When I finally managed to wake up this morning after catching up on my sleep debt, Mother and I went outside to find the Monoprix. The Monoprix is like the Target of France, so you know that I love it. As we walked along the winding, ancient streets, a crazed, pony-tailed hobo came up to us and started talking, but we just walked away. The French bums need to learn some manners, it is ridiculous how rude they can be, I mean, it’s not my fault that they choose not to have jobs. I love their lifestyles, by the way, I’d just do it with more class.
After walking a while we found the Monoprix, but this was called the Monop’ because it was just the grocery store part of the store. I needed some other household goods, but that was going to have to be for another day. We entered the shop and began to look around. One of my favorite parts of foreign travel is looking at the grocery stores–you learn so much about people by what they eat and you find lots of new foods. There was this thing that looked like a pineapple, but it was round, about the size of a golfball, without any leaves. I had never seen one like that before. We found butter, salt, chicken, and a myriad of beverages. I found my favorite French beverage–Oasis! It is heavily diluted orange juice, kind of like Fast Blast, but Frenchier.
When we got back to the apartment, we waited to meet Christiana as she was due to arrive. She came to answer all of our questions. I learned that the building was from the mid 18th Century (historical things like that always fascinate me). I was also told that I had to unplug and plug in cables to make the DVD player work–it annoys me, but it works now and that makes me happy.
Once she left, I decided to rearrange the furniture. There was a set of double doors behind the couch and I wanted to be able to open them. So, we drug the furniture around the room and now, the apartment looks much bigger which makes me happy. I can open the double doors to my heart’s content.
We cooked a dinner of chicken breasts and fingerling potatoes and then I did my walkthrough video. That is posted in the previous blog, I hope you enjoy it because it was hilarious! At least to me.
After I uploaded that and got everything arranged here, we got ready to head down to the Champs-Elysées to celebrate the New Year’s arrival. The Metro was free today for all the party goers, so we jumped on for about 20 minutes as we made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. Coming up from the Metro is an incredibly dramatic site. If you ever come to Paris, no matter where you are staying, I suggest the first thing you do when you arrive is exit at the Arc de Triomphe exit. It really sets the mood of your entire stay and is immediately impressive.
We walked up and down the street and were knocked into thousands of times by the other celebrators. We walked all the way to the Jardin Tuileries, which is no easy feat. It was closed, which moderately upset me because just inside the gardens a pivotal scene takes place in the book I am writing, so I didn’t get to see it tonight. I’ll go later.
As we passed the giant Ferris Wheel, we crossed street after street of insane traffic. People have to be crazy to even drive in this town. But the French are car crazy. There are at least two major car dealers on this road, and at each one, the French were all bustling to catch a glimpse of the latest make and model. When I saw the large crowd, I immediately assumed Paris Hilton was shopping, but then was sadly disappointed when I realized that she had already rung in the New Year in Australia. There was a car hanging on the wall like a painting, so that was kind of cool.
As we got closer to the Arc de Triomphe, we could hear a distinctive shouting and bustling ahead. As we walked it seemed to get more and more raucous. There were ten police lined up guarding a road for some reason who seemed oblivious to the fact that there was a growing mob. Finally, the mob broke into a stampede and came careening wildly down the street with insanity in their eyes–running directly towards me. I was thrilled of course to be injured in such a fascinating way, but at that moment, a police officer grabbed mother’s arm, who in turn grabbed me and shoved me into a cold stone wall.
“Restez-là !” The officer shouted at us as they all dashed out to spray mace at the maniacal mob. This was truly the highlight of my night, I have never seen mace being used. The people immediately began running and crying. The gas wafted in the air and landed on my tongue–invading it with its salty, horrible flavor. This was thrilling still to me–now I knew what it was like to be at a violent rally!
We finally made our way to a restaurant which we stood by to ring in the New Year. An ancient, very unhappy looking woman stood next to us. She only smirked mildly as cannons boomed in the New Year. There was no countdown, nothing like that. Just a siren and thousands of bottles of champagne uncorking simultaneously.
After that melodramatic ending, we tried to get back to the Metro on the other side of the street. This was nearly impossible. Mother took me by the arm and drug me through the people, as sparklers danced ahead, fireworks finally shot overhead, and underfoot we all shattered abandoned champagne bottles and glasses. In a struggle that rivals that of the salmon swimming upstream, we finally made it to the opposite street–only to find that the Metro was closed. I was rather horrified. We all looked like we were in some pathetic scene from Titanic–in third class waiting for the officers to open the gates, yet knowing they never would. Mother and I gave up, so we pressed onwards in a different direction.
I was being simultaneously crushed and pulled in three different directions. It was horrifying, yet delightfully fun. At one point, I ceased walking and was just drug along by the crowd. It was like crowd surfing except for the fact that you were standing. We were oblivious to where were going and were finally deposited in front of another Metro that was open with people were pouring into it like rats escape from flooded sewers.
The trains were ridiculously full, but we found seats, which was lucky. A middle aged gentleman stood in front of us, but he seemed completely unable to stand up properly, he kept lurching forward and falling onto us. It was kind of funny, but confusing, since he didn’t have any other signs of serious alcoholism.
And that’s about it. French people are exceptionally happy to celebrate, I was wished Bonne Année by no fewer than five strangers on the streets. Even now at five o’clock in the morning, they are still honking their car horns and yelling well wishes at each other.
Good night, I’m going to Disneyland tomorrow–I’m sure that you’re all rather jealous. Well, I know that Jessica is at least.