Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Doo or Dew?

Wednesday February 17, 2010 - DoDo

Well, I'm not sure what your family might call it, but in the Irwin household it was Dog Doo or perhaps Dog Dew(?). As I was thinking about this post, it occurred to me that it could as well be either! Doo, well because it is what dogs do or Dew, as a more lyrical term...something damp that appears each morning on the grass. Now that I am sure I have my Granny squirming in her seat... Anyways, as a child the typical infantile terms such as "potty" or "boo-boo" were not permitted (I feel slightly uncomfortable even typing them now). I was to use appropriate terminology such as "I need to use the bathroom" and "I got an ow-ie". Thus, why Dog Doo/Dew? I have no clue. We even had a designated "Dog Doo Shovel" that was placed in a specific spot in our backyard not to ever be confused with the gardening shovel, since well, we eat the fruits and vegetables from our can imagine the consequences. So whoever was on "pooper-scoop" duty knew exactly which shovel to use. Ahh, the memories!

Here I thought this organized thinking about such things was normal and rational, obligatory even.

It is not the case in France.

There is actually a very real Dog Doo problem. For some background information, I looked to my Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong book by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow. In chapter 11, titled "Dogs, Towns, and Local Government", they say that there are 10 tons of Parisian Dog Doo laisse sur terre or left on the ground each year. It causes over 600 hospitalizations each year either by a slip or simply trying to remove it from one's shoes. Seems like a public hazard doesn't it? Well, according to the book and personal experience, it can be explained in this way: the French pay high taxes and expect the State to do its job...which it does (special street sweeping machines just for Dog Doo etc)...but the French "draw a limit on moralizing individual behavior". That is to say, no one judges them - for Dog Doo anyways... (Besides the rest of the world, of course).

In spite of the millions of Euros spent on the anti-poo campaign, street sweepers, and these charming signs that literally say "I like my neighborhood, I pick up", there remains lurking threats on every curb, every sidewalk and every square of manicured grass. Tres chic!

When recounting a certain funny story to my Dad about Henry's visit, he was absolutely shocked to hear about all the dog poop everywhere in Paris. Duh! Isn't that common knowledge?! I mean, you can even tell if you're walking into a rough neighborhood simply based on the frequency of droppings! I guess I have taken a dozen or so french classes, but still! ...Henry, as we were maneuvering the steep streets leading up to the Sacre Coeur, fell victim to the biggest tourist trap in Paris: Dog Doo. And, it almost caused a little lovers' quarrel, well, since he had already been here for two weeks when it happened and it just happened to be the, eh hem, very first time I exclaimed that I HAD to blog something about his trip... OOPS! Not my intention or thought of course, but bad timing nonetheless! Hahaha!

My Dad, very rationally, stated that it could just be due to the mere difference of surface area. What? Oh right, true. Henry's feet are bigger than mine (thank God!) and I do tend to wear some sort of heel, thus limiting my chances of sole making contact with poo and, malheureusement, maximizing his.

So next time you happen to be wandering the streets of the most beautiful city in the world, don't forget to watch your step. I am SO NOT on pooper scoop duty.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Year's

December 31-January 6, 2010 - New Year's etc...

Well, I think it's about time for an update! It's been a long dark winter and I'm definitely missing my California sunshine at this point... (and that is a huge understatement!)

On New Year's Eve (I know, I'm so behind), I started the night at the Hard Rock Cafe with friends. It was super fun and I chowed down on over-priced all-American nachos! It was delicious! And then to follow,  popped some Champagne!

I headed over to the
Frog XVI, an English pub in the 16th arrondissement, near the Trocadero to get a view of the Eiffel Tower when midnight struck. The Metro and streets were PACKED! I have never been in a crowd that big in my was definitely in-sane! At midnight, we could barely see the Tower behind a side of a building because the crowd was so big...a once in a lifetime!

I finally went up the Eiffel Tower! The top of the tower was closed due to construction but the second level is high enough! The view of Paris is amazing and it makes it easy to spot all of the main monuments. I had a really good time in spite of my somewhat blue-ish was freezing.

The view of Parc du Champs de Mars

To warm up, I spent the afternoon at the Lourve. Every time I go to the Louvre, I get to see things that I haven't before. Since it is so massive, there are always new wings and different pieces to discover!

Look Mom, real Egyptian Vases!! Just like your art lesson; you can see the real thing when you come and visit!!
I LOVED this statue by Lorenzo Bartolini (1770) called "La Nymphe au Scorpion"