Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Ma Vie à Paris

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I have realised that I haven’t written about life à Paris for quite some time. My focus has shifted to my experiments in the world of linoleum and paper and I haven’t kept you up to date with the latest and greatest happenings in Gay Paris. Times, they may be a’changin’, but I shall now redeem myself with a longwinded discussion on the ins and outs of the French capital. Vous êtes prêts? On y va!

Weather

Allow me to start with what everyone is talking about – the fact that it is now June, and therefore apparently summer, yet I am wearing pants, a long-sleeved shirt AND a cardigan. Today the sky is covered in varying degrees of grey cloud and the forecast for this afternoon is rain, rain, rain. This is seriously going to disrupt my friends’ and my plans of having a picnic by the canal. Sure, the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm these days, but that’s difficult to enjoy when you can’t actually see the sun anyway. We had a week or so of glorious sunshine and last Saturday I got sunburnt. The following day I was wearing jeans and a jumper. Something is wrong here.

Politics

France has elected its new President, Monsieur Hollande, and he seems to be fitting in just fine. I haven’t really heard much about him, nor have there been any scandals involving him and a younger woman (yet). So really, he’s quite boring and we can tell this just by looking at him. He looks like a maths teacher (or, as I have been informed by my American friends, a MATH teacher). Not that I have anything against maths teachers – they just make for fairly limp Presidents. Maybe Sarkozy will give him some hot tips on how to be a slime-ball.

In the meantime, France is gearing up for the NEXT election where they vote for their local representatives. I really don’t understand how this works because it seems candidates can stick their hand up to be a representative in any area of France that they want. I’m sure there are some rules, but it is probably just as long as you have a friend who lives in that area or you went camping there once then you can be a candidate. This has resulted in the extreme-left candidate from the Presidential election (Melanchon) challenging the extreme-right candidate (Le Pen) in an area in the north-east of France. This is risky business and could result in Melanchon not being elected which would be a DISASTER because really he’s the only candidate with any sort of human sentiment. It would also mean that Le Pen gets in and every foreigner in France will pack their bags in anticipation of their departure. Anyway, we shall see. I believe the first vote is this weekend, with the second round the following week. Exciting times.

Fashion

The latest in summer fashions are in the stores and despite not having been shopping for at least three months, I can report that the style for this season is beige, beige, beige with FLURO PINK or FLURO BLUE or FLURO ORANGE. It is extraordinarily awful. The BoBos have been out in force when the sun does peak its head out from behind the clouds and big, thick-rimmed glasses are still a must.

Food

Weird and disgusting as this may sound, the latest craze in the French food world is… American hotdogs and hamburgers. WHY?? I really don’t know. Actually, I do. While BoBos are proud of their native country and French ways, they also crave the style of New York and therefore a van driving around the city selling over priced hamburgers (on gross sweet ‘hamburger’ buns I might add) is considered to be “trés Brooklyn”. The hamburgers I can manage, but the other day I noticed a new restaurant on Rue du Faubourg St Denis that is a “New Yorkaise” style hot dog restaurant where you can buy a “real American” hot dog for 4 Euros. They even were proud of the fact that you could add fake “mustard” in your sausage in a bun. Needless to say, I haven’t tried these hot dogs and never plan to. I’m happy to stick to good traditional French food that is full of fat and cheese and cream and everything that is delicious and artery-clogging.

Life aux Récollets

Life in the convent is plodding along nicely. The next few weeks will see the departure of some residents who have become good friends. It is a hard aspect of living here – I get to meet so many great people but often they will leave after a short period of time. It is nice to know that I will have people to go and visit in Italy, the US, Canada, Poland, South Korea, Germany, Greece… But still. It would be nicer if they would just stay here.

My electricity still turns off at least once a day and the internet continues to be painfully slow. There hasn’t been much action from the ghost downstairs but I think he/she might come out when summer finally arrives. Becky and my vegie garden is growing like crazy and we will have tomatoes before we know it. We just need to build an anti-rabbit/bird/mouse/snail/monster contraption to save our plants. Something is very, very hungry and likes eating our green-leafed plants. Very annoying.

So I think that is about it. Most of you will have heard or worked out through amazing sleuth-work that I am now a single lady living in Paris. This has both its ups and downs as emotions are still quite raw and so any form of romantic liaison between people on the street can result in floods of tears. This is problem considering Paris is the city of love and sitting on every second bench or lying under every other tree are gross, soppy, lovey-dovey couples kissing and cuddling and doing all sorts of French things. I have considered going over and asking them to stop but I have refrained. Anyway, life is all about changes and growing and discovering new things, new places and new people and that is my plan. I would just like to sun to come out so that I can wear a skirt. I’m bored of pants.

Nuts in New York

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

So I went to New York. WOW. What a place. I had been there once before when I was travelling on my own in 2007. Being there with someone else is a much better experience as it makes going out at night easier, plus it is such an insane place that you need to have someone around to say “WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT?!” to.

My favourite day in New York was my birthday (surprise, surprise.) I woke up to a beautiful, sunny day and the sounds of taxi horns and general yelling on the street. Ahh… bliss. I had decided I would have my birthday morning tea at Baby Cakes (you can’t not eat cake on your birthday morning. It would just be wrong.) Baby Cakes is home to handmade cupcakes that are either gluten free or made with spelt flour. I had a chocolate spelt cupcake which started my realisation that I don’t actually like cupcakes. They are generally too dry and flavourless and covered in a huge lump of over-sweetened icing. My Baby Cakes cupcake was the best cupcake I ate in New York as it wasn’t too sweet (they don’t use sugar in their cooking) and it was a nice little bakery. I don’t think I’d have another one in a rush.

BabyCake Cupcake

Tom put a candle in my cupcake!

Post-cake we needed to go for a walk so I took us on the Flight of the Conchords walking tour which goes past all of the main sites of Bret and Jermaine’s world. It was awesome seeing all of the places in the tv show – the highlight was the New Zealand embassy building. I didn’t see Murray.

Flight of the Conchords

Bret and Jermaine live here!

Flight of the Conchords New Zealand Embassy

It's the New Zealand Embassy!

We had lunch at a nice little café near where we were staying before heading to MoMA – my favourite art gallery in the world. Big call. But so far it’s true. It is so wonderful to be surrounded by amazing art works from such great artists. I think I saw a famous actor but I’m not sure who she is. But still. Fame.

MoMA

Oh MoMA, I love you.

The afternoon involved a bit of shopping (for Tom) and then drinks and dinner. Tom took me to a great restaurant called Little Giant where we ate delicious food. See?

Trout

A whole baked trout

ice cream

Bananas with salted butter caramel ice cream for dessert

So that was my birthday. It was a great day. Now I am going to play table tennis. I’ll write more later.

What’s Been Happening?

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Jess knitting

I've been busy knitting.

Grave apologies, friends. I know I have been terrible with my updates but I have been a little bit busy. When one is faced with the conundrum of sitting at home and writing, or finding new shops and art galleries in New York, one generally chooses the latter option. Of course I will now sit at home in Paris and tell you all about my latest adventures except I realise I have seen too much and done too many things. There is so much to tell you. So Step One involves you looking at my photographs that I have finally finished uploading on my Flickr site. Step Two involves me choosing specific things to tell you about, highlights of my past three or so weeks. So if we’re all willing to play our part we will catch up and be reunited in all that has happened in the World of Jess. Exciting times.

What is less exciting is that this morning I finally sat down and researched visas for next year and what I need to do to avoid being sent home. The results weren’t good. Apparently I can only be in the “Schengen Zone” (an invisible, make-believe area of land that was invented by nincompoops just to upset me) for 90 days every six months. That is RID-IC-U-LOUS. Sooo the idea of country hopping has been crossed off the list. I can’t renew my visa, so that isn’t an option. Problem is that I also don’t want to leave France. So we are faced with a bit of a problem. Looks like I might be going home at the end of January as the stupid French government wants me to and then I will fly to Sydney to get myself a “Long Stay Visa”. It is all just a ridiculously expensive way for them to give me another piece of paper. Problem is that I don’t really know who to talk to in France to ask questions like “Do I really need to leave France?” and “Can’t you just give me the piece of paper here?”. If anyone knows, please tell me.

Anyway, go and look at my photos and I’ll start writing things. See you soon.

Jess and Yannick

I've been busy hanging out with hippy ex-tennis players who now sing

Mackerel in Maine

Monday, September 12th, 2011

A very quick post just to inform you of my brilliant fishing skills. We are currently in Georgetown, Maine, visiting my second cousin and her family. The past few days have involved a fair amount of fishing as this area of the world is fishing heaven. Tom is beside himself. However, today while out on the boat we fished for mackerel and before starting Tom and I declared it was a competition to see who could catch the most (it started off as the biggest but all the fish were about the same size so it turned into quantity over quality.) Final score? Tom: Two. Marijke (my second cousin): Two. Me: Eight.

In other news, we eventually made it to the airport in New York to catch our flight (Tom got stuck in a water-clogged underground for a while) which was then delayed and then cancelled for a second time as we were sitting on the plane being told the safety instructions. The crew had clocked off the number of hours they’re allowed to do and decided to tell us when we were already on the plane. We were going to have to wait until the next day to fly but then they decided that another crew flying in on another plane could take us so we had to get off the plane, wait for the new crew to prepare the plane (again), get back on, be re-told the safety instructions and then finally it took off. We were supposed to leave New York on our original flight at 3.30pm. We actually left at midnight. We weren’t very impressed. Tomorrow we are placing a lot of hope and trust into Delta once again to deliver us back to New York in time for us to transfer airports and then fly to Paris. If they fail I will be REALLY REALLY MAD.

So hopefully next time you hear from me I will be very sleepy but in Paris, waiting for my brother to arrive.

Stuck in the Big Apple

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I’m glad I wasn’t in New York when Hurricane Irene hit – this city must have completely shut down. I am supposed to be thousands of metres into the air at the moment, flying towards Portland, Maine. Instead I am still in New York, I am still in my apartment and it is raining. I received an email from Delta this morning, about 30 minutes before we were about to head out the door and go to the airport, to tell me that our flight had been cancelled. We had been rescheduled onto the later flight at 9.45pm. We called Delta to ask why exactly it had been cancelled and they said it was due to the weather. We looked out the window…

Yes, it has been raining all day but it has just been a constant drizzle with no threatening qualities apart from making my pants and shoes wet. I could have quite easily flown a plane in this weather. No other airlines have cancelled their flights – just delayed. Why we had to wait an extra 7 hours until we could leave, I’m not sure. I am suspecting an undersold flight. Not happy. This means we’re getting into Portland after 11pm and hence missing a dinner organised for us by my family who we are visiting. I don’t know if I can claim “personal disappointment” on my travel insurance but Delta owes me a family gathering.

I am now just hoping that our next flight leaves on time. I already feel bad enough that Marijke and Bob (my mum’s cousin and her husband) are driving to Portland to pick us up and now they’ll be doing so late at night. Curses to you, Delta! In addition to all of this, they’re probably going to charge us excess luggage because we decided to only bring one suitcase and it is going to be over their 23kg weight limit by about 2kg. There will be words, if it comes to that. And they won’t be nice words.

P.S. New York was AWESOME! Check out some of my photos here.

City Hopping

Monday, August 29th, 2011

A monumental fact has just dawned on me that I probably should have realised earlier but it wasn’t until I sat still and thought about it for long enough that it all hit me in the face. I shall announce it in point form.

  1. Yesterday I was in London.
  2. Today I am in Paris.
  3. Tomorrow I will be in New York.
That’s three huge, giant, overwhelming, heaving, crazy cities in three days. Awesome.
P.S. It’s my birthday in three days.

More Mud

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

It is currently 12.15am on Sunday 28 August and I have two woes.

Woe #1 – Underworld Concert

The main reason why Tom and I came to London was to go to the South West Four festival to see one of my favourite electronic groups, Underworld, play. I love seeing them live and have on previous occasions flown to other cities within Australia to see their concerts. So it wasn’t a completely out of the ordinary decision to buy a ticket to a concert in London seeing as it is just a 2.5 hour train ride away. I now wish I had saved my money.

The concert was out in Clapham, an area of London recently targeted during the riots. I wish they had locked up a few more people because I’m fairly certain half of the people at the concert would have been on the streets throwing bottles through windows last week. It was an interesting bunch of people – I always feel out of place at electronic music festivals as I stand in my fully-dressed attire waiting patiently for a certain dj/band to get on stage as drunken 18 year olds flirt, dance and throw themselves around provocatively nearby. I hate Australian crowds, but this was worse. EVERYONE was drunk. Usually it is only about 80% of the crowd – this was 99.9999999% with Tom and I being that last remaining percentage. Not only that, but at least six times during the four-hour period that we were at the concert I had guys with large wads of cash walk past asking the crowd if they’d like ecstasy, cocaine or marijuana. And there were a few ‘Yes, please’s.

Normally I would have just stood to the side and tried my best to ignore the idiots around me but it was a little difficult to move as every step you took resulted in you sinking into more mud. It had been raining for the past week or so in London and if there is one thing that rain, land and lots of people equal, it is mud. It was as if Tom and I had returned to the North Sea and were attempting to mudwalk with a bunch of intoxicated losers. It was awful. I had had prior thoughts of “Maybe I should buy some cheap shoes to wear in case it is muddy” but decided against it. When I arrived and saw what was in store I bid farewell to my Campers and plunged straight in. At least I am now a seasoned mud-walker and I didn’t fall flat on my arse. I did get a bit girly about the fact that my perfectly wonderful shoes were getting covered in mud. So when we were finally in front of the main stage, we picked a standing spot and stood there. The less we moved, the harder the mud beneath our feet.

When we arrived John Digweed, one of my brother’s favourite DJs was mixing it up on the stage and it was good. It was very good. But unfortunately he finished and was replaced with a guy by the name of Laidback Luke. Lazy Luke would be more appropriate – all he did was slop together a bunch of random songs with popular tunes/lyrics/choruses in order to make the audience say “YAY! I like this song!” and therefore make him look good. I felt like an old-woman-mother-figure standing with a frown on my face, not understanding the music of the youth of today. But finally he finished and Underworld came on stage.

Their set was short. And quiet. And there was no encore. And the crowd weren’t supportive and hardly cheered at all and were too busy smoking (there was a stall selling cigarettes); drinking; taking drugs; looking hideous with their ridiculously short shorts, bad hair cuts and general poor dress sense; and being obnoxious. Basically, it was no where near as good as when I saw them in Perth – now that is saying something. I would even rate seeing them at Bondi Beach on New Years Eve with evil drunk Australians as a more enjoyable experience than tonight. Such a shame because I had such high expectations. I don’t blame Underworld at all because they did their best and their music was awesome. But I just couldn’t hear it and was too busy trying to stop a stupid girl next to me from standing on my feet.

We did have delicious indian food for dinner though so I guess that’s a positive.

Woe # 2 – More Rain

We are supposed to be catching a flight to New York on Tuesday afternoon and there appears to be a bit of weather about on that side of the world (aka. a hurricane.) That’s a tad worrying as I don’t really want my flight to be cancelled or delayed as I had planned on being there for my birthday. At the same time, I also don’t want it to rain there because it has rained enough here in London. So hopefully that will all blow over (get it? Ha.)

Bed time.

How Could I Forget?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Those who know me well will understand the complete and utter absurdity of what I am about to tell you. Believe it or not, I have forgotten to count down to my birthday. Most years I would have assembled a count down calendar with the days, hours, and seconds until the big day. Not this year. I’m not sure why – perhaps it is the water, perhaps it is the polluted Parisian air, perhaps it is because I have too many other things to look forward to – but my birthday has slipped to the side relatively unnoticed. However…

2 weeks until my birthday!

Yesterday I received two packages in the mail from my parents and brother and they were full of presents! As I still have two weeks to go I wasn’t allowed to open them, but I will also be in New York for my birthday which means presents will need to be packed into my suit case to be opened on my birthday morning. One of the presents was particularly weighty, so via skype I opened my present with my family. It was…

Brown rice

Brown Rice!

I was excited! Finding brown rice in Paris is like looking for pork in a vegetarian restaurant. So it was the perfect birthday present, although I am glad I didn’t have to cart it to New York. So now my excitement for my birthday is increasing and I am needing to find a nice place to go for dinner in New York. Any suggestions are more than welcome. In the mean time, I am having enough difficulty finding a restaurant that is open on a Monday during August in Paris for Tom’s birthday. He is getting old (yes, old.) this Monday. I have spent the last three or so weeks hunting for the perfect restaurant to take him to and I am failing miserably. Everything is closed or I don’t know if it is going to be nice. It’s impossible.

Presents and skype

Presents, Skype and Magyver

New York, I’m Not So Sure It’s Going To Work…

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Last night I went and saw New York, I Love You at the Luna cinemas. I had my new Luna Privilege Card to use which was very exciting because no one likes paying full price for films! And I’m very glad I got a discount for this film because it was very disappointing. I had seen previews for it when I had gone to watch some other movies and I had built up my expectations about how brilliant it was going to be. I had imagined a New York-ian version of Love Actually (one of the only decent romantic comedies in existence) and how wrong I was. I read a review of the film on Six Thousand which I should have actually listened to.

New York, I Love You

The poster is ok... movie not so great.

Basically the film is a collaborative work from ten directors who each capture an aspect of “Love in New York” in 8 minutes. These are all then interwoven into one film where characters cross paths, sometimes directly, sometimes simply through passing each other in the street. The stories include a funny old couple who yell and scream at each other yet ultimately can’t live apart; two teenagers on their Prom night; a young guy and an older woman who meet in at a bar and who have a night of forbidden fun; and a random story of a retired songstress who goes to a hotel to commit suicide. The short films themselves all have something interesting about them (except for the strangest tale of a jewish woman who is about to get married but is in love with a Muslim man. It’s just plain awful.) but they are then ‘tied together’ by a poorly acted film maker who is apparently walking around New York and ‘capturing’ these moments on film. As Mel Campbell on Six Thousand says, “The most pretentious storyline is the one meant to cement everything together. An awful video artist (Emilie Ohana) endlessly films people because, y’know, we’re all, like, human, and shit. I think we’re meant to take that warm, fuzzy notion out of the cinema. You might. I didn’t.” Neither did I.

I’m disappointed it wasn’t better. The concept was an interesting one and it could have been exceptionally good. But the problem lies when you try and join together a range of films made by different people and some are good and some are bad. The bad films just look terrible, and the good films lose all credit because you’re too focused on complaining about the bad bits. Instead, I recommend seeing How To Tame Your Dragon which I refused to see until my boyfriend begged me so much that I felt like an evil woman crushing his hopes and dreams. I made him go and see New York, I Love You as a consequence but really he won this film battle.