for the Paris journal from 2016.
for the week of 08/30/15.
Sun, 8/23/15. La Defense.
They say la best Defense is Le good Offense.
Today was the last day of a 6 week festival with
in front of la grand Arche de la Defense. There is also a big mall there
and a merry go round, plus lots of games like badminton, solo tennis, huge
chess boards, a huge fussball table, and other stuff. We had a really good
time. Max and Gemma tried to play badminton but quickly got frustrated and
instead Max tried to make it baseball and he would pitch the ball over the net
to Gemma and she would try to hit it. Max turned to me
and said "You be the vampire. You decide who gets a point." We move
into our new place Wed and are quite excited to do so.
Sat, 8/22/15. Housecall.
We gave Max and Gemma a robot zombie and an Anna dress for their birthdays
and they were very happy. Can you guess who got what?
I realized I left a key to our current place in Saint Tropez and wrote
the landlady in Saint Tropez who confirmed it. She's gonna mail the key to
our new place here in Paris.
After eating a delicious lunch in a cafe near la Tour Eiffel, we walked to
the nearby American Library and contemplated
getting a membership there,
and then walked back along the Seine. Max saw the steel gates surrounding
the trash cans along the Seine and said "That's a jail where you if you
are very unlucky. You have to eat trash for breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
Then he proceeded to explain how you also had to eat the key to the jail.
There was a rock climbing wall set
up near the Seine and Max and Gemma spent a lot of time climbing it.
Max's throat was sore and very swollen so we called a doctor who did a
housecall! He charged us 90 Euros which was totally worth it as he came
within 20 min, took Max's temperature, checked out his ears, throat and
nose, and gave us some prescriptions to get at a pharmacy. Max is already
doing better now and it was reassuring to know the doctor thinks it's
Fri, 8/21/15. Buses, trains and automobiles.
We packed up, cleaned up, and tried to get back to Paris.
The plan was to take the 11:10am bus
to Frejus which is 30km away and the bus was scheduled online to get there at
12:45pm, then we'd have an hour to get to the train station which is 5 min
walk away, and our train from Frejus would leave at 1:47pm, stop in Les
Arcs Draguignan for an hour where we'd change trains, and then arrive in
Paris. It all sounds reasonable, right? Just to reiterate, we
were taking the 11:10am bus for 30km and had to get there in 2 and a half
hours. The bus was on time when we got on, but there was so much traffic
it took til 1:45 to make it to Frejus. 2 hours and 35 min. People on
bicycles seemed to be speeding by us. People
casually strolling on the beach seemed to be speeding by us. When we got
there, we ran to the train station but were too late. We weren't sure what
to do and asked at information and the woman told us to taxi to the next
train stop which seemed crazy, so we ignored her and wisely took a taxi
to Les Arcs Draguignan and made it there with plenty of time. We are now
on the train
to Paris, where the train stopped in the middle and the
conductor explained that the train before us had an accident and we would
be delayed at least an hour. He then said
"Mesdames et messieurs, this is the conductor speaking. The conductor
will be giving us information soon" which made everyone laugh.
We started going backwards for about half an
hour, which I didn't even know trains could do, and now are going forward
at full speed again. We finally made it to our apartment in Paris at
10:40pm, meaning it took door to door almost exactly 12 hours. It feels a
lot like you'd feel if it took 12 hours to go from LA to Mammoth. When we
got home, Jean looked on her computer and noticed there had been a
terrorist attack on a French train North of Paris. The attack was
disrupted by two American marines and I don't think anyone died. They said
many trains were delayed in the wake of the attack. I'm not sure if this
is why our train was delayed, but maybe. It kinda makes me feel stupid for
complaining about the delay.
Thu, 8/20/15. Jellyfish attack!
Today we went to Club 55 beach
which was nice but not nearly as nice as Plage des Salins, surprisingly.
We had heard this was where the billionaires go and was extremely
exclusive, with the restaurant charging $100 per person minimum, so we
thought it would be extremely ritzy, but it was just ok, very rocky and
wavy and not calm and plush and sandy like Plage des Salins was. It was
also quite crowded, though we found a spot away from the traffic and
were nearly the only ones swimming. Margaret got stung by a jellyfish, and
it started bubbling up on her wrist. We weren't sure if the rumored
antidote was true or not, but Elijah peed on her wrist and immediately it
went away, so I guess it is true after all. At night the kids watched
Oliver and Company on the DVD while Tony gave us psychological personality
tests involving asking us about our favorite animals and why we like them.
Tomorrow we are back to Paris and the Elijahs are back to Ireland, but
will see them again next week when they come to Paris.
Wed, 8/19/15. La plage des salins.
Today all 9 of us crammed into a huge taxi and went to la plage des salins,
about 15 min away, which is the northernmost of a famous strip of
beaches near Saint Tropez. It was really beautiful and we had an
incredible time at the beach. The water was really shallow, like waist
high for an adult, for about 100 feet, and then dropped off suddenly and
became deep. The sand was very crowded and mostly filled with adults who
seemed to be staring at us and possibly frowning when we arrived and put
our stuff down, but we were mostly in the water which was close to empty.
Elijah's grandpa was talking about bananas at one point and asked Max if
he liked bananas, and Max said yes and Elijah's grandpa said "Who wouldn't
like bananas" and Max said "My Dad's brother doesn't like bananas." I
thought it was a pretty good sentence. I didn't even realize Max knew
Randy didn't like bananas but I guess so.
Bank of America is making it hard for me to transfer
money to our new landlord's account, which is a little worrisome but I
think we will get it figured out with a little help from our friends and
Tue, 8/18/15. Happy birthday!
Max and Gemma turned 5 today! In the morning, Max looked at his hands and
feet and said "Are my hands bigger? Are my legs longer?"
The Kims were a little hung over from their late night out last night at a
restaurant where Carl Lagerfeld was also eating.
For their birthday, we took the Super 3 as they call themselves on the
merry go round, then Jean took Gemma to the butterfly museum while the
others went to the farmer's market, which was really more like a flea
market, and then we had lunch and bought little birthday cakes. Jean and I
wanted to cook fish but went to two supermarkets, neither of which had any
fish, and when we asked, multiple people informed us that you can only buy
fish in the morning here. So we got frozen shrimp and made a shrimp stir
fry, which actually seemed to go over quite well, as did the delicious
cakes. At night we watched some of Fantastic Four and played with Max and
Gemma's new presents, including big pencil sets and cute shirts from the
Kims as well as a cupcake set for Gemma from us and a weird stretchy toy
and car for Max from us, where according to the instructions you are
supposed to put the car together, then throw this rubbery guy at the car
and brake it into pieces. Max loved it and he and Elijah fought over it.
Walking around town today, Max did a little more of his
Maxie language . It was a
great birthday all in all, and before going to bed, Max and Gems both said
they wanted to have a similar day tomorrow.
More photos from Saint Tropez are
Mon, 8/17/15. Lazy day.
We went to Pearl Beach again, which today was sunny
and windy, so windy that they didn't rent out umbrellas at all because it
would be too dangerous. So we played in the sea and basked in the sun for
a while and then took a nice long nap at home. At night, we just sat
around watching tv, eating, and
reading Mr. Jelly
and the related books which Elijah had brought. I've been reading Harry Potter
to the kids at night and before naptime. They really like it and I think
understand it pretty well. Elijah's reading is amazing. He can read
cursive graffiti on the buildings on the way to the beach. He can be
stubborn though, like Gemma, and wild like Max, so Tony joked he's a
combination of their worst qualities. It's not at all true though. He's a
very sweet kid and he is getting along amazingly well with both M and G.
It can be hard for 3 people of any age to all get along all the time, but
these guys are coming about as close as you can get. One thing Elijah does
not share with Max and Gemma is their love of food, and tv. Elijah is
quite indifferent about both actually, and it was funny hearing him say
"Let's turn the tv off now" and hearing Margaret urge him to "finish your
cheerios!" You would just never hear either of those sentences in our
family. But otherwise, in many ways he does seem just exactly like Max and
Gemma, and the 3 of them spend a lot of time laughing together. In the
water today we were playing Octopus, which is a game where you try to find
some seaweed or something in the water and pretend it's an octopus and
throw it at the other people. Then we played Fish Market, where I would
say I need salmon, or cod, or whatever, and Jean would pick up one of the
kids and throw him or her to me. The water is a strange temperature. They
say it is 77 degrees but it seems really cold when you first get in, but
then when you are in it feels warm somehow.
P.S. Jean says Fish Market is the greatest game ever invented.
for the week of 08/16/15.