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Not dead yet!

Typing from Tours train station, waiting on a train to Chinon. Just had the single best chocolate croissant I've ever had in my life, at a little travel kiosk. So far France has provided some great pastries, an excellent grilled cheese sandwich, mediocre pizza and one rather dreadful omelet. 

I am going to write REI a nice note about the astonishing wicking/anti-microbial properties of their shirts, one of which I wore for approximately two days, including a one hour-flight, four-hour layover, an eight hour flight, an hour train-ride, another hour bus-ride, and several more hours of a death-march around the city waiting for our hotel to be ready and still did not wrinkle or smell like armpits. 

I will buy ten of them when I get home. 

Chartres cathedral is about a thousand years old and looks it. Apparently there is a point in my head at which stuff merely becomes Really Damn Old, because I was not noticeably more wowed by the 4th century crypt in the basement. Yup. That's old, all right. (I don't think I have any real ability to comprehend a thousand years. Anything over about four hundred all occurs simultaneously in my brain. Petroglyphs, Anasazi ruins, Chartres, Romans, Visigoths, Mayans, Erik the Red, Columbus, Pyramids, Beowulf, Caesar...I think on some level I may believe Jesus was stabbed in the side with a Clovis point by Vikings.) 

Not speaking the language is a strange and lonely feeling. I always get anxious in big cities by myself, but this is worse, because of a vague feeling that if I am attacked by a rabid mime, I will still be trying to navigate through "Excuse moi, un mime...uh...uh....je ne....uh...bugger....anglais?" by the time it chews through to a vital organ. (Fear of rabid mimes is not because I'm in France, by the way. I keep an eye out for mimes at all times. They're like ninjas who think they're funny.)

Everyone has been very nice, though, except the waiter with the bad omelet. Even in Paris. I don't know what to make of Paris. I might need a better keyboard to get into that. I can see why people hate it. I can guess why some people love it. The guards at the train station carry AK-47s. They are serious about their trains. 

Things unexpected about traveling---sudden intense affection for anyone who speaks your language. Regrettable condition of pay-toilets, many of which lack seats as I understand them. Smallest elevator on earth. Outrageously good food at travel kiosks. Unexpected cardboard cut-outs of the Pope and the Michelin Man. Didgeridoo player in the park. Large number of carousels. 

Anyway, three days in Chinon, then back to Paris and a hotel, then home. Having fun, got a dozen new birds and hoping to add more (common moorhen chicks are ADORABLE) but will also be glad to get home where I can communicate without hand gestures and plaintive looks. 

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So far France has provided some great pastries, an excellent grilled cheese sandwich, mediocre pizza and one rather dreadful omelet.

Dude. I think you need some better restaurants. Woman does not live by croque monsieur alone.
[Unless your mother is a non-pisciverous vegetarian, in which case, the food god help you.]

...This comment sounds really random, doesn't it?

On a different note, I want the (typically medieval, in some ways) mashup picture showing Vikings stabbing Jesus in the side with a Clovis point.

Gluten sensitive, actually, which is a terrible thing to be in France. The salad greens that have come my way have so far been insanely bitter, and I am now somewhat resigned to gastrointestinal ruin.

The orange juice, though, would make strong men weep.

Perhaps the salad might be more understood if you remember that dandelions were inflicted on North America by the French, in hopes of a recognizable edible salad green.

(I commend them to the attention of any starving collegiate on a ramen-diet. They're actually pretty tasty and nutritious as an addition to such noodles, even if a cordon bleu like Julia Child might have a seizure at the notion.)

wheat free in Paris

It's been a few years since I was last in the city so I can't be certain its still there, but there is a great little vegetarianish restaurant that also does wheat free in Paris.

Can't rebember the name off hand but it's on the right arm of rue rambuteau if you are standing with your back to the Pompidou center.

Quick google and unless there are two veg restaurants on the same street it's called Le Potager du Marais. They do wheat free pasta among other gluten free things and if you want the creme brulee for desert you'd better order it when you order your main course as it sells out fast.


My first trip out of the US was a 3 week sojourn to France (two in the countryside, one in Paris) with a cousin who was at the time a vegan. A vegan. In France. In the early 90s. What the everliving fuck.

Vegan. Oh god. I went to Japan once with a vegetarian and it was terrible, in no small part because none of us spoke more Japanese than, oh, "ohayo," "arigato," and "kawaaaiiiiiiiiiii!" I am never, ever, again traveling with a vegetarian unless he or she is reasonably competent in the local language. I can't imagine how bad it must be with a vegan!!!!!

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