After going through the tour book that Alan had put in our packets, and marking down the subway stops for the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, and L'Opera, I walked down to "le metro."
It took me over an hour on the trains, underground, going in the wrong direction, then back, then connecting to another train to get to the line that stopped by the Eiffel Tower.
I finally made it, and had forgotten the sheer enormity of that monument. The base is so huge, with its little sales posts at each corner of it selling post cards and other souvenirs. I didn't go up it. The weather was pretty gloomy. I took a couple of pictures, and while walking to a vantage point for one of them, wished Robert was with me.
I got back on the train and went two or three more stops to the stop by Notre-Dame. There were, again, no lines, and I went right in. I took a couple of pictures in there, and then bought two (one for mom and dad, and one for mom and dad C.) religious knickknacks inside. The sales clerk only had one left of the kind I wanted, but said if I'd come back in about 20 minutes her colleague would have returned allowing her to run and get more of them.
I returned in about 15 minutes and the colleague hadn't yet returned. The clerk said to me, "If you'll cover my booth here, I'll run and get them." I was really taken aback thinking I have no idea how much this stuff costs, and people are coming up asking questions in all kinds of languages. Then she said, "I'm just kidding!" Good one.
After about five more minutes without her colleague returning, she said, "Oh! I just remembered. They sell this exact same item at the little shop right by the exit door." I went over there and bought two of them. They were 29 Euros (about $29) each.
As I exited Notre-Dame, a woman with a black scarf over her head said to me, "Excuse me, sir. Do you speak English?" I said yes, and she put a 3x5 card in front of my face that started off, "Hello. I have just arrived in this country from Bosnia, and I have a baby..." "Sorry. I can't help you I said." I went a little ways further, and someone else said, "Excuse me, sir. Do you speak English?" "Non," I replied in my best French.
I shopped along the street by Notre-Dame getting a bunch of post cards, a fridge magnet, four 5x7 postcard-sized sketches, and a 2003 calendar with scenes of Paris on it.
I got back on the subway, and switched lines until I got to the one taking me to L'Opera. I was really looking forward to seeing this building as I didn't see it when I was in Paris in 1987. And what a stunning building it turned out to be.
The grand entrance is just amazing. I took some pictures of that, and then went to pay to be able to go in and look around. The sign was confusing about how much it was to get in. It looked like 10 Euros to me. However, when I gave the clerk a 10, she asked me if I had one Euro. Then she proceeded to talk with a friend of hers while I waited and the line grew behind me. Finally, she came back, and I gave her just the one Euro, and I said, "C'est tout?"
She said, "Non, c'est six." So I gave her the 20 and a one, expecting 15 back. She returned a 10 and two 5's to me. I have no idea what that was all about. I think she just wasn't paying attention.
I looked around inside the opera house, and the auditorium was just beautiful. We were allowed in one of the box seats to overlook the theater. While I was in there, a man came in with his little girl. She was probably 6 or 7. They were speaking in French, so I didn't follow the conversation, but her eyes were totally aglow as she took in the place. I imagined they both, daughter and father, had big dreams of her dancing their one day.
I returned to the hotel from there, and caught a nap. Near 8:00, I went down to Iain and Markus's room, and watched the end of a Chicago game between Markus, Iain, Martin, Geert, and Dason. God, that Dason is sexy! Just something about him.
Martin and I left there to go hook up with Alan and Jacob, who were at Le Depot. Martin and I navigated our way there pretty well (actually he did the navigating, I just affirmed his every move), and found Alan and Jacob in the downstairs bar. Alan had a hunky man sitting on his lap when we arrived. Jacob was working a guy named Jean-Paul, who was there with a friend. After a while, Jacob was working the friend, too.
Martin pointed out to me that both Alan and Jacob had done ecstasy. I wouldn't have noticed; I'm so naive to the drug culture.
After a while, Martin and I met a guy named Phillipe, who was from Paris. He worked for GE for about 12 years. We talked with him for a little while.
Martin "took a twirl" upstairs to see what was going on and returned noting the fact that there was a dancer upstairs on the bar with a thick cock hanging out of the side of his jockeys. I had to corroborate his story, and did. Impressive.
Alan disappeared with his boy, and eventually, me, Jacob, and Martin went to "Le Station." This place was really a step down from "Le Depot," dark, dank, rooms and areas for sex upstairs and downstairs, with the bar on the middle level. Martin "snogged" (French kissed) with one or two boys, and got off with one. Jacob met "David" there, who was a real looker. An Italian boy. I was good there (read: an unlucky American in Paris).
We returned to the hotel in a rush as Jacob had made a date to have phone sex with David at 1:30.