Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Morning Challenges and a Bus Tour

So, this morning was a little bit of a fiasco, involving the lack of shower water and a lack of breakfast food. In order: there was an issue with the hotel's hot water supply. There was no hot water available for much of the morning. Personally, I was up at 6 and went to the hotel gym to run on the elliptical machine, so I didn't get into the shower until after 7. The water in my room ran brown for a little while, then ran grey for a little while, then eventually cleared up enough to take a shower.

When I got downstairs, I ran into grumpy singers who told me, "Good luck getting food." We were sharing a breakfast room with another group of foreign tourists, and they were... not gracious. First, they tried to bully our group out of the breakfast room. That didn't work out too well for them. The other fun thing: the waitstaff brought out trays of food, and. The other group, universally, decided to fill up their bags for lunch. So, 30 bananas came out, and they too 4-5 each and disappeared. The croissant tray came out, and they took handfuls of croissants.

Well, everything can't go too smoothly. The trip has been fairly uneventful to date - everything has been relatively smooth - so we were due. Meh. Not a big deal.

Today we do a bus tour of Paris, then lunch at the Ireland Center, where our second formal performance awaits. Tonight is at our leisure.

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I'm not sure how cool I am with the "European" restaurant restrooms. They have a stall for men, a stall for women, and a urinal - usually directly between the two stalls. It might or might not (usually not) have some kind of "privacy divider" in between. I don't think I'm okay with standing at a urinal and having mixed company coming into the restroom. I understand that everybody uses the potty - I understand that Europeans have different notions of modesty - but I'm not willing to suspend my Puritan background for that.

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The bus tour was... well... a bus tour. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of them. I'm too antsy. The stuff we saw was interesting, and we had a tour guide whose specific job was to point out items of interest and give their histories. I'm just not so much into sitting on a bus for long periods of time.






We did get out of the bus for a few minutes outside of Napolean's tomb and the military hospital, and that was really nice. There were a couple of aggressive young salesmen waiting to sell trinkets and scarves, which was a little annoying. There was some really amazing carvings and sculptures on the side of the tomb.






Interesting thing: how the buildings in Paris are capped at a certain height. There is one skyscraper inside of city limits, and it's regarded with some embarrassment. The five star hotels are in a major competition with each other, as you'd imagine (€10K per night rooms, amirite?); the only way to really compete is, every once in a while, knock down the building and start over again, with the latest amenities and upgrades. The Ritz Paris is under construction right now.

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Thee are a lot of dogs, all over the place. In the restaurants, in the stores, on the sidewalks, in the art booths, everywhere. It's actually kind of nice, and there is way less dog poop than you'd expect.


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