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December 7th, 2002

Directory provided by Jacob...

At breakfast on Saturday morning, Jacob distributed this handout to us:






































Name of Guest</td>
Room Number</td>
Name of Guest</td>
Room Number</td>
Alan 401 Phil 303
Andrew & Mark 405 George 703
Daph & John 304 Martin 404
Dason & Geert 305 Jacob 403
Markus & Iain 306 Steve 307
Michael & Nick 308 John 603


To dial a member of your travelling group, simply dial 1 then the room number. Enjoy your stay.

Several of us had the complimentary breakfast downstairs in the hotel. They offered coffee, orange juice, various croissant and breads, cheese, cereal, butter, jam, and milk. As usual, Jacob kept us laughing.

We all met in the lobby at about noon, and started our trek to the restaurant, Au rendez Vous Des Camionneurs (Meeting Place of the Truck Drivers!), Michael had chosen for his birthday lunch. It was a quaint, of-the-beaten-path little restaurant. Let the drinking begin! These boys can drink! Aperatifs! Wine (and I mean bottles) during the meal, coctails afterwards, coffee after that, and a little cognac to cleanse the palate! Gracious!

I had another superbly cooked chicken dish. I mostly stayed with chicken while there. I am very particular about my beef, and the other choices were usually lamb or duck, which aren't high on my list. The owners and waitstaff were so thrilled with our group (and our spending, no doubt) that, in the end, after all that drinking, they held up two bottles of champagne that they were offering to us to thank us for our business and for happy holidays. Cheers all around! Everyone was so thirsty.

The tab for lunch came to $1200.00.

Lunch was at 1:00, and we finished up at around 4:00. Since we were so close, most of us went to see Notre Dame from there. A couple of folks headed back to the hotel, some headed over to the "gay district" for a drink!

There was no line for Notre Dame, which was great. It was as magnificent as it was in 1987. Being Christmas time, there was "la creche" set up on the left side of the altar. The windows in that place are just stunning, and I found the little "cubicles" all along the perimeter very interesting. Each were a shrine of sorts to some saint. Just as I passed the manager scene, a choir sang a couple of very short, what sounded like, chants. I just got goose bumps all over. How beautiful. In that place. Later someone in the group said that the beauty of the place had moved them to tears. I love how expressive gay men are.

Once back to the hotel various people did various things. I got a quick nap. We were supposed to meet in the lobby at 7:15, but I didn't make it. At 8:15, Martin called my room to check up on me. A subset of the group was getting ready to go out for a drink. I thought, "Am I thirsty again?" He started to tell me where they'd be, and I said, "If you can wait for 5 minutes, I'll be right down."

We started off at a little bar down the street from the hotel. Next, a group of us ate dinner across the street from there. Michael and George split the most unbelievable seafood platter. We all had lots of laughs watching the contorted faces of George had he dropped one raw "fruit of the sea" after another into his mouth.

Michael made Andrew laugh so much immitating the woman who immitated Macy Gray as a blind woman shooing (non-existant) flies away from her face -- "the flies (swat), the flies!" This was a scene from some Brit show that sounded a little like a likeness of our Saturday Night Live. It really was quite funny.

I didn't get chicken at this meal, in fact, was not very hungry at all, and ordered only a side order of "pommes de terre" and a "salade verte." The rest had regular meals, with Michael and George splitting that platter, which was $47 by itself. Of course there was lots of wine all around. "Let's get a red and a white. Yes, another red. Oh yes, one more white." I did drink a few glasses.

When it was time to pay the bill, they decided to just divide it. Nick (bless his sweet heart) pointed out that I only had some fries and a salad and that I should be excluded in the division. Everyone whole-heartedly agreed. I said, "I would like to give twenty dollars! I did drink some of the wine!" They wouldn't have any part of it! Such nice blokes!

After dinner, several of the guys wanted to go back to the hotel. Martin and I decided we were going to go hook up with Alan and Jacob, who hadn't joined us for dinner, but instead had gone to some bars. We connected with them by cell, and they told us they were at Bar Open. By the time Martin and I found our way there, they had left for another bar, called "The Bears Den." They said they'd come back to get us in a few minutes, but had just ordered another beer. Martin thought he could get us there. We wondered a little, but found them!

It was quite festive there, with a lot of people! It was chest-to-chest in there. Very hard to move about, a little on the warm side, and bears all about. I bought a round of beers, and stood by the railing looking down onto the dance floor. There were several "big boys" with their shirts off, some that shouldn't have had them off, dancing. Most of them weren't so much dancing as they were just rocking side to side. A somewhat creepy guy got to the right and behind me a little and started rubbing his hand along my leg, then my arm. My body language was totally a "no" on it, but he was persistent. Finally, I had to move.

After a while, we left there and went to "Le Depot." This was a huge bar, two floors, with several bars in it, a dancer (sometimes two), and a "dark room." Things were going on in that dark room that most definitely shouldn't have been, including people getting pick-pocketed. There were warning signs posted all around the entrance to the room. Every once in a while, someone would be down near the floor flicking a lighter on and off looking for their discarded wallet.

Geroge and I shared a cab ride home from there at 4:00AM. The Champs Elysees was so beautifully lit up with little white lights all along it. Just charming! Ah, Paris!

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