I started the day with a visit to an open-aired market. It was interesting to see all the fresh produce and hussle and bustle. Besides I wanted to buy some things to cook. When you travel long-term, eating out quickly get boring and cooking feels more like a novelty. I wanted to make something French but seeing that I don’t really know how to cook I picked up a baguette and various cheeses. When in Paris…
In the afternoon, I decided to join some couchsurfers for an art crawl. After yesterday’s success with the art exhibit, it sounded like a good idea. We arrived at the meeting spot, in front of a metro station in the 13th district and headed for the group of awkward-looking people who didn’t dress like hipsters. (tip: This is usually the best way to identify Couchsurfers in any country)
The walk around Butte aux cailles was enjoyable but I soon remembered that I don’t actually like art. Somehow just staring at an old painting does very little for me. I mean, okay it’s cool but now what?
It was far more interesting to see what the old Parisian neighbourhood looked like, from the quaint buildings to cobblestone streets. Even the road signs looked cool. It was just like being in Amelie, except there were no English subtitles or quirky French music playing in the background.
However, we did see plenty of street art from famous artists like Miss.tic and Invader, who I heard about from the documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop to some others who are probably anonymous for good reason (i.e. they suck). In high-school I was suspended for 2 days for attempting street art. Admittedly, it’s much harder to demonstrate good composition using spray paint as opposed to using MS Paint. But it’s nice to know it’s easier to get away with these things when you’re older.
In the evening, we decided to hit a bar called Les Disquaires. An underground band called Aftersnowfall playing experimental electronic music was headlining. It was very funky and lots of fun until I noticed the price list. I was warned that booze is expensive in Paris but I had no idea that pints would be €7-8. And that’s supposed to be “reasonable” in Paris. Of course, it’s not readily obvious because a standard beer seems to be a ½ metric pint ie. 0.25L or slightly smaller than an Imperial pint. (yes, I take these things seriously).
I stared at the price list in disbelief. You know, like when you see an accident and it’s so horrible but you can’t stop staring at all the body fragments and twisted metal. For a brief moment, I even convinced myself that buying a ½ pint of Heineken for 3.50 euros would be a good compromise. But then I realized that I don’t know how to order a half-pint in French, let alone that I hate Heineken or that it would very gay to be drinking a half-pint of beer.
I was totally perplexed as to how people were happily paying these prices. The French are known for going on strike for any injustice. If there was one reason to do it, this would be it! If I were a Frenchman I would instigate another French revolution over this. Forget about cake, let them drink beer!
Perhaps people get paid so much here that they don’t notice. Or maybe they just don’t like alcohol as much, even though they make lots of it. The French could be like drug dealers who avoid touching their stash, hoping all the Anglos drink themselves to an early grave. People here definitely seem to drink in moderation. What an odd concept.
I decided there was only one thing to do: I would stop drinking. Not unlike when Gandhi began a fast as a means to social protest. I too, would walk in Gandhi’s footsteps and stop drinking booze to protest these outrageous prices.
Besides, I do really need to detox. Liver, you better be fucking grateful.
Are you a fan of street art?