Friday, July 2, 2010

summer trip : DAY 02

Friday, July 2, 2010

Again, we overslept. I mean, just us lads. We were supposed to be meeting in the lounge at 8.15 am. We managed to get out of the hotel at about 9.15 am. It was drizzling. The weather was cold. So I had to put on my insufficient jacket. It was just like a winter in Jordan.

We reached the RER train station but the ticket counter was not opened. So we had to go to a nearby Metro station, Gabriel Peri to buy the ticket. The girls went to a nearby petrol station asking for a little guide. Fortunately, a black guy named Kamil helped us through. He brought us to the station with his own multi-purpose vehicle. I think he is an African. His long experience working at the petrol station really helped his spoken English. He even escorted us to buy the ticket. He’d been such a great help.

We arrived at the Opera Museum early. It was not opened yet. So we decided to go for a walk at La Madeleine with the help of maps. There is a church named The Madeleine Church. I think this was my second time entering a church. The first one was the great church in Vienna. I don’t really know the story behind the church but it is indeed a large church. I peeped onto a room and saw like a baptism ceremony, because I could see a priest and many children.

As planned, we later turned back for the Opera Museum. I was thrilled to have the chance of being in the Opera hall or whatever you called it. Just like in the movie. All of my travel mates already have some knowledge about the hall because they’ve read The Phantom of The Opera. I unfortunately was clueless. Just some vague ideas. But it was a great chance entering the box.

After that, we headed for the Musee de Louvre. You must’ve some idea about this museum. The place holds the honor to exhibit the portrait of Mona Lisa and many other arts like paintings and statues. The museum is unexpectedly huge. We realized it was impossible to finish all the three wings in a day. So we just went straight for the portrait of Mona Lisa. We were hoping to take a look at the Arts of Islam portion. Alas, it was closed for renovation.

We had a little quest inside this extremely huge museum. Malik had asked Danial to find a number of paintings and statues. That really was a tiring task. We found only few of them then ran out of energy. We gave up and exited the museum.

We then took a metro and stopped at a station called Place Monge. We were planning to visit the Great Mosque of Paris. Upon arrival, we didn’t linger much as we were greeted by people who at their notion knowing we were looking for the mosque. Their cordiality had been such great help. We had the chance to perform our Zohor prayer at the mosque.

It is the largest mosque in France and the third largest in Europe. Founded after the World War I, it represents the gratefulness of the French towards the Muslims for their help in battling the German. Then we dropped by at a maktabah in front of the mosque. I bought few non-alcoholic perfumes made in Paris.

After that, we rode the metro and stopped at a station which I don’t quite remember where it is. We actually went there to fill in our empty singing hungry tummy. Walked and walked, we finally found a street with Halal restaurants. I ordered sandwich Adana. Man, it was a relief though I didn’t have an idea what kind of sandwich it is. I think it must be from Turkey. Or it isn’t?

Zohor? Done. Lunch? Done. So we headed back to our hotel and went out again after Maghrib which was about 10.15pm. Summer in Europe is really interesting. Like always, days are way longer than nights. I think it’s longer than we have in Jordan.

Subuh : 3.30 am +/-
Zohor : 2.00 pm +/-
Asar : 6.10 pm +/-
Maghrib : 10.15 pm +/-
Isya’ : 12.05 am +/-

We wanted to have a night view of the most popular building standing in Paris, the Eiffel Tower. It was very magnificent. With all the lights surrounding the tower, it looked just glamorous. Just when we were about to leave the tower, the tower was suddenly illuminated with scattered glittering white lights. I looked at the time and it was 12.00 am. A flickering Eiffel! It was super cool!!!

This very beautiful night was cut short by the transport problem. The last RER train going to Les Gresillons was at 12.00 am, just when we were admiring the glittering show at the tower. Haha. So we went after the Metro to reach any station near enough to our hotel. All we could think of was the station Kamil brought us to that morning, Gabriel Peri.

Oh and we met an Indonesian on our way back. His name is Budi Faisal. I think he said he’s working in Germany or something. He just had a ride up in the Eiffel Tower that night. We talked a lot and he’s a very nice and polite guy.

The hard part was to get to the hotel. We didn’t have any map in hand as Gennevilliers is an outskirt area and I’ve got only the central Paris map. We depended on our hunches plus some vague memories from that morning. It was almost 1.30 am. I’ve started to worry about the security issue. The night was so silent. Worse, it was unexpectedly freezing cold. It was the wind.

We were very lucky to have met a couple and asked for directions. They can’t speak English so we were using the international language of all. The signs. Haha. The more compassionate scene was when they were willing to turn their way back just to guide us to the accurate direction. It was very late indeed. The night didn’t just end there. We went apart at a junction and we went clueless again though they did left us with the directions which can be easily understood if we speak French. We had no choice but to believe in what we thought we understood. Steps after steps, there it was. Our beloved hotel. Wow, that was a relief.

I was quite disappointed by myself today. I was getting better but was still sick. I didn’t help much. I couldn’t talk much. I had a partly impaired hearing and a voiceless throat. It sucked!

to be continued...

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