"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Up, up, and away--but dinner first

Friday: Our last night in SF, went out with friends for dinner at La Mar, a Peruvian restaurant specializing in Seafood. Our reservations were quite early, 6:15, since it was the only allotted slot time. The restaurant sits on pier 1 1/2. It is HUGE. Inquiring minds want to know how can they fill the tables with so many people and turn them over so quickly? It was a beautiful day and the view was spectacular.

Bar at La Mar
We got our proverbial apéros, or should I say cocktails of real martini. Remember, martinis in France are like sweet vermouth over ice, and one of  the only times that the bartenders in France will ever serve you ice without asking for it. We were joking with our waiter, I started asking him in Spanish what were some of the Peruvian specialties? he laughed, and said he was Mexican. He asked where I lived, and I told him Paris, and he had a huge grin on his face, then someone at the table told me that the Mexicans beat out the French in the world cup finals, like I really care, but being the good sport, excuse the pun, I congratulated him.

The Gang

Our waiter being a ham or is that jamon 
We all shared an array of ceviche, from fish to squid to octopus. Each came with different accompanying sauces, some of them were quite spicy, we're definitely not in France any more. Our main courses were excellent, I had the short ribs in a nice sweet reduced wine sauce, others had the scallops, seafood
con arroz, and halibut was very popular.  All-in-all it was excellent.  Not wanting to pass up dessert, we got the beignets with a chocolate sauce, it was excellent, and the sweet potato fritters almost like churros. Didn't care for that since the center was a little under cooked.  Great time, good friends. We ended dinner at 8:30 pm, and realized it was quite early, so we all met up at Palominos, a bar/resto at Embarcadero. I totally forgot it was Friday night, and was packed, go figure? so we sat outside and had some nightcaps.

 The Gang at Palominos
Had loads of fun.The evening couldn't have been better. Got home early, in time to do some last minute packing before heading out to the airport tomorrow.

     4-types of ceviche                           Halibut        

    Short Ribs                                       Scallops

   Portobello mushrooms                   Seafood and rice

    Sweet potato fritters                       Chocolate beignets

Saturday:  Got to the airport quite early 8:30 am, as some of you know, I normally don't even think about getting out of bed until 10:30 am. I had 2-luggages over the allotted 1 per person, oh well, I was going to see if I could sweet talk the person to let me bring extra luggage free of charge. Got to Air Canada, and I was kissing ass like there was no tomorrow. No luck, they charged me $50 for the extra luggage, even after I pleaded that the 2-extra luggages totaled less than 50 lbs (amount allowed), but she said each would cost $50 so I hand carried one and checked the other one in.  So much for the old charm.

Wouldn't you know it. We booked our seats 2-weeks earlier, but they called our names just as we were suppose to board to let us know we got seats ?!?! as if we were waiting stand-by, how weird is that? so we told her we had booked awhile back and already had our seat assignments. Well I was hoping they screwed up so bad that we'd get bumped up to 1st class, no such luck. Normally I get an aisle seat 'cause I go to the rest room quite a bit, instead I got sandwiched in a middle seat, imagine that? Oh well...

OK, there needs to be a law against people who have bladders the size of Africa. The guy sitting in the aisle where I was sandwiched in didn't go to the bathroom once in 5-hours. He drank sodas, coffee and tons of water, he can't be healthy. I must have gone every hour on the hour and I didn't have anything to drink, not even wine, go figure?  Well we made it Toronto OK, and had an hour and a half to get on our flight to Paris. Figure this one out, you have to go through customs, it's like how long is your visit to Canada? and you say maybe 1-hour. And, believe it or not you have to declare goods even though you don't have your luggage. What's this all about, I thought bureaucracy only existed in France. We barely had 15-minutes to get on our connecting plane.

The plane ride was uneventful. I just love those personal TV stations, you get to watch what you want when you want, and both Jack and I were seated in aisle seats, so we got to go to the bathroom as much as we wanted, ah, I think I died and went to pee heaven.

Made it to Paris in less than 7-hours from Toronto. It's raining and overcast, I had to remind myself, "you don't live in Paris for the weather." We got close to the terminal, and there were NO shuttle buses. We had to wait on the tarmac which seemed like an eternity. Thank God I was waiting next to the bathroom on the plane! Finally we got onto the crowded buses, standing room only. When we got to the terminal, there's a flight of stairs up to the terminal, no escalators, no elevators. I was swearing like a crazy cat in heat, 'cause I had my hand carry which weighted almost 30 lbs, but then I saw all these families with strollers and all, and I felt less pissed, but still pissed none-the-less. Then we got to passport control. Oh my GAWD, the crowds looked like a New Year's day sale at Macy's, it was CROWDED, and typical to France, they only had 2 inspectors.

Our luggage made it, what a nice surprise. Customs in France is a joke. They must've all been on coffee break.  How do I know this, there was no agent around in sight. I didn't bring anything illegal, just some food. Now in the States, I would've had to declare my dirty underwear, go figure?

Isn't it funny whenever you go on vacation, and you go back home, it's like you never left. Life is strange that way, nest-ce pas?

Jet lag is horrible. They say it's harder going East than going West. I say, it doesn't matter what direction, it's just bad. I heard that swimming helps cure jet lag. We do have a pool in our apartment complex. I've never used it, how do you say in French, beware..., beached whale coming into pool! plus they chlorinate the water way too much. They also say, eat meals during appropriate times, that wouldn't work for me since I eat all day. My solution is, "better living through drugs..."

Well we're home safe and sound. Now time for some more misadventures, once we get out and about...

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