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DAY 10 - Paris 14/10/2007

Dawnbreaker, ParisSeine River at dawn

We got up early (just as the Poms were still going to bed) and got to the Louvre at 8.45am behind 30 other crazy tourists. When the doors opened Roger ran for the tickets and I for the map so we could get to the Mona Lisa before the masses. As the photo’s show we were about 8th and had a good clear, up close view. Mission accomplished we then went looking for Roger’s favourite painter but he had been moved to another gallery. So we went looking for a painting of two sisters in a bath purely because three travelled books I read all mentioned it. I had no idea of the artist or its title but did know two sisters in French and could mime naked and bath to the attendant who was able to point us in the right direction.

Check out the picture below. In case you miss the point, one duchess is announcing the future birth of her sister’s illegitimate baby to King Henry IV, quite obvious really, not.

Twisted sisterher sister pinches the source of the new mother's milk, the servant in the background knits in preparation for the child

After our whirlwind tour of the Louvre we went to Versailles. Easy to find as it's massive and on a hilltop. However they don’t welcome motorhomes so we had to park in the streets a few blocks away. After a small walk and after fighting off souvenir sellers we stopped for a bite to eat. A small bite was all we had because the food was so expensive. We then queued up for an hour and a half on the cobble stoned courtyard in the heat of the day being entertained by various nationalities as they amused themselves and their children during the long wait. Of course Americans don’t enter Versailles this way, they go in the tourist bus entrance, go straight for the hamburgers and then sprawl themselves out over the only steps into the main chateau.

Once inside, the sunstroke from queuing finally got to me about the time we reached the hall of mirrors. I sat down on a bench seat between two rows of mirrors but on seeing several green versions of myself only felt worse. I had to submit and join the Americans and re-hydrate. I gave up queuing, to get some fresh air; after a long wait Roger finally returned NZ$13 poorer and only had 2 very small bottles of Coke. The thought of more waiting and the cost of another drink soon cured my thirst.

I also got over my desire to live in a chateau when I found out King Louis required 20,000 staff to keep Versailles Palacehim and his family in comfort. The French Kings do things differently from English Kings. In England the accountants would build a house bigger and better than the King which the King would then just take for his own self (eg King Henry VIII and Hampton Court). But the French King on seeing his accountant having a better house just orders a bigger and better one be built for him (eg King Louis and Versaille, the King ordered one be built 100 times bigger than the accountants). Of course the accountant got a large expensive house in the first place by good honest means; well according to the French. King Henry VIII never saw it that way and normally killed them at the same time as taking over the property.

We went back to the campsite and bought our standard tea of baguette and cheese from the world’s most expensive camp store with the shortest opening hours. On the way back to the motor home we visited a NZ couple who had bought a built to spec English motor home and had been away for 7 months after retiring. They had a tad more money than us and came over originally to watch the America’s Cup. They have no respect for Brad Butterworth and said he wasn’t given much respect at the America’s Cup. They are going to store their motor home so they can keep coming back for holidays and send their children. Some people have the kindest parents.

We put on our morbid black clothes again and went off to support the Pumas (Argentina for those not up with rugby) against South Africa. All the South African supporters were fat gross white men and all the Argentinians were greasy looking specimens. Yesterday I had Englishman falling over me thinking I was French, today the Puma and Yarpie fans are only interested in themselves and beer. We decided to sample the beer in stadium alley. The official sponsor is Heineken so all the drink stalls selFrance England semifinall their beer, however over in the food stalls they sell beer from unlabelled taps, in unlabelled plastic cups. It cost NZ$16 for one large glass and it tasted like a shandy. At that price we only got the one. I had a small bottle of water for NZ$6 and was allowed to take it into the stadium but not the cap. I left the teddies at home for fear stadium security guards would molest them again. This time we sat midway up the stadium at the end where the South Africans did a lot of point scoring. Either the Kiwis scalped their tickets or had changed their allegiance as there were fewer All Black jerseys around. There were still large patches of Aussie yellow, at least black doesn’t make the losers stand out as much.

They had French New Orleans style bands at either end of the field that played Mariachi music to get the crowd going. It seem to be the only thing getting a response from tEngland Springbok finalhe dead beat Kiwis except some vocal Kiwis yelled abuse at Steve Walsh, others applauded him for making it further in the World Cup than the All Blacks. The crowd even got a Mexican wave going that went around 4 times before it died at the corporate area.
The excitable Kiwis in front of us were from Waiheke Island and go on active gourmet tours between games. Sad people, they bike for 30-50kms a day and are then rewarded with a gourmet treat. I sit on my bottom for several hours a day and reward myself with gourmet treats. However after Roger’s consumption of over ripe cheese I imagine 4 hours bike riding would probably have the same weight loss affect. On one occasion Roger used the motor home toilet and then continued driving. Bad move, we could have run the van for a week on the high octane bio fuel.

As for the rugby, for the third successive game Roger and I have supported the losing team. We are now divided, he wants England to win, because they aren’t South African. I want South Africa because they represent Southern Hemisphere rugby and because I hate the fact England win by kicking points and not playing good rugby. Although I should point out at this stage especially to the All Blacks that the aim of the game is to get the most points on the board, no matter how you do it; lest they forget.

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scruffy looking hedgePalace grounds, Versailles.
keep clear of the doorsNeighbourhood cat, Versailles
versailles palacPalace grounds, Versailles
something for the gardener to doPalace grounds, Versailles
fire fighting reservoirVersailles Palace
watch out travellersNeighbourhood Watch
boating on the seineBarge navigating the Seine, Paris
really?Suprisingly small - Mona Lisa
jeannine wondering what it's all aboutCrowds? What crowds?