Monday night/Tuesday is something of a blur... all I'll say is, considering that one has no toilletries while flying with which to make onesself look less terrifyingly gruesome, the absolute least that British Airways/Heathrow could do is give us real life paper towels in the restrooms instead of hot air! How else am I supposed to splash water on my face & wipe it off? Thank goodness for my inherent packratism and the spare paper napkin from breakfast.
The flights were decent otherwise. I watched Nancy Drew and even though I really liked it, I fell asleep for the last 10 minutes - argh! I need to find out how that ends on my way home. I only got 3 hours sleep but managed to make it through to my friend's apartment, and just an hour or so later than planned (long story).
France is big on having strikes, and this week it's the public transportation. This doesn't mean that all trains have stopped running, but now instead of normal service they have something akin to regular NYC weekend schedules - trains every 20 minutes - with crowds typical of rush hour in NYC - at all hours. Needless to say the metro wasn't an option with all my luggage - I hopped a cab - but since then we've been taking the metro no problem. Best of all, due to the strike it's free :) So far I haven't seen any crazy rioters - just a normal-for-NYC amount of crazies (1) and bomb-sniffing dogs (2). All in all, the metro on strike gets a B+ from me.
Yesterday (due mostly to my airport-related tardiness) we didn't have time to do much more than drop off my suitcases before Jo and I were off to my first experience of the metro. Jo works as a translator and luckily has very flexible hours, which she was able to rearrange quite a bit so we could hang out while I'm in Paris. Anyways, we took the Metro to Place D'Italie - no transfers thank goodness! - and I chilled at the mall while she went and did her work thing nearby. I tended to fall asleep if I sat down, a big no for a street-savvy, pickpocket wary new yorker, so I got very well aquainted with the mall and its environs. My shopping was limited to a grocery store where I couldn't resist a baguette, and I even found some kosher wines in a special cacher (=kosher) section! I bought 2 bottles of beaujolais nouveau, thinking one could be a souvenir for my wine afficianado middle brother... I just tried the second bottle, and I think I'll look for a different vintage for him.
Today I got a late start, spent some time googling places to stop along my way, and took the Metro down to Bastille for my walking tour of le Marais.
They tore down the fortress, but Place de la Bastille is still there, alond with the Juillet (July) column. Don't ask me what it's commemorating, my guidebook knows. The statue at the top is very pretty.
My next stop was a little square across from this store... I'm still not sure what the fuzzy white towers are for (the white is *snow* on faux pine-bough walls), but they looked weird & pretty - so I took a picture.