Monday, October 12, 2009

Snorelax is Gone!

Someone must have played that magic flute, that I don't know what it is – but you know who does? The student of mine who did a project on the history of Street Fighter games. That guy knows all the Pokemons (That's not Raichu! That's Snorelax! He's savin' all the Pokemons!) But yes, it's true – this morning Snorelax departed the hostel! I may finally have a full and quiet night's sleep. Sure the guy in the third bed has cycled three times, but I don't care – for one night, Snorelax is gone! ...Tomorrow I may be writing about how I miss him so. I seemed to have got used to his snore cycle, and been able to tune it out some, as the nights grew on.

But enough of that nonsense. I am in Paris – there is more to this city than my hostel, especially on my final day! And what a final day it was. This is, perhaps, the first time that I've looked around and thought, yup, I've done everything I wanted to here. I feel that I have cleared the level Paris, in the game of France. It took me seven days though – I hear the top score is 3. O.K. I'll be done with that soon enough too, because Spain is a callin'.

But, final day: I realized the problem with having a book you enjoy reading (unlike Sophie's World) is that even if it is eight hundred pages, you'll rip through it. I'm well over a third of the way there, and it's not like I have all that much reading time. To be fair, Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising isn't perhaps as dense as Sophie's World either. Still. So I would need a new book, adding weight to my pack, lightened by the loss of my towel a week ago. Sigh. So I was off to Shakespeare and Company book store again!

It really is a fantastic place. If you see only one thing in Paris, see this store – the other things you've seen in pictures hundreds of times already. You'll be able to lie about those sights. But Shakespeare and Co. you need to have been there for. I thought about band-aiding a picture of myself up on their board, but then remembered the terrible idea that leaving passport pictures of yourself around could bring about. So what book did I pick up? One more monstrous than the previous – No, not Lord of the Rings, I'll have them waiting for me in Florida. I picked up Tom Clancey's Rainbow Six. Of course I did.

Today was a tricky day, set to confuse me sleep deprived mind. You see, one moment the weather was fine, and the sky was blue. I would sit down to read, only to look up from removing the book from my pack, to feel the cold wind cutting through my black thermals (not tights! Thermals!). Had I been mistaken? Was it not sunny and blue? Clearly the sky was grey – and no sign of colour whatsoever. So I would return the book to my pack, and grab my jacket only to find myself sweltering under the heat of the midday's sun. This went on for longer than I would like to admit, before I finally said forget it, broke out my laptop, and enjoyed some wifi hotspotting in the Parisian park. Yes, in the middle of a public park I can access the internet, but not at my hostel. That would just be ridiculous.

After spending some time keeping up with emails, and doing other things that are better left undiscussed, because it ruins the allure of travel being an activity completely removed from the everyday, where new experiences abound, and – i don't know – magical bunnies manage to smile and make the world a brighter place? So lets just say, I left the park after a moment or two enjoying the suns rays, tinted auburn by the autumn leaves barely hanging to the branches – quivering, as if afraid of the long fall which they knew must ultimately come. Yes, lets just say something like that and move on.

I walked to the Isle de St. Louis (or – use a harsh American accent here. Something from Wisconsin.) “The Isle of Saint Louis.” I know know doesn't look all that differnet in print. It's an auditory gag, and you need to conjure up the voice. Maybe practice it with a friend. One of you can be the pompous Frenchman, and the other can be the “I'm entitled!” American. It'll be great. There was a whole tour of them getting off the subway, trying to figure out how to get to the surface. “It says Sort-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I guess we just pick one exit and walk that way up!” As if it's not like that anywhere else in the world. I tell you, packs of tourists are great. And you know what? I know I'd sound the same way. That's why I keep my mouth shut as much as possible. Like a Beauty Queen trying to explain why Americans can't find America on the map – I could be as smart as anything – until I open my mouth.

I must have sounded quite the fool on my two Shirley days.

And what was on this Island? Fantastic things. Good shopping. The type I could even get behind, trendy though it was. They took everyday objects, and added an art to them, without damaging function. Umbrellas turned to dolls, folded up the fabric became their dresses. Cheese graters became clowns. Everything could be a toy! A dangerous, dangerous toy. But the prices matched the neighbourhood, so it was no place for me. That, and I could hardly pay attention, so great was my focus on finding a public washroom! None. There had been none since Shakespeare's, some hours back. And in Paris, this was unheard of! I barely had time to register, and gaze out at, the giant wall of eyes staring back at me. Yes, I found them after all, and my aren't they fantastic. Much like the giant lady plastered on the wall, these eyes were also several people tall, looking out over the river. And just for kicks, a little space invader was there to play too.

A washroom was found in the Bastille subway station – before you even had to enter the gates. With vision returning to normal, and tongue being released from the roof of my mouth, I was able to press on in this area to my final destination. Victor Hugo's house. It was Monday. It was close. Still – I saw it, and that was enough for me if I ever need to tell the story ages hence.

Back to Bastille, and off towards Place d'Itali. Apparently China Town was supposed to be around here.

It was not.

As I walked the streets of this area, so different, and equally as charming, as the rest of Paris' streets I was quite delighted I had made my way out this end. Wandering down the back alleys, and through the small streets I managed to fall upon another area rich with graffiti art. A final send off for my Paris collection. For a city in which I had to look and look for indications of street art, the city certainly did provide in the end. You just need to get out of the centre. This shouldn't have shocked me as much as it did.

By this point I could recognize the style of two of the artists. Some were completely new to me. It was delightful. Eventually I'll take a picture or two of myself with graffiti as a backdrop – because graffiti does make the best backgrounds for pictures. No matter what you wear, the colour is being brought out by something. There's a reason that street behind Queen in Toronto is used for what's-his-name's monologues. What with the tilting camera, whenever he stops to make a point. Hmm...

Though I never did find Chinatown, wandering a great number of streets, I was able to find something nearly as fantastic. A Quick Burger! Yes – my final stop at Quick Burger for their fourth milkshake. Would it be as delicious as the others? Finally my french ordering worked, and I was delivered the Strawberry shake. It was – well, not so good really. But the other three flavours were superb – so, it's ok. I miss my banana milkshake. Now, you think I'd be upset – but no, because they had a special on. Two cheese burgers for two euros. And what were the cheeseburgers like in the fabulous shake joint? As magical as one could ever have expected! My god, they were delicious. If you see a Quick Burger – do not walk by. Scarf down on their cheap burgers, and follow it up with a one euro shake. Value and flavour like this are not to be matched anywhere! It's never to early for a cheeseburger! (cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger. Pepsi, pepsi, pepsi!)

Sometimes I wonder how many people – if any – are getting the allusions I'm throwing out at them. I reckon I mostly come across mildly insane. But that's alright. It might just be true, to some degree anyway – I mean who leaves their home country refusing to come back before they've seen all seven continents anyway?

Now I was thinking of heading back to my hostel to end my night reading. As I had a new novel, I no longer had to worry about conserving the one I was currently reading. But there was something bothering me. A space on the bottom right of my map. It had been pulling at me for the past week, with its huge green field, and small blue lake with two islands smack in the middle. Though my guide said nothing of this place, and my walking cards left it alone, the tourist map too barely noting its existence I could not leave Paris without exploring it. There had to be something there, hadn't there?

And there was. Not only is the zoo and aquarium located there (I can't speak to the quality of these places, I just noted they existed when exiting the metro) but the park itself is beautiful. It was here that I saw all number of dogs, including those silly looking small ones that only appear in movies about Paris because people in the rest of the world would be embarrassed to be seen with them. They seemed to be taking their owners out for a walk, running ahead, doubling back, and going where they pleased. In Paris dogs are actually well trained. Shocking, I know.

There were girls running in their pants that looked remarkably similar to what I was wearing under my shorts – but, once again, I would like to point out that I am wearing thermals! Not tights! And high school boys were walking their potential girlfriends home to fish for a kiss. Others were trying to make out on benches, but there would be none of it – for the girl had a whole lot to say, and the boy was damned well going to listen. This was the impression I received, anyway, as she pushed his head away from her neck in the split second it took me to walk on past. The two rolling around on the grass, though – I just don't know. Ahh young love. Even the twenty and thirty somethings get into those emotions here in Paris. I'll bet it has to do with the water supply. It's always to do with the water supply. That's what early morning cartoons, and James Bond alike has taught me.

As I reached the end of the pond I noticed off to my side that there was a Buddhist Temple. It was fantastic to find right here in Paris, and completely without precedent. How could my guidebook, the cards, the map have not wanted to draw people to this area? Mind you – if I lived in Paris, I'd try to keep this park a heavily guarded secret too.

And just like that I was back at the hostel. Wifi up for once. I know, I'm shocked too. So here I am trying to burn through the 2 hour card I was given, and planning my next moves. In twenty six hours I'll be boarding my fifteen hour train for Spain. Where the rain, I hear, falls mainly on the plains. Which will be for the best. As I could use some nice weather – not tricky and confusing like the stuff in Paris.

My world – it's getting smaller by the day.


  1. While my one reference is in the beginning paragraph (which was dubbed the nonsense paragraph by the paragraph that followed it), I gladly accept that reference.

    Unless of course another one of your students did a single project on the history of the Street Fighter games (which in itself was a tiresome task and also still located on my blog!) but for their sake, I hope not.

    Glad to see you're still kicking and having a good time (with the exception of certain occurrences).

  2. Hey - I wasn't sure if you were stalking my blog, or just the FB page. anyway - I expect to be told how Snorelax is eventually moved from that road intersection!

  3. I am indeed stalking your blog for information and details about your trip. I plan to help out by making donations in the future.

    I knew this reference to me was a ploy to get information! Haha. Anyways...

    Snorlax is moved from the intersection when you go up to it after obtaining the Pokeflute and playing it.
    However... in the second generation you need a different radio card in order to play the Pokeflute station inwhich you turn on next to him.
    Either way he always wakes up, attacks you and then gets caught and/or returns to the mountains. (Depending on the amount of Snorlax in the game)

  4. fantasitc! I was right - it was a flute. but the radio thing seems lame. why would they do that? I should have known it was the pokeflute. everything in that game is just what it is with the prefix of poke.

    any don't donate - you need your money far more than i do. It's just there, incase any of the random readers feel charitable. Go buy more anime! Or manga - grab some of that oh my goddess for two bucks at BMV on bloor. You'll feel like a fool reading it, but hten it grows on you. Which might be worse.

  5. Could you imagine if the Poke-dictionary existed?
    The P section would be quite large.

    Anyways, if I ever have some spare money around I will donate (unless random readers donate their money LOL) but I find it hard with Halloween being around the corner (and Wal-Mart having .great. horror films for low prices)

    The Ultimate Edition of Dawn of the Dead and Evil Dead for $19.99 as opposed to $60.00 you say? By gawd! They also have some out of print titles and awesome older films for about $6.00 as well. The horror fan inside of me is ecstatic about all this!

    I only managed to get the 20th anniversary edition of Child's Play today but hey, all the new bonus features for $6.99!


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