Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-10-19

Stayed the night in Paris

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 04:33:30 +1000 (EST)
This is just a quick fill in because French keyboards are unusable by
anyone used to standard qwerty keyboards (this is a azerty keyboard!)

We went from Gryon to Geneva for a couple of days - big fountain!

After Geneva was Lyon in France... stayed in a hotel which charged extra
for using a shower, and wasn't particularly wonderful, so we headed
straight to Paris after checking out the Textile Museum and a great view
from the top of the hill.

Been in Paris for a couple of days now - moved hostels because the first
one had no kitchen and was very expensive (and had rats! There's a hole
in one of our food bags to prove it!)

Saw Notre Dame, Napoleon's tomb and a really badly tuned choir singing
various songs - including some we do in MUCS. The conductor took all the
songs we know way too fast, quite ruined them with his 'creative' use of
tempo - they just kept speeding up! We're both really homesick for our
choirs now - good singing (ish) here we come.

Plan to do the rest of the diaries for these days from the UK where
we have the laptop to type them, and keyboards that make sense...
We'll be there on Tuesday now - going to use up a bit more of our
Britrail passes.

Only 10 days left until we get on the plane...

From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 00:13:19 +1100 (EST)
Up early for showers and breakfast - there aren't many showers in the
hostel, so getting in early is good! Breakfast was really good - heaps
of very fresh French bread and jam, and lots of hot chocolate. The only
problem is that the hot chocolate sends you straight back to sleep! We
succumbed and slept until 11am.

We walked around Notre Dame, then I joined the queue for the towers
while Kate sat around in the gardens and read. The queue took over 3/4
hour - then the tower was very cool. Lots of Victor Hugo (author of
'Notre Dame de Paris' - known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame to us
Englishers) memorial stuff, and heaps of gargoyles. I had very stupidly
not taken any spare film with me, and ran out up there. Doh!

In the queue I was hassled by beggars a couple of times - Kate had it
worse, she was approached no less than 6 times, 3 of them by the same
woman. We found that 'do you speak English', when asked on the streets
of Paris, means that the person is about to beg. Some of the beggars are
quite persistant, running along beside you and jumping in front to state
their case one more time.

Walked via Pont Neuf (literally 'New Bridge' - the oldest bridge in
Paris) to the Hotel des Invalides, which contains an Army Museum and
Napoleon's Tomb. We walked over to get a view of the Eiffel Tower, then
ran off to make the concert we'd discovered the day before.

It probably wasn't worth bothering in retrospect, the sopranos were
painfully flat, the conductor was playing with the timing so much that
they weren't together, and it was made much worse by it being pieces
that we knew (some of them pub songs from AICSA choirs). They were all
done far too fast, which didn't help cover up the flaws in the
performance. The English pronunciation was quite good, but they couldn't
say the unfamiliar words fast enough to keep up with the conductor (who
not only started too fast, but sped up during the pieces!).

Had 2-minute noodles for dinner (on the theory that we couldn't cook
anything more complex in that hostel).

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