Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Entrecôte Challenge

This morning, at about 7:30AM, Jen and I just barely were able to trick ourselves into waking up and heading downstairs for coffee, tea and assorted baked goods. The weather forecast called for rain all morning until 11:00AM. We had planned to spend most of today in museums to make the most of the rainy day, however, when we exited the hotel we quickly noticed that the sky was blue and beautiful with barely a cloud in the sky.

We passed by the Rodin Museum and made a last-minute decision to go up the Eiffel Tower. The lines were extremely long, and at one point I caressed the arm of a woman only to find out that it was not Jen at all, an embarrassing mistake that was impossible to walk away from as we had to stand next to her in line for the next hour.

When we made it up to the first level in the elevator we then had to stand in line with a group of about twenty loud, annoying, Italian teenagers. I also go the chance to stand next to a stocky French woman who repeatedly leaned against me as if I were a wall or a lamp post. That's when she wasn't busy simply whacking into me with her giant, chubby, back.

After getting back to the first level from the top of the Tower we had had enough of people and opted to take the stairs down to the ground. The trip down the stairs was pretty fun and seemed to be a lot more relaxing than the people on their way up who were huffing and puffing.

At the bottom of the tower we headed on north to get some crêpes (jambon et fromage for Jen, just jambon for me) for lunch, having spent the past three hours waiting in lines on various points of the Eiffel Tower. The guy who made our crêpes was pretty awesome. He didn't scowl at everyone who wished to buy his crêpes the way you would expect in say New York City. Instead he chatted with everyone as he expertly made their crêpes for them. It was almost as if he enjoyed what he did!

We ate the crêpes in the park with some Kronenbourg which, after a few sips, we decided would be better used to water the trees than to quench our thirst. We dubbed it the "Bud Light of France".

After that we walked over the L'Arc de Triomphe, circled around it and headed back down the "hallowed cobblestones" of the Champs-Élysées in the general direction of our hotel. We stopped by a Monoprix where we purchased a few snacks and spent $20USD on sunscreen. It may have been too little too late as both of us are sunburned pretty badly. I'm having a little trouble figuring out exactly how they come up with the prices for things here. $20 is about four to five times what you would pay for sunscreen in the United States. The conversion rate isn't even a factor. On the plus side the dollar continues to gain strength against the Euro with each passing moment we're in France. My method of taking daily allowances from the ATMs is paying back dividends. I figure I must have already saved upwards of $6.00 in my time here!

On our way back we stopped by a park to rest and snack and eventually we fell asleep on the grass. It was a lot more dangerous than it sounds because the thudding of falling apples on the grass could be heard all about our heads.

We came back to the hotel to rest for a few minutes. That ended up turning into an unintentional long nap after which we woke up and tried to find a place to eat dinner. We eventually came across a place called Café Leffe.

I had the entrecôte for dinner. Funny story: I've had entrecôte for two out of my three dinners so far in Paris. The first night I ordered the filet du porc and, for some reason, they delivered me entrecôte (which Jen had ordered) so we both just enjoyed the entrecôte. This evening I ordered the roasted lamb shank and they brought me entrecôte again. He also forgot to bring the first course that we ordered.

Jen told the waiter (who felt awful and was very embarrassed) but I assured him that it was okay and I enjoyed the entrecôte. I'm usually pretty low maintenance about mistakes and things at restaurants (particularly due to my restaurant background) but if this happens again tomorrow night I think I might send it back. At least we got free drinks out of it this evening.

Every day I tell myself that I'm not going to have coffee after dinner. Then, after dinner, I have coffee. It's just too hard to resist and, quite frankly, I don't know if I'd have the energy to upload pictures, etc., if I didn't.

On another note I also made up a new character: Kléber Longchamps. He's a fast-talking business man who made his fortune in real estate but now he opened Monops which is a store that sells wine, sandwiches and candy. He's looking to put you into the right wine, sandwich and/or candy for your needs.

When you don't speak the language I find it's a lot more fun to make up stories about what the words mean than to actually learn the language.


Jen said...

I want to make a few points. One, the picture of Nate with his sweater artfully draped around his shoulders while eating a Kinder Bueno was my greatest masterpiece. I call it, "Nate as a Euro." And I'm tired of all the beautiful weather -- specifically, I am tired of crappy days being forecast with cold, overcast mornings to back it up, because every day so far I have left the hotel shivering my jeans, jacket and scarf, and every day I fricking roast all day.

There. Now that I've gotten that off my chest I will freeze tomorrow, when I finally do not take the weather at its word and wear a dress.

caolan said...

I was going to comment on the Kinder Bueno. It was so authentic!! (at least according to my [admittedly inauthentic] Parisian experience.)

Oh Kinder Bueno! I ate it, like, every morning and afternoon in the Rennes metro station.

Also, Jen, your striped & naval shirt is very parisienne as well.

Unknown said...

Caolan, your name was mentioned once or twice while I had the 'bueno bar. It was quite enjoyable, I think Jen's crazy for not thinking they're as delicious as they are!