Thursday, 29 January 2009

There's just something about Paris

I love it. It's a cliché. I like tacky tourism. I have romantic day dreams in which I am starring in an appalling coming-of-age drama with a stellar soundtrack. However, I have tried to avoid being absolutely cliché. But when it comes to Paris, I just can't help it.

This would be fine if I had well defined reasons for my love, but I don't. In fact, I have far more reasons to dislike Paris than I do to love it.

It is insanely busy, something that irritates me about London. It is not clean like Ljubljana or traffic-free like Amsterdam. It's not quaint like Edinburgh or as cool as Berlin. It lacks nature. And water, which is my favourite thing about Sydney. And it isn't varied. All the suburbs look the same.

The things that other people love about the clichéd Paris aren't qualities I seek out. All that alleged romance. When I sensed romance in Dubrovnik I ran, ran, ran from the cliffside cafe with its crashing waves and smoochy music. And the sophistication thing? All I see is people not wearing colour. All the brown and grey and black (I have only been to Paris in Winter, but I am sure they all wear monotone coats in summer as well.) I am not sophisticated, and being in Paris sometimes makes me feel like a clown.
NB: This is especially bad when couchsurfing with super-cool, tidy, classy french types who have a lovely appartment that you keeping wrecking. Sorry about the bed i broke* Anna...and the piece of tofu I lost behind the cupboard...oops I didn't tell you guys about that one...
* NB # 2: Did not fall on bed and break it in a passionate French way. Fell on it in a tripped over whilst picking up my backpack way. SO sophisticated right now.

So why like Paris? I do enjoy how easy it is to fit anything that happens there into the cultural stereotype built up for the place. Easy when the stereotype is pretty much anything goes. Any expression of individuality? Anything random? TOTES French right now. This is harder in, say, Germany where something disorganised is unGerman, or Scandinavia where wood that isn't blonde just isn't right. Cheery service in London, opinions in Switzerland, you get the picture. These countries have far more restrictive travel expectations.

But even though I am aware of this I still succumb to the romance of it all. The "ooooh I am in Paris." I suppose it's good marketing on Paris' behalf, having us all think it is the ultimate travel destination. Putting it in movies and books and such. I read The Flaneur before I arrived and so, (even though I'd been to Paris a few times in the past) I felt all excited like I was going somewhere really special.

It helps that I can communicate with people there. And that I have been fortunate to meet some lovely French people over the years. I guess it also helps that my first big, independant adventure was in France (exchange when I was 16) so I associate the city with that grown-up, big-world kind of sensation that became a permanent emotional state over the past 6 months.

So maybe, I am not being cliché. Maybe I love Paris for my own reasons. It doesn't stop me going "EEEE LOOK LOOK, THE EIFFEL TOWER!!!" though...I am still a dirty big tourist.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

bored now

Time goes differently here. A week has passed since I got home and I feel like I've done nothing. Where is the learning folks? Where are the new people to meet? I promised myself I would live Sydney like it was Europe and see new places, do new things. But my old habits are, well, habitual... Hmm, Maeve use words good.

I didn't think I'd get travel hangover. I was so ready to come home.

So here I am and the heat is blending into my boredom. My friend whimpered like a little girl today cos the heat was so bad. I made whingy noises then hot-footed it (scuse pun) to the beach.

I saw a woman at the ladies pool whose nipples were getting sunburnt. Is this what we have become? People who purposefully burn their nipples? Imagine if they peeled! I wanted to take her aside and say, 'Lady, you are burning your nipples!' But I didn't want her to think I was a sleaze.

There was also lettuce floating in the water and a film of oily matter on the surface. I think it was sunscreen. Laura and I decided that this meant if we were under the water we wouldn't get burnt. Ah, science, you have always eluded me.

Randwick Council has cut down a lot of the shrubbery that used to protect the ladies pool from the prying eyes of leisurely walkers strolling along the path nearby. Now anyone can see the topless lesbians, nice old nannas and awkward teenagers splashing about in single-sex glee. This makes me mad. Maybe some old man was also looking down and thinking 'Lady, you are burning your nipples!'

Life: you are disappointing.

I am, however, thankful that green grapes are in season and enjoy eating them crispy fresh from the fridge.


The Blurb

For maevegobash: yeah, I just like thinking/writing/talking about myself. That's what blogs are for, right? For vegepalooza: I have been vegetarian for 25 years now - so that's always for me. My mothers cooked a storm up in the kitchen and I am carrying the torch filling my friends bellies at every opportunity. I love food and want to share my recipes, tips and tricks here to encourage creative vegetarian eating. There will also be a lot of vegan recipes for my friends with more willpower than me (sorry kids, I just love the cheese). Anyway enjoy, feel free to criticise and most of all Happy Eating!