09 août 2005

My sister has taken over

Forget photographs, my camera died on me today. Again. I cannot believe that there is no advance warning on these things. You try to take a picture, and suddenly the evil red light from HELL flashes, and bam, it's dead.
That is dreadfully frustrating, especially on the first truly beautiful day we've had in a while.
Because, peeps, today was sunny. And warm. Yes! So we decided we'd go to the beach. Yes! In Paris. Yes!
Paris-Plage, mesdames-messieurs. One of the mayor's truly great initiatives, whatever the crankies might have to say.

And so we sprayed ourselves with the mist dispensers (because I don't know what they're called), we looked at kiddies learning to cavort on ropes, flimsy-looking bridges, nets, and climbing walls, we watched a kind of mime with a crystal ball, gawped at capoeira displays, all possibly very corny but oh so holiday-like. And people were lying on chaise-longues, in their swimming attire - or rather tanning attire, because there's obviously very little swimming involved.
And then we walked on, crossing the bridge to Ile de la Cité, with Notre-Dame as our target. Oh heaven. So many pictures screaming to be taken. I can still hear them inside my head.
We stopped at a café because darling niece had been promised a glace à l'italienne for the past two days and there was no delaying it any longer. She managed to chat up two waiters. She's seven years old! I suppose I should just learn her technique. From now on, it's Barbie clothes. Pink is the new cleavage.
Once she'd grown tired of her new fans, we started walking again along the banks of the Seine. And after some deliberation, we did the thing I had sworn I would never do. We went on a boat tour of Paris. Actually, it's like a bus tour. Get your day pass, and imagine you're a Sydneysider on their way to work in the City from their home in Balmain, or Manly, or what have you. Inhale deeply, and you can almost smell the sea. I'm rocking as I type. Or is pitching the actual word? Reeling? Swaying? All of this, probably.
And. It's really quite good, because you see a lot more than what you would have had you done it all by bus or metro, and some really good sightseeing spots are covered. So my advice to you, future tourists, is go on, get onto that boat. Don't be ashamed. Plus, if you're with somebody who knows Paris even less than you do, you're bound to improve your own knowledge of the capital, because don't kid yourself, questions will be asked. So what's this? And what's that? And that there? Every other minute. Now I know who my niece got her questioning disease from.
Our last boat stop for the day (we got a 2-day pass, because we're nothing if not spontaneous, and if you're throwing your principles to the recycling bin, you might as well make it worth the fleece you'll be getting*) was the Champs-Elysées, along which we duly walked, aiming at the Arc de Triomphe. Now, if you want to see all of Paris in one go, and can't really be bothered with visiting places, do that (or the Tour Montparnasse, but I haven't been, so I can't tell you about it). From La Défense to the Grande Bibliothèque, from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacré-Coeur, and everything in between, you can see it all from there. And if you hurry, you'll see an exhibition of Napoleon's campaign artefacts that, apart from the fact that it feels like we're worshipping the biggest, bloodthirstiest megalomaniac ever, is really interesting from a historical perspective. Somehow anyway.
Add some more walking, dinner and some more walking (again), and we were home after 11 tonight, all three of us completely and utterly exhausted, and we're supposed to meet some friends at 11 tomorrow morning.
Yeah right.

* Yes, they make fleeces from recycled plastic bottles. That's what I've been told, and I'm too weak and tired to have my beliefs shaken to the core, so go easy if you feel it's your duty to tell me the truth.