Musings about Europe

The past two days in Paris have been SO busy. We’ve seen virtually every popular destination this city has to offer: the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay. We’ve taken a trip down the Seine River and toured Versailles. We’ve eaten croissants and eclairs and even seen people walking around in berets. I could go into the epic details of all of this, but I’ve really been missing talking about the details that I don’t get to anymore because we’re always on the go. So here they are, ladies and gentlemen: the little things in life, European-style.

1. Paris is kind of girly. Okay, “girly” might not actually be the word I want to use here. It’s just, in America, Paris is known to be full of everything pink and kind of feminine. Coming here, I thought that was just something that was completely fictitious, that America found a way to make up and completely exaggerate. But in fact, things here are more, well, pink. One of the first things I noticed after arriving was the massive pink cutout of the Eiffel Tower, which held maps. Okay, I thought initially. Free maps of the city – awesome. And then I opened it up… to realize that it wasn’t just the stand it came from or the cover that was pink, but in fact, the entire map. Another example: certain places even print receipts on pink paper:

Wait, really? I have yet to find a pink poodle, but if I do, I shall certainly let you know.

2. Fashion in Europe is awesome. The people here are a little too into it for my liking – at least, I don’t think I could keep up. But it’s interesting how couples will coordinate with each other concerning what they wear. I saw one couple in Torino that was a great example of this: the girl was wearing shoes with the exact shade of sea foam green as that of her significant other’s pants. There’s, like, no way that’s a coincidence when this is a common occurrence. My favorite, though, was the style of this gentleman, who I saw yesterday:

This right here is fantastic. I didn’t even know they made green jeans for people that weren’t my age (let alone for a 60-plus-year-old man). This looks like something I’d wear… on a grown Frenchman. I just. I can’t get over the awesomeness. Men in America, take note.

Or this, which I saw in humid Rome. I could be okay if you all wore this all the time too.

3. It continues to surprise me how much stuff people try to sell you. In Torino, this wasn’t a big deal, most likely because it isn’t a big tourist city (and isn’t even on people’s “Top 500 Places I Need to Visit Before I Die” lists). But in Rome, there were people everywhere, most of them clearly not native to Italy, trying to sell you hats, sunglasses, scarves, friendship bracelets – you name it, they were trying to sell it. The biggest product they had to offer was the parasol, since it was very sunny and quite warm there. One by one they would walk up to us, saying “Umbrellaumbrellaumbrella!” really fast, or “Umbrella, four euro!” It confused me because they’d still approach us even after we’d turned the five guys before them down. One man seemed convinced that I indeed really wanted a parasol but was just waiting for the right price. “Five euros!” he shouted to me. “Four! Three, that’s my final offer!” It’s like, really, buddy? You think that I’ve said no to twenty people already, but I’m going to buy from you?

In France it’s a little less aggressive, but the things they’re selling are equally funny. There are yappy dog toys and clicking flying birds and Eiffel Tower keychains, as well as men selling bottles of water by calling out “Wattawattawatta,” which my sister and I have a good time laughing about. I think my favorite, though, have been the people who again try to sell us umbrellas, but this time for the rain the city’s been getting. Who would have thought that we’d be asked to buy the same thing in Rome and Paris but for opposite reasons? 🙂

These guys are also pretty funny – I really don’t think their product is too effective though:

I wonder what the item-of-the-day will be in London 🙂

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