Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hello there and Welcome Back

And we are back!! Thanks to everyone for sending the kind emails while we've been away. It was a great trip, but I've been in massive movie withdrawal. Here are some things I noticed and thoughts on our trip to Paris and London.

- Paris cinema's look amazing, like the classic American cinema's of bygone days. Usher's in bowties, massive displays and posters of films. Also, Paris gets a great number of Asian cinema, much more than we get here in the States. Independent films also play right along with the top mainstream films- I'm drooling with jealousy. On the flip side, theaters in London appear to be exactly the same as multiplex's here- big, faceless, soulless, mainstream. Thumbs up to that!!

- Paris is even more beautiful than I remember.

- The Forbidden Planet comicbook store in London is huge. I'm jealous and in awe of it.

- Evidently Terminator Salvation has taken over Europe, or at least Paris and London. Every street corner, every train station was taken over by Terminator Salvation posters. The mind is inundated with blinking red metallic eyes. I don't know how much marketing of films cost in Europe but it must be much less than here in the States because it was like Terminator owned Europe.

- Also, posters in Paris and London are electronic scrolls. Mostly every corner (at least in Paris) has a huge box with screens that rotate movie posters. Personally I found this brilliant. It may cost more than hiring some schlub to glue posters on every construction site or wall like here in NY, but it looks a lot nicer and frankly I found it more effective. Same thing in the Paris train stations, all posters are framed and hanging on nearly every wall. Beautiful.

- Soda costs roughly 6 Euro's at restaurants, roughly 10 dollars in the conversion rate for an 85 cent can of soda. Bottled water costs 5 Euro's, roughly 8.50 for a 1 dollar bottle. It's insane!! That's why everyone drinks in Paris because wine is like 2 dollars a glass. When its cheaper to drink alcohol than actual water you know somethings up. London prices were the same as NY except since the Pound is so strong, a iced coffee goes from 3.03 to 6 bucks!

- Fast food in Europe is different. The McDonalds in Paris actually have built in cafes, like a regular Parisian cafe where people order coffee. Also, there is outdoor seating where McDonalds waiters take food out to your tables- same thing with Italy. I watched all this and wondered, "why are you Parisians eating our unhealthy crap?" The KFC in London serves a very different type of fried chicken. It's only lightly battered, and they have no designation of breast, thigh, drumstick or wing. It's just small pieces of what I think are breasts. Still, they tasted good following Penny's disgust that I was genuinely interested in what KFC tasted like in London.

- Europeans don't believe in ice coffee... period. The only place to get an ice coffee are the many Starbucks surrounding the area's. Why do they only like drinking hot coffee during the summer? When Penny and I went to Paris 5 years ago there was one Starbucks in the whole of the area... now I counted at least 20. Like NY, London also has a Starbucks on every corner.

- Versailles, well, you haven't lived until you've been to Versailles.

- London is like Paris, they don't believe in AC, which simply blows my mind. Even worse with Parisians since they don't believe in showering daily.

- Paris has prostitutes, like the one's I saw soliciting by the Arc de Triumph. I wonder if it's legal there, and unlike the prostitutes that like to solicit by the clubs near my house, the one's I saw in Paris were extremely hot... and French!

- The Parisian red light district where Moulin Rouge is located reminded me a lot of Time Square pre-Giuliani clean up- dirty, shady and with a lot of pimps and sex shops. Seriously its scary as hell at night.

- London is full of amazing and beautiful department store's that sell literally everything and everyone of them has an HMV in it, except for Harrods.

- The Louvre is still as beautiful as ever.

- Oscar Wilde's tomb does indeed have a lot of lipstick marks on it... now +1.

- The state run museums in London are free, the actual exhibits any one wants to see are not, costing nearly 20 bucks a person. It's like a phone sex line, the first minute is free and than 10 bucks a minute thereafter.

- They have a f'n Rosetta Stone at the British Museum!! Yes I'm a geek.

- Food in Paris is still amazing, food in London is just like you heard- pretty damn terrible, although the fish and chips are great and the Indian and Japanese food superb. But how can you respect a food culture that predominantly eats at pubs and considers meat pies and bad teeth acceptable.

- Early morning in Hyde Park is amazing.

- We have no deal with ducks and pigeons in London (that's from a popular Seinfeld episode where George runs over a pigeon and screams "we had a deal" denoting that the pigeon should have flown away when he got close). Ducks and Pigeons in London walk right up to your feet and look at you. It's nuts!!

- Waiting for Godot starring Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen was everything I dreamed of and more.

- And finally the greatest thing I found out on our trip to Paris and London, the actual Travel Book Shop in the Notting Hill movie (one I unabashedly love) exists!!

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