Adieu, Paris

It’s odd that someone who’s pushing forty and who’s already travelled across much of this great big world has never been to Paris before, but it’s true. In two hours I return to London en route to Uganda. So I thought I’d offer some brief observations of Paris before I leave.

This is undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world and a de facto capital of Europe. Despite it’s great age, the city seems fresh and young and vibrant. People are friendly, despite the stereotype. The women are fashionable, the men less so. They use the full palette of colours; buses are shaded in greens and oranges, clothes in reds and maroons. Children are still children and adults love them for being so. Though an industrial pioneer, the city is home too hectares of greenspace. Truly, it is a joy to walk through and rest in.

I had the good fortune yesterday of mediating between a woman who was walking her dog and a man who wished to park his car where the dog was urinating. Quite hilarious, actually. Even this minor squabble took on an ornate ritualistic dimension, wherein the necessary gestures and expressions were worn, though everyone knew how it would end: the dog must complete its call of nature before the car could park. The gentleman turned to me in protest an I responded, “Qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire?” to which he nodded,”Rien,monsieur. Rien.” And the ritual was concluded.

I concluded my visit with the obligatory trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower whereupon a snow storm beset us! My hostess Lauren was kind enough to lead me by the hand across the great heights as I, ever the wimp, am verily terrified of such things, But it was a marvelous experience, made more so for the history that is immediate and tangible. In a single view one can see both Notre Dame and the resting place of Napolean’s bones.

I tells ya, people, this is a magical place. I will certainly return!

FAG?

(Note: Before reading this post, please consult the very serious Deonandan.com disclaimer.)

By popular demand, I’ve dug deep and paid the 4 cents per kb needed to upload the following image from my Treo. It’s the UK immigration form with the word FAG on it.:

I’ll think about posting some actual images from Paris later on. In the mean time, let me say for the official record: Paris is without question the most beautiful city in the Western world.

Gay Paree

Greetings from Paris, my droogies. I arrived in London this morning after a restless overnight flight, only to be greeted with a UK immigration form with an official stamp that read, FAG. What could this mean? How did they know I was heading to “gay Paree”? Or was it a forewhadowing of the unspeakable liberties a Ugandan gorilla may be taking with me next week? Stay tuned, faithful reader, as this entangled web of juvenile banality unfolds.

The Eurostar train to Paris was quite comfortable. Europeans really know how to do train travel, The only down side was that after a day of enjoying complete mobile phone functionality on London’s tube, it was disappointing to receive no signal in the Chunnel! Possibly this was a good thing, as my calls are costing me almost $2/minute. Indeed, my plan blog from my Treo have been modified somewhat as data transfer from my device is costing me 4 cents/kB, which adds up really fast, Right now, I’m using my friend Lauren‘s computer to make this entry, which unfortunately means I can’t share with you (yet) the photos I’ve taken thus far,

I’m off to bed now after more than 24 hours (and three nations worth) of non-stop sleepless activity. Hopefully I’ll have something actually interesting to say tomorrow, but don’t hold your breath.

Countdown to Uganda

As the great Schiavo debate continues below, I just wanted to share with everyone a new review of my last book, this time in University of Toronto Quarterly. Let’s just say it wasn’t too flattering.

Meanwhile, I’ve managed to get almost all of my pending tasks completed! Yayyy! That means I can ship off to Europe this weekend for a few days of ostentatious tourism, followed by a lengthy flight to Uganda, whereupon I and two good buddies, Sean and Andrew, will trek through the jungle in search of the elusive and rare mountain gorilla, at which point we will feast upon its endangered flesh and claim its hide as our trophy, after engaging in some Abu Ghraib-style recreation, monkey-stylee.

Seriously, we are indeed trekking for gorillas in the Ugandan jungle. After paying our enormous permit, the government will provide us with a guide, a graduate student who records the gorillas’ doings (and possibly our doings –who knows what he is a student of?) and an armed guard. I ain’t kidding myself, though: if there’s any kind of trouble, I fully expect the guard to shoot one of us before he shoots the gorilla. The gorilla is way more valuable.

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