Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday, July 6- Sunday, July 8, 2012


It's been very hard to connect to the internet here. For some reason Shawon was able to connect, and I wasn't.

Friday, July 6, 2012
Working a Friday in France is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The French take “fun day Friday” to a whole new level. Upon my 9am arrival to the office, I was greeted with an assortment of baked goods that included croissants, baguettes, donut holes, crepes, and many other pastries that I couldn’t recognize. We were having a one hour long meet and greet party around the coffee lounge. Apparently there had been a lot of moves on my floor and they were having this for everyone to get to know each other. Immediately after that I had a meeting that lasted an hour. We discussed my project and what exactly my research would be used for. It was very exciting. Then I had one hour until lunch to work on my project. Shawon is on the 7th floor and almost everyone on his floor was out of the office for a day-long meeting, so I journeyed up from the 6th floor to keep him company and work. At lunch, my floor invited us out for Japanese, and we took a TWO HOUR lunch break! Shawon and I could not believe how relaxed Friday was around the office. We ended up leaving around 4:30/5pm because we got our work done and we had a full night planned.
 Later that night, Shawon and I ventured out to our first visit to the Eiffel Tower. It was absolutely beautiful and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. When the sun set, the tower lit up and sparkled for about five minutes. When it began, all of the people cheered and clapped and the cameras came out. It was an amazing site. We walked around for a bit and ended up eating crepes for dinner. Banana and Nutella crepes are amazing, for the record. We spent our night walking around the streets surrounding the Eiffel Tower and then head back at about 11. We decided we did not want to go back to our hotel yet so we went to a restaurant for a few drinks and appetizers. It’s amazing how late France is up! We stayed out until 1am and people were still out having drinks and eating. It really made us wish our friends could visit so that we could share this amazing experience with them. We miss you guys back home!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012
Rain, rain go away! Today was a very rainy day in France. We had a bunch of things planned, but couldn’t really do any of them because it all involved walking around and being outside. We ended up staying in and relaxing at night. At about 12 we went out for bunch. We went to a restaurant that had sidewalk seating (which doesn’t really say much because most of the restaurants here offer this) and we tried to sit outside; but when we sat down, the people to both the left and right of us lit up cigarettes. We were told France has the highest smoking rate in the world, and after being here for a week we don’t doubt it. Everywhere you go there is someone smoking. It makes for an unpleasant dining experience. So we went inside where there is no smoking and got our meal. After that, we went to a bakery and got some baked goods. I got something called a drop. Its basically a flat, square croissant filled with chocolate chips and a sweet cream. They are delicious and cheap. Shawon got an éclair, which was filled with chocolate filling, not like a boston cream filling. After that, we just relaxed all day, cooked and ate dinner (pork chops with asparagus, and sliced potatoes, onions, and cherry tomatoes), and then planned for Sunday. We ate way too much bread and cheese for our own good as well. It’s a mystery to anyone who isn’t French how they manage to stay so thin with everything they eat and drink.

Sunday, July 8, 2012
Today was an awesome day. We set out at about one to go see the Catacombs. Since neither of us had eaten because we woke up late, we decided to get lunch before making the 1 hour line and doing the 1 hour tour. We went to a nice place and were very pleased with our meals. The pace of the meals is very slow here. After we ate, we sat for about 25 minutes until our check was brought to us. By that point it was already 3pm. We left and on our way to our destination ended up stopping for some gelato. The way they put it on the cone was so cool. It ended up being shaped like a flower. I got cake batter and coffee that had real espresso beans… It was delicious. By the time we hopped in line for the Catacombs, there were two workers standing there and they told us that the doors closed at 4 and we might not make it in. We decided to leave and go to the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  It was an absolutely incredible site to see. There were so many people that were clearly moved by the experience, and the feeling of being in there was very spiritual. After that, we walked around the area that we were in. We stopped for a coffee at a sidewalk café and stayed there for about an hour just hanging out. Doing that is completely acceptable here. When we left, we found an incredible little block that had café after café surrounding a giant fountain that had all sorts of artwork in it. Near there was the Pompidou, which is a building that was essentially built inside out. We had crepes again for dinner (no complaint there!), and then we decided to go back to the hotel. I’ve never seen anything like this city, and I am for certain falling in love with it. The summer weather is a bit chilly for my taste, but it’s definitely not a dealbreaker.

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