A friend, a garden & an unpleasant window display

Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
Trip End Aug 05, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, July 20, 2012

I ran out of class eager to be done with another week of summer school. Three tests down and another three to come. I'm pretty hopeful for some good grades at the end of this, now. A brief and energising Viber-call to you, Cam and Gem and then I was out the door and off to face the afternoon. 

As I approached the Notre Dame I suddenly rethought our idea to meet "in front of" it. The crowds are huge doing summer, the courtyard was choking with people and I laughed at the prospect of trying to find someone amid the throng. There he was though, sitting on the first bench directly facing the main entrance. He jumped up when he saw me and we started walking, chatting about our days and my head buried in my map for directions to the shop. He told me he had walked through the "gay district" to get to the Notre Dame; just to check it out and that for the last few blocks a creepy old man had been following him. I turned to see the culprit keeping pace with us at a distance; he'd been watching us talk and was practically salivating as he stared predatorily at Isaak. We hurriedly slipped along some back shopping alleys to lose him and then continued happily on our way. We walked past the pet shop street I'd stumbled across the other day so I showed Isaak some of the more unusual finds and we got to see the reptile cages alive with activity as the lizards, snakes, frogs and turtles were all excitedly awaiting being fed. 

After a few wrong turns we came to the Destruction des Animaux Nuisibles and we saw the window display which featured in Ratatouille. It was gruesome seeing taxidermic sewer rats hanging from traps and seemed barbaric to be making such a mockery of their unfortunate pesky lives. There were other rats of terrifying and impressive size in the window display, one which we mistook for a large beaver before reading its card which declared it a chinese sewer rat. Inside were also taxidermic birds of prey, stuck mid-flight in what appeared to be rabbit traps; there were two warthog heads mounted on the wall; a few disfigured cat-looking creatures and more rats of varying sizes. 
Next we walked down a few blocks, using my trusty screen captures of google maps and found the garden built over disused train tracks - the garden that's reportedly well hidden and alluded me for over an hour earlier on in the trip. It was pretty and quite cool, but not mind blowing. It stretches on for a kilometre, raised far above the street level. Looking up from the main street which I had walked down on my last attempt, one doesn't even suspect that the world of greenery, birds and flowers exists; that was interesting I thought. The train tracks have been turned into a pathway so it wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but still great. I had pictured myself stepping on faded train tracks, crunching over the track stones with ivy or moss slowly claiming even that path space; but like most Parisian works, this was one of neat and orderly lines and no chaos had been permitted to take hold. 

We then went in search of dinner and discovered his hostel is only a five/ten minute walk from the apartment. We ate at a fresh asian restaurant; the food was good and very reasonably priced. Then we went for drinks at a bar with a cool vibe, stone walls and dark wooden benches and after a few drinks there we said goodbye and I went back to the apartment, whilst he started his night of more bars, nightclubs and house parties. By about 9pm I had showered and clambered into bed, where I read until sleep claimed me.
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withintheforest on

I like that you have a new friend to share things with and explore the city. The rat display was a bit full on. What was the purpose? I enjoyed your images of plants and flowers... Classic Stephen!

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