Day 19-20: Paris, France

Day #19

So I started off the morning at McCafe with a delicious meal of legit Tiramisu and a wonderful late. I tell ya… if I wasn’t health conscious I would eat this every morning. What amazed me was that this was at a McDonalds! Oh it was so good. Here is a picture to help me explain what I mean.

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I went from McCafe to the Metro Station to get a bus ticket and meet my friend that I knew from college days and the one who did the art on my EP Cover. As I was was getting my ticket I was approached by a girl looking to find signatures for the deaf and disabled for some kind of petition. Of course I wanted to help these people so i put down my name and handed the paper back. Then I realized that they were looking for money. I told them no and I was trying to get a metro ticket to go meet a friends. The girl tried several times to get me to reconsider, but I ultimately held out. Later as I was standing in a information booth I saw a pamphlet that said that the people who were asking me for money were part of a large illegal ring and the money would never get to the deaf and disabled. I took that pamphlet with me and would later give it to a lady who was going through the exact same thing I went through in the metro station. I handed it to her as i walked by and a few moments later I was tapped on the shoulder and was handed the paper back. Staring me in the face was the girl who was trying to get money from the old lady. Lets just say I thought I was going to be mugged and killed by the group of women who were going around doing these illegal acts. Luckily I made it out alive.

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During this whole fiasco I had met up with Rachelle and we had made our way around the Montmarte area and had seen the beautiful view of Paris that this area gives you. We walked by the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre and visited the artists square, which fascinated me. There were so many different takes on Paris. Classic approaches and more modern ones, some beautiful portraits and goofy caricatures.

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Along the way Rachelle and I were able to catch up on all the happenings in our lives and I listened to her as she shared what she loves about this fabled city.

“There is something about Paris at night, its just magical.”

We walked into a large store that was full of some of the most expensive items I had ever seen. I don’t remember what it was called, but we stopped in to see the amazing dome that was at the center of it. The architecture was amazing and the dome was something out of a story book.

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We walked a little bit further down the streets of Paris and found the national music academy, or the famed Paris Opera House. We went inside to the gift shop and was amazed by the elaborate interior and the insane amount of talent that was on display on the TV screens around the shop. We both said that we wanted to see a show there one day, but only when we had a million dollars and could afford it. One day, one day.

As we continued to walk through the streets of Paris we walked by and saw the Theatre where Rachelle’s parents recently planted a church. I was kind of jealous. The location was pretty awesome. Maybe one day I’ll be able to attend a service there and actually be able to go inside.

Rachelle and I had a delightful meal and conversation at a street corner cafe. One of the things that I had dreamed of doing in Paris was to have a meal or a cup of coffee at one of the street corner cafes like the ones that you see in the movies. Well im here to tell you that dreams do come true. And nothing says your meal is finished like having a little bit of Tiramisu and Amaretto gelato afterwards.

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We made our way to the river Seine and walked along the water down to the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was celebrating its 850 year anniversary.

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We then went across the street to Shakespeare and Company, Rachelle’s favorite bookstore. It was amazing. Every space that was available was filled with books and the interior was exactally what a bookstore should look like. Old, worn, full of twists and turns, and multiple levels. They even had a type writer that I used to type a message to people back home. In my opinion, this was what a bookstore should be.

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We met up with Rachelle’s brother and father in the middle of the same bridge from the Jason Bourne series, Pont Nerf, and went to a small cafe and talked about my travels, church, music as a central part of the church in Paris, the dream of a building, and how expensive buildings are in Paris Central. They are looking for enough funds to buy a building/facility in the center of Paris. So the building fund would have to be for about 4.5 million dollars. They have all the equipment needed to furnish the interior, but they have no permanent place to keep it. Please be in prayer for that, as the church body has been pretty consistent, if not growing, over the last year. Thats kind of a big deal in France. Keep praying.

After we parted ways with Rachelle’s family, she and I walked along the water and saw the “Souls of Coffee” exhibit by Reza. This was amazing to see. A photographer went to many different locations where coffee is grown and made an attempt to capture photos of the people who pick the coffee. I think he did quite well. Below are some of the pictures with the captions.

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After a day of walking and reminiscing Rachelle and I said goodbye on the metro. It was a pretty neat day where I finally began to understand why people appreciate this city. Didn’t get to see it all at night though. Thats for the next trip.

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I came back to the hostel, blogged, and slept. Ya. I was that tired.

Day #20

First things first. This morning I slept in. PRAISE THE LORD.

Today was a chill day with nothing really planned and no one to meet. I took full advantage of that and relaxed for most of the morning.

I finally decided to do something, I gave myself a mission.

Before I had left Guam, my roommate brought me a journal from his trip to visit his wife in the Philippines. It was covered in old pictures from Europe and maps of the streets of Paris. On the back of the journal was a picture of a large structure that I found out was the Louvre Museum in Paris. I wanted to see if this painting on the back of my journal was actually real so I set out on a quest. Walk around the Louvre and attempt to find the painting on my journal in real life. I walked around for a while trying to find this specific angle. It just didn’t seem like there was a place anywhere near the Louvre that was like the picture. Walked through the gardens next to the louvre and finally found the river and the bridge that I was missing from my journal picture. The picture of the two are below. You tell me if I found the right spot in the end.

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Had a crepe in the gardens near the Lourve and found an artist sketching a statue that was in the park. He had been working on it for 5-6 hours before I walked up and it was a stunning sketch. He was capturing every curve and each angle perfectly. I think he was probably going to school for art and this was a project. It was pretty dang good!

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I wandered around Paris looking for the Moulin Rouge, because lets face it, after watching that film and having all the music memorized for long periods of my life, I just had to see the real place. Well after all that waiting and searching and such, I was very dissapointed. I guess Baz Lurman really did a good job at romanticizing that place. But I took pictures anyway so that I have proof that I stood outside of the moulin rouge. One day that will come in handy.

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It had come time for me to leave Paris, France and so after an intense game of Fusball back at the Hostel with Tao from China, I took train to the Airport. I sat in the Airport for 5 hours and ended up meeting Anne, from Minnesota, who was working in France with Family. She told me about her amazing gift of dual citizenship and I drooled over that for bit. You people with dual citizenship! SOO LUCKY! We talked about language mishaps language learners make and ended up hanging out together long after the plane ride, but that story comes when we get to Iceland.

The Plane Ride on Iceland Air was one of the most magical experiences i’ve ever had in my life. So much so I wrote a song about it. On the plane they handed out IPAD Minis because our plane didn’t have the normal onboard entertainment systems. That was a blast. Caught up on all the minutes I had missed playing ANGRY BIRDS. But the magical experience that I am referring to had nothing to do with ANGRY BIRDS. I know. Its a shock. It goes a little something like this.

After taking out the entrenched storm trooper piggies with my Obi Wan Angry Bird of choice, I looked out the window of the Iceland Air plane that was hovering thousands of feet in the air. At first my eyes were drawn to the light at the end of the wing, but was soon enamored by a bright light that had lit up the entire night. The moon was so bright and so defined that I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it. That is until I looked to the left and saw what seemed to be dancing clouds. To this day I will say to you that I saw the Northern Lights. But they were colorless. I don’t know if it was because I was so high up in the air that the colors were non existent, but I know that the clouds that I saw danced like all the clips i’ve seen of the northern lights. I sat there and wondered for about 10 minutes, twisting my neck to be able to get the full panoramic view of what was outside that double pained airplane window. Then it came to me. It doesn’t matter if those were the northern lights or not, I would never forget this moment as long as I lived. I was witnessing Creation’s original presentation of “Night Sky Over The Atlantic” for the first time and it would be a different version of it tomorrow night for the next person that cared to be in awe of it. It took my breathe away.

“And in that moment, I swear we were Infinite”

– Perks Of Being a Wallflower

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