Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Words With Friends

I’ve always said that I love my friends as my family, and I love my family a lot. So it’s no surprise that I get crazy-bonkers happy whenever I get to see them, particularly after lengthy absences; this was certainly the case with my two most recent visitors.

James, hailing all the way from New Holland, had the honour of being my first guest of the year and my first Aussie visitor in Paris, exclusive of Jellybean of course. We’d first met at the UNSW Latin Dance Society salsa classes from what seems like eons ago; and though more than a year had passed since we last saw each other, we were able to pick up like it had been no time at all. Most of my friends are cool like that.

Little Mikey
James and the Giant Peach
James only stayed for a day and two nights; however, he made the most of his time by exploring as much of Paris as he could on foot. As his good friend and host, I took it upon myself to weakly attempt to kill him by introducing him to the wonders of « tartare de boeuf ». Fortunately, he made it through without trouble - insofar as I know. We also played in the Musée des Arts et Métiers, containing amongst other things a Foucault pendulum (there’s one in the School of Physics at UNSW too) and cool vintage bikes and cars.
My next guest harkens back to those mad McGill days filled with time warps and battles between good and evil versions of certain holy figures; I’m speaking of course of my fellow mad scientist Igor, who kindly decided to pay me a visit from Utrecht. We hadn’t seen each other in over two years and a lot had changed in that time - mostly the loss and addition of a lot of hair on our respective heads.

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
Igor stayed for the full weekend, allowing for more time to get up to shenanigans. Mainly, he introduced me to a number of cool things. First, stroopwafels. ‘nuff said there. Secondly, yet another FREAKING AWESOME resource - perhaps the equivalent of crack cocaine, for the philomath. I won’t share it here, if at all, but suffice it to say that my brain is melting again, in a mostly good way. I think. I hope. Maybe not. Er, help?

At Igor’s friends’ suggestion, and accompanied by Silvia and my boy, Blue, we visited Le Manoir de Paris - essentially a haunted house for prepubescent kids. It was rather expensive at €20 a head, but also a lot of fun. Our age really showed, as we were directly and indirectly called stupid at least twice for being unable to navigate our way through without incident - unlike the prepubescent kids. Dignity going, going, … gone.

Igor, Silvia, and Dr. Acula
Especially fun and significant was Igor’s desire to find a plaque commemorating the location where les frères Lumière held the first public film screening in 1895; once there, Igor treated me to a very pricey hot chocolate and crème brûlée at the aptly named Café Lumière. This was my first authentic expensive Parisian dessert; and as much as the cheap bastard in me protested, I have to admit here and now that it was well worth the price; particularly in that historic setting.

Les Frères Lumière
Lastly Igor and I hit the Louvre for a proper visit with some of the great minds of old, oodles of statues of beings in the nude, many paintings of women "playing" delightfully (enough to put TBLOP to shame), and the odd dragon.

Me and Blaise, kicking it Old School.
Gonna Fly Now

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for better guests, and I had a lot of fun. Hopefully the rest of the year at L’hôtel Norman will be just as good.

Au revoir!

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