Thursday, June 24, 2010

Transitioning to my American life

 To cope with travel withdrawal and to share my travel experiences with John, we had a day of extreme Francophilia:

For breakfast, French Toast from French Baguette with French vanilla yogurt and French roast coffee in a French press!!!!

It doesn't get much more French than this.

While driving around Provence I liked to play this game where you try to think of all the foods and things in American English that rely on European country names to describe them:

English muffins (known in England simply as muffins)
French fries (just frites in France)
French toast (known as pain perdu, or lost bread, in French)
Belgian waffles
Dutch oven
Swedish meatballs
Russian salad dressing
German potato salad
Polish sausage
Italian sausage
Italian soda
Spanish tortilla

Can you think of any?
I think France wins for having the most.

Here is John enjoying an aperitif: duty-free Pastis 51 with petit fromages that I smuggled past food-sniffing beagles in customs, plus Gruyere and butter crackers, olives, petit saucissons, and almonds. The only thing that was missing was cornichons...

Close-up on the aperitif

Small cheeses, slightly worse for wear after riding in my backpack, but delicious nonetheless.

The magic of Pastis 51: just add water and it changes color!

For dinner, boudin blanc sausages (also smuggled through customs) with salad and vin rouge from Cote du Rhone (smuggled by Trader Joe's)!!!

Mamie Gateau for dessert!

Here are the special drinks we brought back to share (from left): Cidre from Brittany, La Bastide Saint Dominique, the aforementioned duty-free Pastis 51 and Saint Cosme from our Provencal wine tasting adventures, and finally, chestnut liquor from near Lyon. Quatchi, as always, is such a lush.

I simply cannot resist hauling a backpack full of liquids when I travel.

I never expected to be so taken by French cuisine, but it is super fun to share what I learned and ate. Now back to life as usual, or not so usual because I have never before had a graduate school summer vacation. Next on tap: fieldwork in the Napa River watershed and a road trip to Oregon, Washington, and beyond!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adieu, Paris, adieu!

Quatchi and I prepare for our last big day in Paris!

   View from the hostel balcony

Q.,the Rhino, and me with my hair in my face at the Musee d'Orsay

Quatchi has a funny hat

Oh wait, it's just the Eiffel Tower!

And it is so big

Still there

Musee Quai Branly's gardens make you feel like you're in the countryside

Still there

Covered arcades

I think the French did invent them

Octagonal pool at the Tuileries Garden with Place de la Concorde

The reclined chairs make you feel like you're at the beach

At Luxembourg Gardens, people also enjoy the sunshine

Looks like a much more civilized version of San Francisco's Dolores Park

My last aperitif over a game of world cup

Sunrise over the chimneys on my last morning in Paris

Time to fly home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paris + Summer Solstice = Fête de la Musique

France celebrates summer solstice (June 21) with an annual festival of music, where bands officially and unofficially set up on the streets and music of every genre imaginable plays on every corner. As I walked around the Marais and Bastille neighborhoods, I tried to keep track of the genres that I was hearing, but I lost count around fourteen as I was swept along by the crowds:

Death metal was one of the more surprising genres I encountered at a pizza store

Silly folk music

Laptop DJ in the window

The first of many Rock bands


Québécois crooners with a teenage following

Acoustic Beatles covers

Horns getting ready

More heavy metal

This Indie band sounded really good, but the bar was too packed

Another laptop DJ, setting up

Another rock band, getting ready

Beatles graffiti

I think this is where I lost track...

Another crooner hearthrob

French version of Vampire Weekend

Drunk French people like to eat McDonald's, too

A more official act at Place de la Bastille

Crazy techno with crazy techno dancers!

Another rock band?

Moving towards the Marais, things got a bit more civilized...

Some jazz

Some choir

Some sing-along

Some classical

Some more singing

Outside Place des Vosges, things were still raucus.

Hotel des Invalides

This was the second time I heard, "If you're going to San Francisco..." by Scott McKenzie

Drumming at Centre Pompidou

Always a crowd

Looks good at night too

 The moon at Gare du Nord