Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday Fuckwit on a Saturday

Hello peeps. Yes, I'm alive but not so well, been floored by the flu for the past few days, distracted by work, tonight's engagement soiree, making cup cakes and  well . . other things. . you know how it goes.  

Not so much a fuckwit unless he's completely insane and the jury may be out on that one but I've been discussing conspiracy theories with a friend and this one caught my eye:

Independent filmmaker George Clarke claims to have found images of a time traveler caught on film on a DVD version of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film "The Circus." In the opening moments of a video on the finding, Clarke said that the scene, in bonus footage included on the DVD, has been
"screened this to about 100 people at a film festival I run here in Belfast, and nobody could give me an explanation."

We would have to say, they were not trying very hard. Clarke added, "Right now the only conclusion I can come to, which sounds absolutely ridiculous I'm sure to some people, but it's a time traveler."

An obvious explanation is a hearing aid. Hearing aids were introduced around that time. Perhaps it was a walkie-talkie. Or perhaps the person was just talking to herself.

Additionally, even without explaining the issue, how could anyone use a cell phone in the 1920s? There were no cell phone towers back then. And if there were, the roaming charges would have been brutal!

Of course, it's possible it is a time traveler caught on film: the person could have come from so far in the future that they don't need cell phone towers. Or perhaps it was an alien talking back to her mothership on a communicator (meaning this could be video evidence of a UFO back in the '20s!).
At any rate, take a look at his video, and decide for yourself.

Nah, he's a nutter . . . it's a guy with an hearing amplifier!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arty Farty

On our first day, we arrived at 6am and couldn't access our apartment until 5pm. This after a 22 hour flight meant that we had to fill in a day, not stop long enough to fall asleep and entertain ourselves until we could muster the strength to carry our sorry tired arses up 100 winding spiral steps to our fifth floor apartment. 

We did this by gulping tiny cups of addictive and delicious espresso, eating croissants and wondering around town to check out the lay of the land.  We walked across to Notre Dame of course, through the backstreets and emerged on a bridge which we crossed and into a courtyard of a rather impressive building before realising that the glympse of a glass pyramid through an arched entrance meant we had wondered into the courtyard of the Louvre. 

Upon reflection, we were idiots, the building is massive, how could we not have known what it was. Characteristically French with it's gorgeous towers, wide open spaces and that Pyramid. I know the French didn't like it but you know exactly where you are when it emerges. 

We didn't go in first day of course but did eventually walk its hallowed corridors and thousands of steps. We barely touched the surface and after a while it became exhausting. I'm sorry I couldn't find the sarcophagus with the 10 Muses on it but Nike was stupendous in her headless glory and greeted us atop the first flight of stairs. The Mona Lisa is, well the Mona Lisa and it's hard not to become rather bored with the size of the collection so here's a few little known pieces that simply took my breath away:

 The building itself is a work of art

Fabulous sculptures rescued from Paris Parks

Very Frenchy, very chic

 Napoleon's Apartments, opulent to the core 

Even the escalator are impressive but few and far between

Walls and floors go unnoticed but are breathtaking

Now that's a welcome at a very ostentatious door

Don't forget to look UP!

Corridors of masterpieces, hard to imagine that they become monotonous. At this point I'm feeling rather embarrassed about my squeaky Dunlop Volleys.

Nike is huge and splendid and pathetic. I loved this thing so much

Wheres Langdon?

Ancient and moving, each monk is unique

Almost too big to photograph, it took my breath away

And the highlight. Tiny sparrows fed from our hands in the park outside, just lovely.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gypsies Tramps and Thieves and a Couple of Drunks in Bairritz

A little more of 'hidden' Paris. Well perhaps not so hidden but one thing that we don't see much of here are hawkers, beggers, aggressive street vendors. In Paris they're everywhere from addicts on trains with their rote speil begging to feed their kids or their addiction to ferals with packs of dogs protecting their few belongings while they beg.  Of course there's the street life from prostitutes and peep shows to drug dealers and gypsies, all out for something. It's a colourful world on the streets for 'one Euro, one, Euro, one Euro" or simply kneeling on the sidewalk hoping someone will fill your cup.

Artists in Montmarte accost the tourists for portraits outside Sacre Coer, they're all good, very good but can be a little intimidating if you're not interested. This one however just tended his easel in the hope of a sale.

Hawkers are everywhere plying their mini Eiffel Towers, silk scarves, bottles of water, they're persistent and their product cheap but illegal. This is one of tens constantly haranguing the queues at the Eiffel Tower. Two days later they were seen off during a bomb scare. I'm sure they're back!

A slightly more wholesome crew playing Ah Ha's "Take On Me" in St Germaine. The crowd were there for the kid but I'm not sure he was actually playing. Still, cute overload and they sounded great.

The drug dealer and his posse on the corner of Rue St Denis, I watched many a trade here and he became the subject of a recent piece of fiction.

Addicts. This one sitting at the Arc de Triomphe still with his cone and lighter in hand having a conversation with an army of invisibles while others seem to find him invisible.

Gypsies at the Eiffel Tower, approach and ask if you speak English. If you do, they unravel their piece of white paper explaining why they need your money.  Say you don't and they race off with a devout purpose to fleece someone who does, usually Americans.

The Champs Elysees is indeed a busy street, far to busy to notice this woman who remained bent and wooden for the 2 hours we were there and probably many more after we'd long since left. It's heartbreaking and I have no idea why they beg.

Another street 'artist' cutting sillhouettes near the Place du Concorde

He might be down and out but he clearly feeds these guys regularly, they saw him coming a mile away.

On the street where we lived. New Sex Centre because old sex is so last Tuesday.

Looks like a bum but no. That's just Werner my Biarritz drinking buddy,  drunk falling off a wall.  Clare had to hold my hand home . . what a night.  Er, no the dog was sober.

Sorry for the infrequency of visiting, my internet has decided to be unavailable until at least 9:30 at night. New provider coming on board this weekend so hopefully things will be a little more stable (famous last words!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Water Features

Ahh after a Sunday arvo Apero with Damian and one of the most gorgeous spring days ever, not much to boast about other than a collection of water features from our travel. I'm fond of fountains, really, there were more but they're in some French landfill with my camera.  It's a little strange living in a harbour city realising that water plays a part in even some of the most landlocked places but, it certainly does. Perhaps we're water babies but anything with a harbour view, a fountain or a glimpse of d'leau makes us swoon:

Cemetary above Nice . . why to the dead have such a good view?

Cranky Florentine or Billy Connolly?

 Twilight Rowing in Florence

Il Porcellino,  rub his watery snout and you vow to return to Florence

Ponte Vecchio in Florence where the Gold Merchants suck in the Americans . . seriously

 The Commissary in Paris . . Love the Seine

Saturday in Paris . . Jardins du Luxembourg

Wild horses . . Luxemburg gardens
 Place du Concord

Fountain in the Louvre which we discovered before we knew what the building was . .

Gratuitous Surfer shot . . . .
Gratuitous surfers at Cape Ferret . . . sorry Davide and Brad but you are pretty things . . .

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday Fuckwit on a Saturday

Ello, ello . . Friday Fuckwit's back with a bit of light hearted fun this week since I'm still in a holiday mood and on cloud nine:

A drunken man who infuriated his neighbours by bleating like a sheep and doing other animal impressions at the dead of night ended up in jail after resisting arrest, German police said.
The 49-year-old offered his sleeping neighbours a series of performances, mainly sheep impressions, some lasting as long as 20 minutes, about 10:45 pm (local) on Saturday, police in the Bavarian town of Coburg said.
When police tried to get him to stop, the man became "unreasonable and aggressive", reportedly because he wanted to continue his baa-ing.
Officers saw no choice but to lock him up for the night.
He had an extremely high blood-alcohol content, authorities said, which, added to charges for disturbing the peace, should lead to a "beastly hangover", police said in their tongue-in-cheek statement

Who'd have thought, Germans with a sense of humour, what will they think of next! Have a great weekend folks.  Happy birthday to Rambling Rural Rector and Not for the Feinthearted, have a lovely day my favourite Revs Craig and Ian.

I'm relaxing, it's my birthday too and Adam's laid turf, Clare's cleaned the house so little else to do but take it easy and chillax and sort through 516 Paris photos, write a little and chat a lot and chat to my favourite crush.


Hippo Birdie Two Ewes

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Transportation and Ambulation a la Francais

Ok at risk of boring you batty, another look at the Northen continent. This time transport.

Kind of obvious that you have to catch two planes over 25 hours to actually get there. We weren't impressed with QANTAS but Air France were pretty awesome, nice food, much more leg room and less turbulence.

Traffic seems sort of directionless in Paris. I'm sure there's rhyme and reason but buggered if I noticed it.

How there was no collision here I will never know. I was just having coffee watching this

Clearly everyone in France and Italy has a love affair with their scooters. We've come a long way from the daggy vespar tho darlings and these scooters are sophisticated, muted, well maintained and well equipped. I know there are no pedals but really, driving along the Champs Elysees with your handbag between your knees and wearing your high heels on a scooter? Risque to say the least.

Of course Paris is the only place where the 'smart car' is cool and generally most vehicles are very tiny by comparison with US vehicles and a lot smaller than many in Australia. Largely due to the problem parking.There are underground parking spaces but the Parissiennes seem to prefer the Austin Powers park where they constantly bump forward and backwards in an attempt to fit into a space a little bigger than pinkie width

We had to cross this street every day. No such thing as respect for pedestrians in France.

Anyone who tackles this roundabout has my dying admiration.

One of the more civilised ways to travel is via barge although most we saw were either tethered as restaurants or permanent dwellings to the side of the Seine or packed with tourists enjoying the many Bateaux Bus tours up and down that most lovely of rivers.

Basketballers must remain seated

We did take a night tour which at first sounded tacky but we were so glad we did. Each bank is illuminated and since we travelled on a Saturday night the punters were out in force  cheering, playing, drinking, dancing and mooning the tourists. And we got to see the Eiffel Tower all sparkly and shiny. Oooh, I love shiny things. Saving that one for the 'monument' post.

Saturday night Revellers on Pont du Neuf Steps  this well behaved bunch did not moon us

Of course getting around is easy in this flat and sweeping city and the swapsy bikes make it a snack. You can pick them up and drop off anywhere. Clare was game but trust me, on a bike, in that traffic? You have to be joking!

Of course our favourite and most frequent form of travel was the Metro. Always on time, always the base of the great unwashed, pickpockets and beggars, addicts and commuters. Sometimes packed, sometimes empty but without a doubt the most convenient and cheapest way to get from point A to point B. Believe me from someone who comes from a city with a pathetic public transport network, Paris is the Bomb for public transport.

Although I think the preferred method of transport on the Champs Elysees was actually via horseback. Much easier to catch the imitation bag sellers on the street although the sight of poo on that illustrious pavement was a little disconcerting. Not quite as disconcerting as the roller blade cops who whizzed past before I could whip out my camera. Now that my friends is very French.

Of course when one heads out to the country there are even more options in regional cities such as light rail and trams in Bordeaux.

And who could forget the awesomeness of the TGV which traverses the country in several directions.Although be careful dear travellers, on the many occasions when there are rail strikes the TGV does not run more than once a day and the train is so overbooked that you have to sit in the bike car for three hours. The upside, you can always go along to the buffet car and be entertained by a rather nice chill three piece, very nice way to travel. Or look out of the window and see parts of France that many just fly over.

 Sexy man. . .nice little Trio on the Paris to Bordeaux TGV

Chateau through the window of a train

Of course when travelling with surfers, the accommodation is a little less salubrious but fortunately a convoy of them meant that we rarely had to travel 'in the back'. These small vans are extremely popular with the surf culture as well as tradesmen and city dwellers. There's a bed in the back and all you need for a life on the road.

 Then the best way to get around such an amazing flat city is just put on your walkingshoes and get amongst it. I feel sorry for the bus crowd who see little more than the highlights and don't enjoy the street life that makes Paris and so many other cities so very, very exciting.

Couldn't wait to show you shiny stuff, we love shiny stuff. No quite transport but it had a lift: