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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Did we land in Italy by mistake?

Landed in Iceland.  Cleared customs no problem – I was worried about the peanut butter we have packed and other food stuffs, but no customs forms and no questions.  Sheesh, even Mexico makes you fill out forms.

We thought our connection was late, Melissa wanted to try and catch the earlier connection to Paris, but Dave figured that then we would just be waiting in Paris for the bags.  So we grabbed a bit to eat.  Dave takes a second look at our tickets, and Ooops – that earlier flight IS our flight.  So we zip to the gate and were the last to board the flight.

We arrive in Paris and had planned to catch the train to the city, but with all our bags, we decided a taxi would be easier.  So we are walking towards the taxi stand when a guy pulls us aside and asks in broken English whether we want a taxi.  We say yes, and he says “just for you €65”.  Dave and I glance at each other, “no thanks”.  Then we come upon another guy outside.  €100 he says.  Uh oh we think maybe we should have gone with the €65 guy.  We get to the real taxi stand, and low and behold, its €50.  Hooray, our foreigner’s in a big city spidey sense is working despite the lack of sleep!

First order of business after checking into the hotel is to find food.  We walked ½ mile with no luck.  So we get on the subway.  Ooops, wrong way.  We get back on the right way toward the center of Paris.  And after walking some more… Voilà!  We find a genuine looking sidewalk Paris café.  Ahhhh…. We sit down and order a carafe of wine.  The waiter starts to object, catches himself, and then asks whether we are going to order food.  Later I asked him whether we had committed some sort of foolish American faux pas ordering a carafe of wine in the afternoon or something.  “No”, he replied, apologizing, “that was my fault”.  “But when shouldn’t you order it?”, I pressed.  “When you are not eating food, then most places will only serve you a glass of wine”, he replies.  Interesting.  I had no idea there were such etiquette around wine service.

The waiter offers us the English menu.  This would have been admitting failure on my French (ok, it’s high-school French, but still I plan to practice while we are here!) before we even begin the trip, so we insist on getting the menu in French.  We order what we figure was veal and chicken.  When it arrives, we realize it was veal parmesan with spaghetti and a roasted chicken with risotto.  I start laughing.  It just dawned on me that we walked two miles to find an Italian restaurant.  So much for my French!  The food was good in any case.

We continued to walk around Paris as it is now late afternoon and our goal is to stay awake till 9pm, despite virtually no sleep.  We just kept walking as you can’t fall asleep if you are walking!

For dinner we found a restaurant near the hotel.  We ordered two glasses of the Cotes De Rhone (the only thing we recognized).  The girl brings us 2 glasses of white.  Since the menu was color coded, we were sure this was not like Zinfandel (can be red or rose).  We sent it back for the right one.  Or at least a red one.  I then asked about a dish that I thought might be a sausage of some sort.  Indeed it was “like ham” the waitress told us.  I order it with Haricots Vert (green beans).  It was delivered with French fries.  I say no, we ordered the beans.  The girl claims “they are out of the beans”.  Yeah, right.  I’d happily claim we were the victims of the famous French snobbery towards Americans you hear so much about, but alas, I fear nothing more than server incompetence this time.

And to say the dish was “like ham” was a stretch (albeit that I do chalk up to the language barrier).  Dave and I figured later it was pig innards of some sort or another.  It was ok to eat though.  Dave likened it to the Vietnamese sausages.  We will try anything once.  How the heck am I going to record “pig innards” in the 20/20 diet meal tracker anyway?

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