Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two Days at a Time

I feel like so much has happened in the few days I've been here! The last thing I updated about was Friday?! There's so much to recap; I'm going to try to split this into a couple posts...

Had a café au lait at the café across from the hostel with Roland before he left to go home to England. Coffee here is very much to my liking haha. Perhaps it's because I never bothered to acquire the taste for it at home, or perhaps it's just better here, but I haven't had coffee that I don't like yet in Paris. Even the dark espresso I had Tuesday with lunch was richer than it was bitter.

That afternoon, I met up with Laurent from Paris for coffee, and I practiced my French, which was good since I had been speaking a lot of English. He plays guitar, too, and has a bunch of equipment and resources that he said he could let me use for recording, etc. He also mentioned this open mic guitar bar thing called the Pop-In in Paris that sounded really cool. So we decided to try to go Sunday.

Then I bought a light coat from H&M on the Blvd Saint-Germain because it has been quite cold, and at the time all my coats were sealed up in those space-saving bags. So I couldn't take any of them out, lest I lose precious space in my suitcase haha. Then I took a nap in my hostel room and woke up to a new dorm-mate arriving; her name was Elisabeth from Holland and we got to talking, and I mentioned that I was going to have dinner with my friend Genevieve from NYU who's in the area for the teaching assistantship too. So we met up with her and had salads at a nearby cafe. We all talked about Paris, how the teaching assistantship program is kind of ridiculous, and girly stuff, which was nice because since my first night at the hostel I had really only spent time befriending dudes.

Main highlight: going to the Pop-In in the evening with Elisabeth. Laurent had to cancel last minute, but I still wanted to see what it was all about. It was possibly the coolest thing I've gone to in a while! We had some dinner at a brasserie in the 11th arrondissement, near the bar - we both got croques berger (like a croque monsieur, which is like an open-face, toasted ham & cheese, but "berger" got us goat cheese instead of whatever they normally use), frites, and some chocolate cake. It was the fattiest, most indulgent thing I had eaten so far, since my appetite the other days was less than huge.

Then we headed over to the Pop-In, where we ran into Flor and Clera (sp?) from Argentina, and Albert and Nelson (I think both from Guatemala, not sure). The Argentinian girls had just gotten all their money stolen at the hostel bar, which kind of shocked me. Maybe it shouldn't have though, because there had been another robbery the first night, and some girl got her laptop and phone stolen; I'm pretty sure they recovered her things though... In any case, our four hostel buddies didn't end up staying for the show, but Elisabeth and I did (it was free? somehow?) and had such an amazing time. There were about 8 performers who did an average of two songs each, and their styles and talents had a pretty wide range. I took a video of one guy who had a really interesting technique, and I would upload it except that it appears I left my camera's USB cord at home. URGH. Oh well, I'll figure it out.

Anyway, there was an American guy from Chicago who played, and he was adorable because he kept saying "Hm?" when the MC asked him things in French, because he didn't speak very much French haha. He goes by the moniker Glass Petals and I really like his/the band's style; it seems very distinctly American. I mean, most of the performers sang in English, but with this guy it just felt more like home, if that makes sense. I talked to him afterwards and he said he moved to Paris to work, and he's currently nannying for a family he found through FUSAC, a classifieds publication for expats in Paris. I found a copy at the hostel the next day and I might use it to find some supplemental income. (Not that I need it, because I'm living in an apartment now in the suburbs where the rent is only 250€!! And I'm going to be making about 800€ a month...)

Something weird about the open mic was this crazy, dirty, possibly homeless guy? wearing a cowboy hat and leather pants, who kept barging in during people's performances and just shouting randomly. The staff tried to discreetly lead him away, but he kept coming back, and at one point there somehow appeared a large bucket of red roses, which he proceeded to hand out to members of the audience. Elisabeth and I were so confused, and we kept giving each other wide-eyed looks of fear haha. It wasn't a big deal, just supremely weird.

And when we got back to the hostel, we met up again with all the Spanish-speaking folks from earlier, and while I was *cough*im-ingwithaboy*cough*, Flor just so happened to be at the bar near me, and she asked the bartender whose guitar was sitting behind the bar for safekeeping (the hostel keeps customers' valuables behind the bar for security), and it just so happened to be mine. I said so, and she gasped, "Play it!!" so I indulged and we had a good hour or so of jamming in the bar at 1 a.m. Flor plays too, and so did another guy who was there (I think his name was Francisco?), and I played some of my current favorite songs written by other people and myself haha. They played some Madonna, Beatles, Jack Johnson, and others too, and it was a really nice way to end the evening. I'm thinking maybe I can work my way up to being good enough to do the Pop-In open mic, what do you guys think??

Next time...
Père LaChaise cemetery, pigeons, churches, bookstores/exploring, moving in, visiting my school, bed bugs and GROCERY SHOPPING!


  1. Bed bugs! bleah...... Ok, too sickening to think about just like the Giants losing last night's game. Glad to hear that you are having fun though. The Pop In sounded like something I would want to go to, and sit somewhere away from my kid. haha

  2. Alex does open mic! you would so work up to it and record such an event and share it!

    I think its funny how the first thing your mom commented on was the bed bugs, because I was totally gonna give the same initial grossosity!

    Sounds like your having a grand time.