A Few Paris Surprises

There we are, under the Eiffel Tower. We haven’t been up it because it’s too expensive for us right now.

Random surprises about life in Paris (all somewhat related to water):

(1) The brand new French washing machine in our apartment takes (literally) hours to wash a very small load of laundry. The load I do every night takes 2 hours, 36 minutes according to the timer on the front of the washer. And we use cloth diapers with Liam, which means lots of washing (2 washes per load of diapers). This slowness seems to have to do with high efficiency, but wash water seems minor compared to surprise #2. (BUT: we’re blessed to have a washer at all as one load at the laundromat costs 8!! Euros.)

(2) There’s always water running in the streets of Paris. I’m talking about a lot of water. Gushing. I still haven’t figured out why this is; it can’t possibly all be run-off from the street-cleaning guys’ hoses. When I lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for a summer, the sewers were always overflowing, so there was a lot of water running through the street, too. But the Paris street rivers have no smell, so I’m guessing (hoping?) it’s not that.

(3) It’s distressingly acceptable for males to pee in the street, subway station, park, etcetera. I don’t have anything against folks relieving themselves, but I do object to (a) the smell and (b) what this means for my small son who is still very much in the habit of licking things like park benches and trees. Please, can we all make water in the water closet? Those handy, self-cleaning public toilets all about?

(4) Breaking from the theme of mild displeasure and bewilderment… I had know idea how taken I’d be with the Eiffel Tower. I don’t know what I expected, but it was huge. Not just on top, but from underneath. The view of us in the photo is from beneath the tower, and it was kind of like being inside the world’s largest pointy hat. Definitely my favorite of the few “touristy” things we’ve seen.

Many things about life in Paris are not surprises: the wine, bread, and chocolate are delicious; there are heaps of red tape for doing just about anything; it’s a complicated, lovely place with its problems, like anywhere.

We’re finding our way, though. And loving the adventure.


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