Monday, February 24, 2003

We in um big smoke

Paris was great, and I'll tell you all about it in good time. To set the scene, let me tell you how me and Emma 'do' cities.

Rather than plan our sightseeing, soullessly ticking off from a list of must-sees we tend to wander the streets aiming for points of interest but en route taking in the quirky, interesting bits the guidebooks don't tell you about. We have a neat division of labour in order to do this. I do the days and Emma does the nights.

As peachy as this sounds, it is not without it's drawbacks. For one, my day plans, dubbed "Scott Walking Tours" - hilarious if my name was something like Scott Walkinshaw and not Justin Ruffles - tend to be rather badly paced. The first day is usually an epic, in New York we did nine different sights on day one, finishing with a walk from Time Square to Greenwich Village down Broadway - a very long way indeed. Mind you we did pass a man in immaculate tennis whites saying to nobody in particular that he was going to get "Some Jewboy Lawyer and sue the ass off you". I'm rather proud of my walking tours, but they don't half give you sore feet.

When we go out to eat, Emma fails to factor in the need to eat as part of the excursion. To her as long as we find a restaurant before it closes we're successful. In Boston we walked past about 30 perfectly good restaurants and, as everything began to close up, we ended up having to go to one which served up a tennis ball sized meatball on spaghetti which was frozen in the middle. Emma's biggest problem though is her disregard for the long established benefits of using a map. She has got better, now she is charmingly useless at map reading, and it's all a bit of a laugh. She was "Fucking useless" in Scotland a few year's ago when we drove from Edinburgh to the west coast after a night at the Festival. Whilst she slept I drove for an hour on the motorway, eventually I indicated to turn off at the designated junction. Suddenly she woke up and shouted "NOT HERE", at which point I swerved back onto the motorway and had to drive a further twenty miles, including over a toll bridge before we were able to turn round.

On our first night in Paris, having arrived a mere 90 minutes earlier, we set off for something to eat. We passed numerous restaurants (plumping for one two minutes from the hotel in the end), more importantly, Emma didn't think it was necessary to bring a map of this city neither of us had previously visited with us. After the meal we used Emma's bat like radar to find our way back, so we wandered the streets lost for hours though we were always about a minute from the hotel.

It came to a head on Sunday, we had headed south to rue de Mouffetard a boho enclave full of students and second hand bookshops. After that it was time to head home, and so we needed to head for Gare du Nord. With Emma's legendary sense of direction she suggested we walked back to give us some time to muse over what a good weekend it had been. I think this may illustrate her poor sense of direction, here's the route we'd have had to taken...

North up rue Mouffetard, right onto rue Ortolan, left onto Rue Monge, to St Julien le Pauvre, over the Seine and in front of Notre Dame, left onto Rue De Cloutre Notre Dame, right onto rue de la cite, over porte notre dame, left onto Quai De La Megisserie, right onto rue du pont neuf, right onto rue berger, left onto Boulevard De Sebastopol, left onto rue Reaumur, right onto rue montoguiel, north onto rue Poissonere, north onto rue Du Faubourg Poissonierre, right onto Rue La Fayette, and finally left onto rue de dunkerque.

We're great wanderers, but we're not that great. I illustrated the epic journey on the map using my finger to point the way, singing the theme to bod. We then had to find a toilet, because Emma nearly wet herself laughing.


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