Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-10-20

Stayed the night in Paris

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 00:28:43 +1100 (EST)
Our original plan was to go to Versailles today, but we discovered that
the Science Museum had an expo on the weekend, and was closed on Monday.

We caught the metro out to the museum (including a horrible change from
a train raised up overground to one deep underground), and wandered
around through a pile of the exhibitions. Unfortunately the place really
was crowded - hard to actually do any of the hands-on stuff. Still, we
saw a presentation on volcanoes, in French, but we could see what was
going on still.

A lot of the signs were in French, but the newer parts had English as
well. There was a very cool section on Astronomy. I spent ages watching
particles zapping across the cloud chamber in the particle section, and
watched a video of a confused chestnut seller dealing with a physics
professor explaining about Muons and relativity.

We also saw lots of optics tricks (spinning black and white images
turning colourful), smoke and mirrors..., a section on bionic humans and
artificial intelligence (little cartoon creatures learning to speak each
other's languages through immitation) and a complete bomber plane
(France's first nuclear bomber).

Outside there was a market selling organic food, and a giant silver
sphere made out of triangles (ok, so it's not really a sphere, it's a
f^&*loadsagon, but it still looked shiny). We ate lunch here, then
walked off past a submarine (you can tour through it as well, but that
would have cost money, and we were running out of time) through a park
to the Music Museum.

The music museum had lots of strange instruments, and bit like Brussels.
It also had an audio guide like Brussels - with the same annoying static
when you weren't standing just right. Still, there were heaps of cool
examples of the sound of each instrument - and a history of the
development of that instrument. Apart from their liking of the word
'virtuosity' (I swear they used it at least once in each description,
sometimes more frequently) they were mostly good - though the one for
trombones claimed to play the 'Dies Irae' from Verdi's Requiem. I didn't
think it sounded right (just from the words), but Kate listened to it 3
times to make sure, and pronounced it total crap. For one thing it
wasn't the Dies Irae (and I agree, now that I remember how Verdi's Dies
Irae goes.. it's only the most famous movement, and is rather louder
than what they had). She thinks it may be the Rex Tremendae (which
starts with offstage _trumpets_).

Oh yeah, there was a really cool fountain outside the Music Museum too..
though I think Kate got sick of me pointing and saying 'cool water
thing' every 5 seconds.

On the way home I climbed up the steps to Sacre Coeur (the
less-than-100-years-old church which looks heaps older), built to say
'sorry God for fighting in the Franco-Prussian war. We won't do it
again.' Yeah, right. It opened in 1920, just after the first world war.
There was a busker doing tricky things with long flowing costumes inside
a tiny little tent, and popping out with a different face, different
robe, and different tricks every few seconds. I liked it.

Ate some delicious crepes from a seller at the bottom of the steps,
then we went to look at the Moulin Rouge (like every other sad tourist
in the place... it was nearly 10pm, and you had to wait in turn for
camera space!)

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