His Royal Orangeness Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit were impressed by the very quick and easy check in procedures for the Eurostar to Paris. You simply slot your ticket to where it must be slotted, barrier opens, go in, then show your passport to the dear Froggies (Yes, in this small plot of England is a hyperextended French border).
Upon arrival at the Gare du Nord, HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit quickly led The Nashman down the metro and voila, we were at Ile de la Cite, one bridge away from our 'humble' lodgings, guests of fellow Baguio native na itago nalang po natin sa pangalang May-yang (as in Nag-imas kan Mayyang). Of course 'humble abode' is not the best phrase to describe a relatively biiiiig Parisian flat on the only other natural island on the River Seine (as in Ashley, kahit apat pa hometowns ng royal friend mo, shut up nalang siya sa pagkabongacious ng aming kaibigan's flat. Pwede mong batuhin ang kuba ng Notre Dame mula sa bintana niya).
The first thing we, ie The Nashman (after a night partying in Londontown), did was to sleep till noon. After showering, we then crossed the bridge over to the Jewish quarter for shawarma lunch. It took me a while to understand why the ghettos didn't have any Christmas decorations. (Oo nga pala, alangan tanungin ko ang mga hudyo kung ano napi-feel nila sa kaarawan ni Hesukristo. Oi vey!) The dawgs and The Nashman quickly hopped from one Jewish patisserie to the next as today is Friday and Shabbat begins at sundown (which in winter is at 4:30pm). After that, we took a random walk in the 'hood to say hi hello to the natives.
HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit patiently wait for their early 6am train to Paris. (Senti time - dati hanggang Baguio-Manila-Baguio lang ako on Dangwa Tranco....). The two and a half hour train ride with no check in is so convenient the dawgs wondered why we bothered to waste time flying the last time we went to Paris.
....suddenly, we found ourselves in the heart of Paris. We can smell it too...mmmmm. (Ay, walang Eden cheese..)
HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit reacquaint me with the other aspect of the continental toilet - the bidet. Repeat after me: Kaliwa-ebak, Kanan-kawkaw. We don't want any 'accidental' droppings on the wrong place.
As it will take some time for The Nashman to remember his Tintin-level French, PA/PR Gromit was in charge of adjusting the house heating system.
HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit and Notre Dame at noon. Interestingly enough, we did not go inside the last time we were here and are not really raring to go inside now.
Mmmmm. Shawarma. Ang mga hudyo talaga, magaling sa sales. The whole street is shawarmahan and everyone has a sign saying "The best shawarma/falafel/kebab in the world". One even has "The best....according to Lenny Kravitz"...Hmmm, since when did Kravitz become a reliable judge of Jewish food?
This is slightly psychotic. What species is that bird and is it shaking pepper over itself or over the baby?
Place de la Republique and the 10m high statue called "Republique" commemorating the formation of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd French Republic. (We are in the 5th, in case your history teacher asks). This place is very very memorable to The Nashman as this was the place where he got punched by a hooligan during the 2004 student protests (..it was his birthday too and thankfully HRO Karl Willem was unhurt. Dito rin may libre paligo ang mga pulis with their water canons. ZOMG talaga, kahit nasuntok ako at hindi nakabawi, busog naman ang mga mata ko sa mga utong ng nag-gagandahang kolehiyala na bumabakat sa wet t-shirt! Kaya naman "To the barricades!" sigaw ko noon, kapit bisig na may kasamang tsansing. Gad, ang hirap talaga maging aktibista, but someone has to do it. Kung hindi ako, sino? Kung hindi ngayon, kelan? Hindi niyo na siguro dapat tanungin kung bakit 1.5 MILYON ang dumalo sa araw na iyon kumpara sa pitong usisero na sumasama sa rally ng Gabriela/Bayan Muna/Couples for Christ. Well, simpli lang ang sagot, dami magagandang chikababes sa rally sa Paris samantalang chaka na tibo at si Rez Cortez ang sumusulpot sa rally ng Gabriela/Bayan Muna/Couples for Christ, kawalang gana.)
HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit and the new means of travelling in Paris. Free bicycles! Take one from the rack, travel for free for 30 minutes to the next rack to deposit your bike. It's so gay! (Well, their mayor, the fantabulous Delanoe is a gay socialist and only he can come up with such a brilliant idea. And unlike Metro Manila mayors like Bayani Fernando, he does not uglify the city by plastering big posters of his face on the walls)
French Microsofot Word spellcheker roolz!
HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit went to the Centre Pompidou for coffee and to admire the Lord Rogers/Renzo Piano exoskeleton.
Mmmm bonbons. (They is not cheap ha, biro niyo €8 isang kahon. Senti Time- Dati, pa-stork stork lang ako, ngayon.....well, ok pa rin naman ang stork, kaso wala nga dito kaya do as the natives do...)
Our neighbour, the Hotel de Ville. (French lesson for Ashley's royal friend-Hotel de Ville means City Hall. Diyan ang opisina ng kanilang badingerz na Mayor. Do not go there asking "Anong oras ang check in?")
HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit amble to the Louvre...
The dawgs like the Louvre at night....
...of course HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit have to make the mandatory picture next to I.M/ Pei's glass pyramid. Incidentally, today is Friday so the museum shuts late and is free to students and under 26s. We went inside to have coffee and look at the art...the art meaning the pretty girls. (Sawa na kami sa Monalisa at inis dahil andun pa rin ang mga Da Vinci Code idjots sa paligid...)
Incidentally, while walking in the darkness of the Tuileries Gardens, our attention was grabbed by movement in the bushes (meron kaya nagkakantutan, at kung pwede i-video or maki-join?). We went for a closer look only to be surprised by 4 fully armed to the teeth Legion etrangere (that's French Foreign Legion) soldiers who were on patrol. (We was shock and surprise talaga pero we understand that during the holidays, security is heightened. Buti nalang naka-japorms ako. As in pagkakamalan ba namang suicide bomber ang taong nagsusuot ng Dunhill shirt with cashmere scarf? Sayang diba. Pero kung yung royal friend ni Ashley ang nakagulat ng mga sundalo baka binaril agad siya dahil Argos duvet ang scarf niya.)
Walking back. That's HRO Karl Willem's favourite museum - The Musee d'Orsay. That blue thing is The Eiffel. Ugly, yes. A blight on the Parisian landscape.
...at midnight HRO Karl Willem and PA/PR Gromit were back at Kilometre Zero (Notre Dame is like Rizal Park, it marks the point from which distances are measured.)
...we met up with our host May-yang and her Berliner friend (na isang nude model, omg talaga ang mga biyaya ni Yahweh el Shaddai) and we went back to the digs for tapas and champagne. (Siempre, para pa-arty farty bohemian ek-ek, we drank on the floor...)