Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Zoo in Paris: Day 3

The last time we went to Paris, I was robbed of my money shot of the Eiffel Tower because of silly things like French holidays and ninja guards. This time around, I was determined to make up for lost photos.

We parked the car around the block from the Tower. I took this shot of the street corner sign, originally only to be able to find the car. Later, though, this shot turned out to be the only proof I have that we were really, really close to the Eiffel Tower.

Go ahead, Google it! Avenue de Suffren is a 12 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. The fact that it took us 45 minutes is further proof that the Johnson's Zoo did actually see the Eiffel Tower. Trust me.

For those untrusting soles that are wondering why we have no photographic proof, let me explain. After taking my lovely shot of our parking spot, my camera was full. No problem, Angie had her iPhone, with plenty of space for memorable shots of the Eiffel Tower.

Angie snapped away as we approached the tower. She also went nuts when we were under the Tower. Being the Johnson's, we didn't reserve tickets three months in advance and took one look at the line for those dumbasses that show up without reserved tickets and Angie quickly came to the conclusion that our family would not be climbing the tower on this trip.

'Steve, this is gonna take at least two hours and Peter needs a bathroom.'

'The wait could be two minutes and Peter would still need a bathroom. Did you at least get some good shots? 'Cause, come on - we can't go back this time without any shots of the Tower.'

'Yeah, yeah. I got plenty. I need coffee.'

As per usual, we did what Angie wanted. Since her wish involved caffeine, I didn't complain. We made our way to a lovely café, where I promptly deleted a shitload of pictures from my camera to free up space so that I could continue documenting The Zoo in Paris, Day 3.

The boys ordered chocolate crêpes that costed an arm and six legs. Shortly after, Angie launched into a full-on panic attack.

'My phone just died!'

'I don't blame it. Maybe you should stop playing the bubble game.'

'Steve! I'm serious. My phone is dead.'

For a change, Angie was right. Her phone, the same one with the only documented proof that we had actually visited the Eiffel Tower, was gone. I don't know what the hell she did - I only know that it was certainly her fault.

Since our search for coffee had taken us across town to the Notre Dame Cathedral, we were not exactly in a convenient position to go back. Peter was visibly crushed.

Okay, 'crushed' is maybe not the right word, but he definitely made himself visible. I was too busy fuming to notice, though.

'Angie! We've only got two hours of parking. Let's move out!'

After Peter climbed the Eiffel pole of remorse, Tommy and Davey of course wanted their turn.

'No way. We're on a schedule. We've got a dusty church and shitload of locks to check out. Besides, I was only able to put two hours of money on the meter. Move out!'


'Sure, go for it.'

Angie tends to get her freak on any time that the boys gets a negative from her and then a positive by ignoring her and asking me. Oddly enough, this logic doesn't work in the other direction. Yeah, odd.

Speaking of odd, the pigeons of Notre Dame are apparently hip to be square.

Upon closer look, it turned out that some weirdo (oddly not related to us) had laid down a square pattern of bird seed. My curiosity could not control itself, so I asked the odd gentleman sprinkling bird seed all over the place what the hell he was doing. Mistake.
Bird Man then launched a twenty-minute rant on how he was forming and photographing special symbols made out of pigeons to spell out secret messages that you would only understand if you went to whacko-boy's website. Oh, damn! No Wi-Fi connection here....
It was about that point that insanity was interrupted by two blondies who had decided that it would be totally total to get a snapshot of themselves inside the square of winged-rats. It started out fine, until the pigeons apparently felt threatened by one of the blondies stepping into their rectangular territory. Then things got photographically interesting.
The pigeons had either finished their snack or collectively decided that bleached hair was somehow tastier. I didn't really care, though. I cracked my ass up as the entire pigeon population of Notre Dame swarmed in on valley chick's noggin and tried to eat her hair.
There are only so many minutes that you can watch a live remake of a pretty funny Hitchcock flick before you look at your watch and once again get worried about your car getting towed.
'Right! Lovely! Let's move out!' 
 Now, most of you might be wondering 'What could possibly top infested pigeons attacking a bunch of bleached tourists?'
Luckily, in so many ways, our boys are not like you. I was their tour guide and I simply laid out the plans.
'Okay, boys! We're done with pole-climbing monkeys and winged-rats. Let's move on to locking up pint-sized hooligans!'

This bridge is globally famous for nutcase lovebirds who, for some reason, go to this bridge and attach a lock to the railing and throw the key into the river. I won't write how I would judge love-stupid maroon-tourists that have nothing better to do than to poison the river-life by tossing erosive metal keys into semi-clean water. Shit, I think I just did.

As we left the bridge over troubled waters, the designated driver checked his watch and threw in his two cents.

'Yo, woman! We need to go - like now! We're gonna get towed and trust me, that will totally ruin the walk home.'

'Calm down, Steve. We're in Paris! Things like that don't happen here.'

I tried my damndest not to vomit as Angie described the world she lives in. The problem is, I am a Realist. By definition, that meant I had to walk away from Angie's delusional babblings and go check on the car.

'Okay, Butter Buns, you stay with the kids and spend the next hour buying overpriced key chains; I'm going to run off and make sure that we still have a vehicle to drive home.'

'Yeah, whatever. Bye.'

The content of her farewell didn't bother me, but the tone was most certainly worthy of a public flogging. Man, what happened to the good old days?

I chose to ignore caffeine-deprived better-halves with overly-strong itinerary-opinions and an under-appreciation for way-too-many-hyphens and huffed off to secure our ride home.

As I neared our car, I saw it was blocked in by a tow truck. Hmmm. I ran up waving my arms like a madman and started screaming apologies at the driver in Spanish. Why Spanish? Because I don't know French.

I reached in my pocket and held up a bunch of pocket shrapnel as I pointed to the parking meter. The man shook his head and gave me the international symbol for 'you were THIS close, buddy' before climbing back into his truck. Whew!

After finally finding Angie, I recapped the story. Okay, I admit I might have done it in an overly 'in your face' way, but I don't think she picked up on it.

'That's really interesting, honey, but hey, look at Peter! He's getting a cartoon picture done.'

While we waited, Peter repeatedly told the man that he didn't want his broken cheek bone to show up. He alternated between German and English, but each time the friendly French guy just laughed and said 'oui, oui'.

For a change, Peter fidgeted more than David, who sat like a stoner for his portrait.

Tommy chose yet again to distance himself from behaving like either of his siblings and simply cracked up giggling for the entire ordeal.

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
David: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Tom: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
David: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Tom: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
David: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Tom: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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