The French seem to do everything well: universally delightful people (the stereotype believed in Amerika is false), awesome food (seems impossible to get less than very good food), seamless public transportation, the world's best museums and architecture, even reasonable prices for a huge city. I have the best internet service available at home; the cheapest here in our apartment is 4x as fast. For nearly six weeks we have immersed ourselves in the culture to where I have become conversant in French despite never having had a day of classes or programs.
Now for Easter week arrive the Amerikan tourists in loud, obnoxious groups. Almost as a parody of the Ugly Amerikan stereotype. I wish they would return to Wisconsin and Seattle and Jersey and leave my beautiful, polite, reserved Paris alone! But this beautiful city - which is The World's #1 Tourist Destination - hosts 28,000,000 of all sorts. It's just the loud, obnoxious groups from Amerika literally drown out the sounds of Paris with their bellowing. A group sitting behind us on our cruise was so loud talking about their clothes and what they had packed and when their return flight was (as the City of Light passed by us ignored by them) that I had to ask them to please be quiet so I could hear the tour guide at which point they began laughing louder making fun of my accent. Donna excuses them as being "only about 20 years old" but I blasted them until they finally piped down.
But back to the start: after racing across town last night amid a Metro stoppage and a taxi shortage to miss a dinner cruise, I got up this morning and went to the local market. See photos. Yum! I fixed breakfast for lunch at 1p. Then off to what passes for the local grocery store. Then we discovered that an area of Paris I have not visited (Place d'Italie) is Chinatown. We found a great Cambodian restaurant then a night cruise on the Seine. See photos.
Tomorrow Dan and Kim and Tyree and Sheryl return to Ga and Ala to make room for our kids: Shannon and her fiance Grey, and Tiana. A week from now my trip to Paris will end as I go for a week to Warsaw (to see Trevor) then to Lithuania to see friends before returning to the city I love to collect the woman I love to return to our home that I love.