Panda in Paris

in which this blog is an anomaly

Posted in Not France by parisianpanda on June 25, 2010
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Oh hey there, blog. It’s been a while.

This blog post comes to you in four parts.

Part One: Paris

I’m not there anymore. I left at the end of May. I miss it dearly and hope to be back in the fall for grad school. If not, Madison, Wisconsin, here I come!

Here are a couple of tidbits from the end of my time there:

The teachers from the lycée threw me a nice farewell party

Langhorne Slim concert

One of my last afternoons with Axel at the Square des Batignolles

Part Two: The United Kingdom

I am there currently and will be until about mid-August or so, living in London with Ben aka the lobsterback version of the kid from Almost Famous and listening to him say things like “Oh bother would you like a spot of tea? Lorries and porkie pies and football pitches and Dumbledore, oh bloody hell.”*

Do you see it? I see it.

It has come to my attention that I have been here almost a month and have taken no pictures of London. Hopefully that will be remedied soon, but I have taken pictures of some weekend expeditions to other parts of England. For example, my first weekend here we took a hiking trip to the South Downs, where I walked 12.5 miles across a bunch of hills which was more fun than it sounds and subsequently got a terrible purple sun burn which was even less fun than it sounds:

Not the White Cliffs of Dover but they are white cliffs and they are pretty close to Dover.

Southeast England looking twee and rural

Why hello there!

Last weekend I went to Bristol to visit my old French host siblings, Lise and Thibault, with whom I spent a week in high school in Marseille. Lise has been in Bristol all year on Erasmus, and Thibault happened to be visiting her.

Aren't they cute?

Suspension bridge

Property of the queen.

Bristol Cathedral, which looks suspiciously familiar...

Anyway, great trip, Lise and Thibault were gracious hosts as usual.

In conclusion, people here care about soccer and they aren’t even hipsters.

Part Three: Frankfurt and Amsterdam in May

I went to see David in Frankfurt:

The traditionally German-looking part of Frankfurt

David and the not-so-typically-German part of Frankfurt

Statue devoted to a currency that decided to become worthless right before I had to exchange it

Cons: Frankfurt is boring and moderately ugly, the city revolves around banking, and supposedly the population triples during the work week because of people coming in to work at the banks and is mostly dead on the weekend and devoid of young people. Pros: David and his Nintendo coworkers, apparently the only young people in the city, are awesome.

Ben and I also had a trip to Amsterdam:

Orange shutters!

Bikes and canals!

Same-sex wedding cake toppers!

They sure do have a sense of humor, the Dutch.

Things to definitely do in Amsterdam: The Anne Frank House (it’s overpriced but worth it) FOAM (Foto Museum of Amsterdam – great exhibits and super cheap,) paddleboating on the canals (don’t bother getting a boat tour, paddleboating is cheaper and so much fun) and frites with oorlog sauce (mayonaise and peanut sauce – it sounds terrible but it’s amazing and I still crave it.)

Things to definitely not do in Amsterdam: walk around at night on streets that have window girls at street level if you don’t like being terrified, see an improv show at the renowned English-language improv theater which will go unnamed but if you ever try to go you’ll know what I’m talking about because it’s in all the guides. I have seen some bad improv comedy but this wasn’t even funny after I did that thing everyone does in Amsterdam that’s supposed to make everything funny.**

Part Four: L’Arnacoeur Watch

The terrible Romain Duris/Vanessa Paradis film I lamented in my last blog is being released in England under the title “The Heartbreaker.” I’ve seen the posters in the tube here in London. They couldn’t even keep the clever pun in the title. I only hope this fate won’t befall my beloved United States. (However, if you see the French film titled “Farewell” is coming to a theater near you, do not hesitate to see it. It’s about French people and Russian francophiles and the Soviet Union and Americans and Willem Dafoe has a small part in it. Go.)

*English people talk like this. FACT.

**Activity to go unnamed because this blog is for the children.


london and so many other things

Posted in France by parisianpanda on May 2, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

I haven’t put anything here in almost a month and a lot has happened. Generally I write long posts full of word vomit, so this time for the sake of my sanity and yours* I will break things up into shorter posts over the few days**. The first thing is my trip to England over “Easter vacation” which was actually two weeks after Easter because of the breaking up of France into vacation “zones” so everyone doesn’t go on vacation at the same time, and also because France only pretends to be a Catholic country.

Parliament and Westminster Abbey from the Eye

Most of the time I was in London visiting Ben, who is a very nice young man who lived here in Paris for a couple of months and invited me to visit him when he went home.

This is what he looks like.

I went to London during the Toussaint vacation the year I was in Paris as a student and I’d already visited most of the major tourist sites, so while Ben was at work I did a lot of walking tours of areas I probably wouldn’t have visited on my own and learned interesting factoids.

This church was the inspiration for the first tiered wedding cake!

This is the church Shakespeare attended!

This bridge wobbled too much when it first opened, so they had to close it until a team of New York engineers fixed it. We saved them, just like after the war. ***

Seeing as the last time I was here the weather was less than stellar, I also spent a good amount of time in parks.


Tulips and the London Eye

Seriously, what is it with Europeans and squirrels?

Probably the most interesting part of the trip was going to Brighton, a seaside town in the south, mostly for an event at a little independent gallery where various artists/journalists/professors talked about reality as a concept, but also the sea!

Carnival rides on the pier

Gazebo on the beach at night

Chocolate-truffle-peanut-butter milkshake from a place called, I kid you not, Choccy woccy doo dah.

Overall an excellent trip with an excellent host who took excellent care of me.

Back in Paris, things are starting to get sad because I’m on my last month here (at least for the summer) and people are starting to go home. Katarina is back in Australia, and David’s gone to Frankfurt to start a real grown-up job. Determined not to write about grad school here until I’ve actually gotten acceptances/made a decision, out of fear of jinxing it. At least Matthew is here. He moved into David’s room for the month and he talks a lot, which drowns out all my neuroses bouncing around in my brain.


*I realize it’s narcissistic to assume this blog affects your sanity or even my own.

**I can’t promise this. I have a lot of free time now that my job is over but I am also very lazy.

***I don’t really think this, I just say things like this because in case you haven’t heard, I’m hilarious.****

****I am probably not hilarious.