04.05.2011 - 05.05.2011 15 °C
This morning, Daniela and I were finally able to see the Paris Catacombes. I got there at 9:15am, so we were the first ones to go (after two groups) at 10am when it opened. Basically, the Catacombes is an underground system of tunnels where people were buried when cemeteries started overcrowding in the 18th century. They were very systematically buried, too, as you'll see in my photos. There is not a single little space in between the skulls and bones! Sorry, this is kind of morbid...I don't get grossed out by this stuff, but there sure are people who do!
So, before you click on my facebook photo album, take a moment to decide whether you can handle the death photos (cough, Mom)
Not so sure who thought of opening this place up to the public and charging the money to see dead people, but it turned out to be quite a good idea, for the place is highly frequented, with long waiting lines every day (except Monday, when the Catacombes are closed to give the dead a bit of peace). I'd say it was worth my while for 4 euro.
The public tunnels are 2km, but there are a lot more that are closed off.
I studied a bit for my political science exam today as well as read a French article for my French exam, which I ended up finishing in under an hour today. It was not hard at all. The essay part was fun; we were supposed to write a letter to a friend, pretending that he/she were coming to study abroad in Paris next semester and offer advice and funny experiences to learn from. Of course, I pretended Diana was coming to Paris, with her zero knowledge of French (she took Spanish in school). I told her that it's ok to make friends with the old ladies who have little dogs, that they're not all mean, and that my neighbor happens to be very sweet and I like her a lot. I also told her to make sure to weigh her produce before going to pay, or else the ladies will tell you to go back! And, not to be surprised if at 3pm there are men drinking beer in the laundry room to pass the time while their clothes wash and dry. Just tell them to turn around so that they don't see your undergarments coming out of the laundry bag and into the machine. On a more serious note, I suggested to make a list of things to do as soon as you get to Paris (as much as you know of Paris, at that point!) and NOT procrastinate on it. I've done a lot, but I haven't finished my list!
I have yet to go to the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre, eat a Laduree macaron (the most famous in Paris), take the last metro line (3bis), walk around the beautiful park Buttes Chaumont, walk on the Champs Elysees, go to Pere Lachaise cemetery and find Oscar Wilde, and go to the Musee de l'histoire et de l'art de judaisme (Museum of Jewish Art and History). I'm not sure I'll be able to manage all of this before next Thursday (when I'm off to the Basque Country), because I still have exams Monday and Tuesday. But, I for sure will go to Buttes Chaumont, to Pere Lachaise, and ride the nearby metro 3bis on Tuesday. I already made plans with Monty and Laura, my French girlfriends from Negocia, for after my last final. Wednesday morning, Daniela and I are going to the Musee d'Orsay, so that'll be good. Maybe I'll go to the Jewish museum afterward. And then the Louvre, Champs Elysees, and Laduree will have to fit themselves in somewhere...
My last suggestion is not to be afraid to speak French, even if you hear your own mistakes. It's the only way to really improve. Ask lots of questions! Hear a weird word? It might be slang or just vocabulary you don't know. Find out what it is and try to use it! Eh ben dis donc!
I'm already getting sad about leaving Paris. I wish I had an extra semester. And I'm going to miss my new friends terribly. At least I have a chance of seeing some in the States, at some point, and my Israeli friends in Israel (or the States...Ran wants to come to Chicago and Miami). Speaking of Miami, I HAVE to make it over there at some point. Everyone's been telling me how amazing it is, and there's loads of Israelis. Hmm...road trip? Now that I'm experienced from Ireland :-) I also want to go on a road trip to Canada...wow, how amazing life truly is. I am very blessed.
Tonight, Daniela, Genia, Sam, and a Romanian friend of Daniela's are all going to a Romanian restaurant near the Eiffel Tower! I'm excited! Daniela will help us pick the most authentic dishes :-)