EUROPE PART I: RUE DE BOY
It was a huge change going from Thailand to Paris, as we flipped the thermometer and said hello to the cold. I left Bangkok in shorts and arrived as the sun set in Paris, which was not my finest moment. We had a quick bite to eat before shivering our way out to the suburbs where we stayed. I could already feel the difference. I kept on being told to watch out for dog poo, so each step I took on this foreign land was very considered. I think passed out on the bed with lights on and socks half off. Another fine moment in Paris.
I peaked out the blinds at around seven in the morning and to my amazement, I saw a beautiful sunrise oozing behind the wiry trees. A plane slowly cut across the sky leaving a tear in the gradation of blues. This was France - It was real. There was a brief moment in-between the beauty and reflection where my mind was blank. No thoughts were stirring, no plans were being made and there were no deadlines to stress over. It had been just over two years since I last felt so content.
Paris was magical and it felt like everything was made to be printed on postcards. The architecture sent me back in time and made me imagine a place where baguettes were a currency and everyone still thoughts berets were trés cool. The buildings were charming, and the people wrapped up in coats and beanies reminded me of dust bunnies. There were no skyscrapers! Tucked away between blocks of apartments were cobblestone roads and people kept saying 'bonjour' - It was everything I imagined it to be.
It was surprising to see how many couples decided to kiss on street corners. People passionately made out in public more often than there was dog poo. That being said, the city had such an atmosphere about it, you'd want to stick your tongue down the throat of another individual almost instinctually. You could probably attribute it mostly to tourists, but I'm pretty sure I heard some people say 'bonjour' before laying down saliva.
Although I didn't find much poo, I did befriend many furry-faced dogs. There was canine after canine, each one more adorable than the last. They had big tough ones, small fluffy ones and even long sausage dogs (ngawww). I saw a woman walk into a big boutique store with her fluffy white poodle. It was amazing. The city streets were ruff!
We had a lot of friends in Paris, which made the trip even better. We had comfortable homes to stay in, good company and some people to speak English with! Family put us up, kept us fed and even gave us a great tour of the city. Friends travelled from Switzerland to hang out, eat burgers and paint walls. We even made a lot of new friends too - funky Parisians who entertained our wild nonsense and welcomed us to their country with open arms. France has had a place in my mind for years and now, a place in my heart.
The big tourist attractions were both amazing and soul-drenching. We scraped at the Louvre collection and viewed Paris from the Eiffel Tower. Each time, we cued up in these ridiculously, long lines - full of whining children, disgruntled old couples and eager tourists. Once inside the Louvre, it was funny to see how many people left jackets around, fell asleep or clambered to get a selfie with the famous paintings. I was suffocated by the Mona Lisa crowd and nearly choked to death on a baguette on the Eiffel Tower. All in all, in was a great experience and a true test of survival.
In-between all the hustle and bustle of touristing, I found time to lay down some paint with my Swiss friend. We found a nice quiet wall in Chinatown and whipped up a quick production. It had been a long time since I last painted, but couldn't resist leaving my mark in Europe. We we're chaperoned by a good friend, whom I met in Melbourne five years ago. The reunion was sweet and it was officially marked on a wall. A bromance can go a long way.
I fell in love with the city of love. Even through it's grimy side streets and rough areas, Paris was full of charm, beauty and grace. Despite popular belief, everyone was lovely and I had a joyous time exploring the streets. The best part is making memories with new/old friends. Those are the reasons why you come back - a new place to call home.
Until I visit again - next stop, London!