road? Well, it's a French thing, to sit outside the Café - sit and be seen! They are hoping that tourists would be looking and pointing at them like ooo look at them French gorgeous and classy and they will act like they totally don't see you taking photos of them. IMG_2869 Another funny thing about this Café culture is that, they never leave the Café. They sit there the whole day on sit-and-seen mode. Besides, don't expect the waiters to come to you the moment you entered the Café because a slow service is considered a good service there. So if you want your bill early you gotta be a little stern, or put some iron on the fist so the saying goes. IMG_2707 Some people say the French are lazy. I am not denying that. Apparently the new law that just got approved says that the working hour is only 32 hour/week. In fact, it goes as far as this: it is illegal to pick up any calls or do any work when it is out of office hour. So let's see, a person only needs to 6.5 hours per day, that is, from 9am-3.30pm on weekdays. Then when his boss calls the French can totally ask him to f*** off LOL. Which reminds me of how things are like in Malaysia.

The official working hour here is from 9am-6pm on weekdays which make up 9 hours. But ever since I have memories, I never see my dad coming home any earlier than 10pm. In fact he comes home usually at 11.30pm. Well, different world, different matters... IMG_2823 So anyway, only at my 3rd time to Paris that I found the Pont des Arts the Lover's Lock Bridge. Apparently it's right beside Louvre WTF I feel so stupid. In recent years, many couples have brought padlocks with their names written on them to lock on the side of the bridge. After locking, they will throw the keys into the Seine River so their love would be eternal. Well, according to an English friend who is always in France, the French police would take out some locks from time to time and sell them to the smelting company. The end products are made into army war heads. So yea, it just says those in love with locks are so gonna end up as enemies. I don't even know how true that is haha! IMG_2849 Regardless of its validity, almost immediately after I left Paris, the bridge collapsed because of the weight of the locks. I took offense of it because I cannot be sure whether it's the locks' weight, or mine. Either way, it just means that the weight of love is too depressing haha ;) IMG_2858 Another very interesting thing about Paris is her street performers. Some would enter the train cabin and start playing music, which gotta light up the day of even the saddest man in town. Although this one is merely playing on the subway, everybody welcomes musicians. IMG_2749IMG_2859 Then there are some creepy ones... IMG_2879 There are only some who are so atheletic that they make you go horny just looking at their bodies. Kidding, but no kidding. If you're a girl you know what I mean. While world cup was just around the corner(well, it's now), this fit guy is playing with balls at Montmartre.IMG_2680 IMG_2685   Despite being eccentric, Paris's beauty remains, and will never be put out. Here are some photos before I end the post.


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