Saturday, June 16, 2012

Paris Day 4, aka, The Longest Day of Our Lives

Well, I'm going to update this blog now, since I may have done away with myself by this evening. As many of you already know, Suzy is sick in bed with some cold/flu bug, and I am trying to occupy myself in the 9 x 12 room that has gone, overnight, from being charming and cozy to prison-like. No TV, no radio, no gym or pool: only 50 rooms and an elevator the size of my head. I am making black marks on the wall to count down the hours. Oh, and did I mention there's no FOOD in the hotel? We are counting our rations of Clif Bars to see if we can make it until morning. Oh, and the water is undrinkable. Let us eat cake, indeed. I am waving a white flag out the window of the Timhotel.

No pictures today, unless you all would like to see various stages of Suzy in the midst of illness. Suzy asleep; Suzy blowing her nose; Suzy coughing; Suzy falling back to sleep.

Why the French are rude, cranky, and behead people is no longer a mystery to me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Paris, Day 2 and 3

Putting this in one post because, frankly, I fell asleep writing this last night.

Well, yesterday (Thursday) was great. We did see the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower; ate some good food (both times at outdoor cafes); and then found the wonderful shopping all along the Champs Elysees. It was incredible. While I would never pay for most of what's on sale, we did buy Suzy a very fashionable Paris frock for 14.00 Euros. We are big spenders, I know....

Today was ok...we slept in and decided to do basically nothing but laundry and relax. Well, that went out the window. We walked down Sebastopol St. until we got to Starbucks, where we had sandwiches, fruit, cake and tea. We sat there until almost 2.00, when I decided to use the bathroom. Big mistake. I evidently forgot to lock the door and had someone walk in on me. OK.....won't make that mistake again. So I stood up, turned the lock, and finished using the toilette. After washing up, I found to my horror that I had done too good a job of locking myself in. No one else could get in...and I couldn't get out. As I banged on the door, Suzy called in after me and found help. Eventually, three people came over, yelling at me through the door IN FRENCH. I kept answering, in English, hoping they would realize I couldn't understand what they wanted me to do, but the French are remarkably persistent. Of course, so am I. So we continued our French to English argument until they got me out. If you have been following these posts, you will realize that these toilets will be the death of us. No question.

We did have fun, after that, seeing Notre Dame and St. Michel, and doing some shopping. We also ate at a cafe for dinner and heard some awesome street jazz just outside Notre Dame. Suzy is beginning to feel a little run down, so we are in for the night and she is sleeping, in the hopes that we ward off the flu.

And on that note, I now bring you to the segment of the post in which I explain to you how the TimHotel Paris is trying to kill us. Now, I know you will think I'm exaggerating, but I am not. And I have photographic evidence to prove it. It is confusing, because I would think that killing its customers would be bad for business. But, I'm at a loss to explain it any other way. (Not that we don't deserve it, after what WE tried to do to the hotel in London....). So, maybe it is Karma.....but here goes:

First off, the elevator, hallway, and room are all the size of a bird cage. This is ok, since we don't really need a lot of room. But, trying to turn around and, say, open doors with suitcases when you CAN'T turn around is a bit of a challenge. We finally got into our room, and this is what we saw:

Why, yes...that is a little knobby thing sticking out in the middle of the floor.

 Basically, it's a little knob sticking out in the floor. Why is it there? Who knows. I didn't want anyone to trip on it, so I put my suitcase over it. Suzy promptly tripped over my we are now taking out chances with the knobby thing.

Anyway, secondly, I went to get into the bathroom and fell, and here is why:

Why, yes....there IS a step to get into the bathroom.
There's a STEP up to get into the bathroom. Why would this be?? In the middle of the night, I'm not thinking that I need to climb a stair to get into the bathroom; so chances are, I'm going to trip and hit my head into the shower, or the toilet. But why take a chance that a patron would knock themselves out on the shower or toilet? Make sure the job is completed, messily, with one of these:

HAHA! Yes, that is a pointy, glass sink that's as big as the hotel room, in the hotel room!

If you don't impale yourself on the first corner (as you trip over the knobby thing, or over the incongruous "step" leading to the WC), you always have the possibility of knocking yourself out as you bend to pull down (or pull up) your pants after using the toilet. If one of these options doesn't finished you off, you may yet impale yourself on the FAR glass corner, as you trip coming out of the shower that, yup, you guessed it, has ANOTHER step leading out of it.

Sweetly, they did put a metal bar below the sink so that, as you are bleeding to death, you can pull yourself up and yell for help. It's the little things that make you want to go back to a place.....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paris, Day 1

We got on the Chunnel (EuroRail) this morning at 8:30 and made our way to Paris. This train is amazing...I wouldn't have known I was moving it was so smooth. Suzy and relaxed and listened to our ipods before coming into Paris. Once in Paris, the fun began. Ha! funny thing -- we don't speak French. Not that I didn't know this before I left, but it really hits you when you can't read the street signs, or a map, or ask for directions. Finding the hotel was a challenge.

The room is small. The bathroom and shower are really, really small. The view, however, is nice. I must say, I don't like Paris as much as London. Much louder, moves much faster, and not nearly as friendly. I have a feeling this will be my least favorite stop.

Food and drink is outrageously priced, so Suz and I will be stuffing ourselves at the free breakfast tomorrow (and possibly shoving toast and baguettes in our pockets). We did split a wonderful mocha-creme filled eclair that was covered in maple. Absolutely amazing.

Oh, and there are no bathrooms here, either. Restaurants give you plenty to drink, then you get out on the street and have to pay to use a port a pot that is situated about every 3 miles or so ON THE SIDEWALK. Big sign that says, "Toilette," you walk up to it, put your money in, the door opens, and you get to use it. I told Suz the next time I have to go, I'm paying and then staying in there for a few hours just to get my money's worth, so help me.

Hoping to survive Paris...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

London, Day 5

Unbelievably, this was our last day in London. We leave for not-so-sunny France in the morning via the Chunnel. We skipped Oxford today, as the chance of rain was 50%, and we didn't feel like riding on the train. Also, there was tons to see in London that we hadn't gotten to. Sooooo, we saw the inside of Westminster Abbey (amazing); hung out in Piccadilly Circus, had tea in Chelsea, and walked through Covent Gardens. We also took a walk through the British Museum of Art. It was a pretty awesome day.

The most important thing today: we found a hairdryer. Of course, Suzy pointed out that we'd only be able to use it for one morning, and then the plug wouldn't work on the continent. So, it was off to hunt for a British to European adapter. If this one burns up, so help me.....

The bathroom issue was, once again, interesting. They really don't have them here. When you finally DO find one, it costs 30 pence to use it. It really is a racket -- and I'm sure someone is making money hand over fist over the fact that everyone needs to use a toilet. It really is brilliant in it's simplicity.

We should be in France by noon (6 am US time). We do add an hour on the continent, so we will be 6 hours ahead instead of 5. (Dad, please explain this to Mom in a way that doesn't make her need Motrin....).

Love to you all. Well, most of you, anyway.
Bip and Bubs

Monday, June 11, 2012

British Museum, Day 4

Well, we overslept this morning (jet lag catching up with us, I assume), and it poured and was freezing all, we people-watched in Starbucks for a bit, eating thick sliced fruit bread with tea, and then we headed to the British Museum. Great place -- tons of cool stuff to look at, lots of great history, etc. Odd thing about London: you can be in a building 7 stories high (which the British Museum IS) and there is only one bathroom. ONLY ONE. And that is all the way on the ground floor. Suzy and I have determined that you don't get free refills on drinks because there simply are not enough bathrooms to accommodate being properly hydrated. Of course, standing in a steady onslaught of rain makes you think of nothing but having to go, which leads to the vicious cycle of trying to find a bathroom that you hopefully don't have to pay for, and walking ages in the rain to do it. It might simply be an odd way of keeping away foreigners. But more on this later.

Also, coke is never served without lemon, and you have your choice of bottled water (still), bottled water (sparkling), or tap water (STAY AWAY). The fish and chips are yummy, there are more vegetarian options than I would have thought, and the portions here are much smaller than in the States. Of course, this may be due to the fact that you have limited liquid with which to wash it down -- back to the issue of proper hydration.

Well, we are off to Oxford tomorrow because, frankly, I don't want to stay in the city another day. Oddly, we had planned many day trips, but London can easily take three days to see (likely more); We are enjoying it here, and can't believe tomorrow is our last day in England. Off to Paris on the Chunnel first thing Wednesday morning. The adventurousness will only increase when we are flooding bathrooms and setting things on fire in a country where they don't speak English. I'm just hoping they have more bathrooms on the Continent.

Bip and Bubs

Sunday, June 10, 2012

European Adventure, Day 3: London

Today we made our way back to downtown London, to see Parliamentary Square, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. We also (unintentionally) walked to Chelsea and saw some shops while we were there. We probably walked about 12 miles. When it started pouring, we ducked into a Sbux and had my new favorite treat: tea with thick-sliced fruit bread, with butter and jam. Suzy has started drinking coffee, with milk and cinnamon. (Traitor). Anyway, it was a fun day -- a little rainy, but we saw a lot of history and beautiful buildings and scenery.

Interesting things that happened today: I had to pay to use the toilet (about the same amount that I paid for the cola that got me to that point, by the way); we also had pigeons fly into our hair (which was ok, because we still haven't been able to replace our burnt up hair dryer, so our hair kinda looks like a birds' nest to begin with). We also contemplated buying a plate with the Queen's face on it. We didn't do it.

And I will leave you with a picture of our hotel room. It's kinda hilarious.....but more comfortable and homey than it looks. Tomorrow it's going to rain all over England, so we will be hitting the museums.

Room Service??