Trip Start May 16, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of France  ,
Sunday, August 6, 2006

So... the most popular tourist destination in the world, France. I recall reading about it on Wiki-pedia and it saying somewhere that, "One can say, with confidence, that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world." Wow... bold claim. I have also heard it is dirty, though. Whoever said that, though, lies. The streets are clean, the buildings polished. The sights are simply unbelievable. Every time you turn a corner, you see some bautiful church or cathedral or monument or something. Okay, you think to yourself, surely that's the last one. That was like the millionth or two millionth of such structures, surely that's the last one. Then you turn another corner, and there's another huge church or statue or something. It just never ends. It's all very nice and all, but feels a bit sterile sometimes. It lacks the level of character of a city like Prague or Istanbul. I can completely understand why people love this city, there is plenty to love, I just prefer a different style.

It has not been a stay without challenges to overcome, though. Night one was a bit of a distaste, frankly. I can't remember when I booked, a day ahead perhaps, but everything was full except "budget hotels", instead of hostels. So I found this place with rooms for 25 euro I think. Booked it 3 nights. No problem. Then I show up. Everything was perfectly fine, until I noticed dead cockroaches scattered around the floor, on the walls, in the bathroom. The unfortunate optimist, in this case, I figured that they just fumigated it or something, no problem. I couldn't find any live ones about. The guy swept the dead up and took them off. Oh, I should also mention that the hotel was infintely dodgy externally. Some guy lived on the ground floor, I had to knock for awhile before he came to the door, took me to my room, etc. Anyway, so I leave my stuff and go walk around paris for the rest of the day. I return, it's night time, and... well... this time I had no problem finding a live cockroach. Or maybe a hundred. I flick on the light, they're on floor, the walls, beds, the bathroom, my bag. Some of them half-heartedly search for cover, most just continue about their cockroach business. I guess diseases aren't going to spread themselves. I shook the cockroaches off of my bag and headed down to the reception. I knocked. And knocked. He eventually came. I told him I was leaving. He didn't speak English. I pretended my hand was a cockroach and I had it run across the floor a little. Ahhhh, he said, and casually waved goodbye. Not concerned or surprised in the least. Great, now I have to find somewhere else to stay. It's midnight, by the way.

I talked the internet cafe guy to staying open a few extra minutes, and I found some stupid hotel for 60 euro or something. And got stuck at the same rate in a different place the next two days. It put a bit of a hinderance on my 50 euro/day target budget.

Anyway, went to the Louvre yesterday. It's pretty incredible. It's like the sights of Paris... every corner you ask yourself, surely there's not another room filled with priceless works of art bumping frames, overflowing the walls, sometimes the cieling. And then there is. And another. And another. I can now say I've seen the Louvre. I saw the Venus de Milo. I saw the Mona Lisa. It's really, really not that cool. Not even a little bit. I can even say, now, that I have pooped in the Louvre. Most people who have been there can't even say that. But I can. I leave for Brussels now.
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