Tagged: Paris

Island Hopping

I’m a terrible adventure blogger! I’ve been having adventures and haven’t said a peep in months! But seeing as it’s the last day of 2015, I felt it was an appropriate time to play catch-up.

Back in October, I took a little vacation from France to where I assumed would be warmer and dryer. Mallorca. I spent about 4 days there, two of which it rained, but I did get to spend some time at a few little (crowded) beaches and wandering around the city. I was surprised to find several vegan places (including a vegan bagel place), though I ended up eating a lot of pizza and Indian food!

mallorca

I would definitely return, although I would love to see some other parts of the island that I couldn’t get to by bus (I tried – and then that day turned out to be a holiday and the bus schedule had changed). The nearby island of Ibiza is also on my list…

My gosh, I just realized how many islands I’ve been to this year. Three! In Panama, Spain, and the US! It’s a record for me! I guess I finally really realized how much I enjoy tropical water…

 

mallorca ocean

In November came the shocking attack on Paris, and since then I’ve wondered if I wanted to say anything here about it, or not. It was definitely a frightening night. I stayed up until 3am texting and calling and pinpointing my friends. Only weeks later, walking around Republique, did I realize that one of the restaurants that was attacked was on the corner of the first street I landed on when I moved to France in 2011. It was jarring to come face to face with the shattered glass , drooping roses tucked into the bullet holes.  So much ignorance, fear, and hate in the world… so many innocent people affected by it.

Paris

In December, I headed back to Los Angeles for the month, and also ended up going to Maui for 5 days. It wasn’t originally on the agenda, but how can you say no when you have the opportunity to go to Hawaii? I hadn’t been since 2005, and was thrilled to seek out the rainbow eucalyptus trees again. It definitely brought back memories of my ex and his kids, but new memories were also made, and… a new ukulele bought.

Mele ukulele
How could I NOT buy a ukulele in Hawaii??

It was a lovely trip. Breakfast at the bnb was amazing every morning. The weather was lovely (only a bummer on the day I went down the road to Hana and wanted to swim in some waterfalls but couldn’t because of a flash flood risk). I saw whales for the first time. I saw rainbows every day. The water wasn’t as warm as I remembered it being, but it’s December, so perhaps that’s why. I’ve been cooking coconut banana pancakes nearly every day since arriving home (thank goodness I don’t really put on weight!).

rainbow

And now I have less than a week left before waking up in France again.

Every time I get on a plane, I think about the blank pages ahead of me. Every trip is like it’s own book, with an airplane as the front and back cover. I read it from cover to cover and then tuck it away on the shelf in it’s own special spot. I’m always sad when I reach the end… Yet I always gain something that gives me joy, too.

Part of me wanted to write something about starting a new year, but… every day is the start of a new year. Every day is ripe with exciting possibility. I haven’t been particularly productive this month, but I have so much I’m itching to do. I’m finishing up a little web series (for children). I have a beautiful new ukulele to play with, so much music to make. I have renewed my excitement for acting and film and have new goals and plans. I have new friends. My YouTube channel (the ASMR one) is growing as I put more serious effort into it. And every day I get closer to knowing what my purpose is. There’s so much more… too much more… too much to even remember, sometimes.

Gosh, I don’t know what else to write, right now! Well… Happy new year!!

Happy New Year from Anna and Elsa!
Happy New Year from Anna and Elsa!

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto….

Uh-oh, I’m starting to get a little bad at keeping y’all updated here. Sometimes I’m just not sure what to write about. Other travel bloggers give advice and insight, and I don’t always feel like I have that. Others just talk about their journeys… but I always wonder if people really want to hear about everyday life. I started this blog to help me focus on the things I wanted to do… create, learn, and give. To connect with creative minds around the world, to learn about the world, and to give whatever I could, wherever I could. But my financial situation has been frustrating my attempts at this life. I have a lot of exciting ideas, things I want to do, and I pursue them no matter what, but sometimes I have to make sacrifices. Life doesn’t pause for you when you’d like it to! In the back of my mind, I keep thinking I should go live in Thailand where life is cheap, work online, and come back when I have savings.

Instead, I’m back in France, and have been shutting myself in trying to make progress on some creative work and my online work. I’d been looking forward to this time for a while but now that I’m here, I’ve got singers-block or something! Actors-block… everything. I feel so unproductive. I’m still making efforts, but I can’t help but bounce around anxiously from one task to another and wonder what the point of everything is. You know sometimes when you have some big goals but you’re not sure where to start… you start by preoccupying yourself with little goals that make you feel busy? Well, I do. And the past two weeks I’ve preoccupied myself trying to find a specific product for the upkeep of my new hair color.

Lavender blue, dilly dilly...
Lavender blue, dilly dilly…

 

Toner does not seem to exist in France. Here has been the process of trying to find it (and taking my mind off of the other more important things I should be doing). Or you can watch my video cry for help.

1. Locate salon supplies stores (something like Sally’s Beauty Supplies).

2. Visit one called Delorme, purchase blue bleach powder (so there’s no yellow, they tell me!) and developer.

3. Go to another salon supply store after bleaching my roots yellow, in search of toner. I get told I would have to bleach it more but I shouldn’t because it’s damaged. I keep trying to explain I won’t get it white by bleaching it more.

4. Go back to Delorme. Get sold some purple shampoo.

5. Go back to Delorme after the purple shampoo does nothing, and searching again on my own. Found a “blond toning” tube. Figured I’d try that.

6. Go back to Delorme after that doesn’t work and being told by a friend that I need to search for something called an eclaircessant. Salesperson returns with a small jar of purple stuff called “white toner.” OK. So you DO know the word “toner.” Now.

7. Throw up hands in disgust after this toner does nothing as well.

8. Happen to go into a Monoprix where they have a décoloration (whatever) in the hair dye section. Looks like she’s got white hair. I’ll try that.

9. Realize I’ve got a patch of spiky hair on the top of my head after this latest experiment, where I’ve melted my hair off. Clumps of hair like I’ve never seen clog my brush and the shower drain.

10. Brush my bangs back, put in more purple, and call it a day. Finally decide to order toner from the US.

I don’t know how anybody dyes their hair here.

I’m really loving the white and purple though. A real shame that I’ve hurt my hair so much in France trying to keep it up though. I’m slathering on the coconut oil and other hair products, and I think I’ll survive.

So yes. There’s that.

And if you’d like a little slice of French life, I have a story for you (cleaned up from my Yelp review of a certain restaurant…). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not always a negative person. It was just out of the ordinary. There are plenty of good things about Paris and the people who live here! 🙂 But I feel obliged to warn people away from places that give bad customer service. I firmly believe in good customer service, and treating everyone kindly!!

So two friends and I went out to enjoy the Fête de la Musique last Saturday evening, and around 11pm snagged a small table at this café from which we intended to order some drinks and fries and enjoy the music in the square. I wasn’t timing our server, but it took at least 15 minutes until we were noticed. That’s OK, we weren’t in a rush, and it was a busy night. When he arrived, he asked if we were eating or drinking, and refused to serve us if we were only drinking. We clarified that we were also getting some fries. This seemed acceptable. He laid out some napkins. He later came back to get our orders. Friend #1 ordered a drink and the 2 orders of fries. Friend #2 wanted a hot drink, but he said they couldn’t serve that, so she continued to look at the menu. I was dying for some water to kill an oncoming dehydration headache, so I asked for a carafe. He yanked away our menus and spouted off a stream of French at us to the effect that he wouldn’t serve us water. We were so shocked we barely knew how to reply, and he walked off. 

For the next 20 minutes or so he ignored us, except when debating with my friends (whose French is much better than mine), one of whom is familiar with the law (having been a lawyer) who told him it’s against the law to refuse water. In the midst of this debate, I watched him wipe snot from his mustache with his bare finger, and go on to hand plates to the table next to us. He got within inches of my friend’s face at one point as she sat in her chair, and she held up her hands telling him to back off. When friend #1 went to find the manager, he took her chair and folded it up, putting it to the side. Friend #2 promptly went to rescue it, and then took her turn at finding management.

The owner of the restaurant brushed her aside several times, and another waitress appeared from behind the counter (at this point we were inside the restaurant, having given up the idea of staying there) to yell in my friend’s face. I was honestly concerned that she was going to get violent. My friend is a lovely, tiny girl, and for our massive server and this other waitress to get so physically threatening towards her was just shocking.

So, after being refused service in this manner, around midnight we left. A whole hour had passed in which he could have served us and everyone would have been content. Our table was as good as empty for that hour. So I could not see the logic in refusing to serve us.

And what is this place called? La Terrasse Sainte Catherine, in the Marais. You’ll know them by their servers wearing overalls.

La Terrasse of No Service
La Terrasse of No Service

 

I would just say don’t go there.

Let’s see, let’s see…. Well, I think this post is long enough for now. I’ll save something for next time! Though I have one more thing for you. I should have waited until I dyed my hair to do this one… But it just came to me one day while I was in LA, and I decided to record it right then and there! I’m really surprised I don’t have more views, Frozen parodies are just huuuuuuge right now! Share it if you like it.

 

My New Hobby

Last year, somehow I stumbled upon a website called ScoopThePoop.net and contacted the owner about perhaps creating some French pooh flags. Which he did. But between my trip to L.A., making a short film, and moving around way too much, I forgot about printing them up and flagging pooh.

Until now.

Knowing the end of my time in Paris is near (at least for now. I just don’t know what my plan is and will spend time sorting that out in L.A.) I had to do something. I couldn’t leave without taking action against a few of the things Parisians need to work on, because I want to make the world a better place. So I am letting certain irresponsible dog-owners know that we DO notice the crap they leave behind, and we are not OK with it.

And this is how.

Pooh to you!
Pooh to you!

Paris is well-known for the crap on the sidewalks and if I could just get the ball rolling on this public shaming, perhaps others will want to join me and continue the mission once I’m gone. But to do that, they will need the flags! So you will find the downloadable and printable PDFs in French and in English at the end of this post.

This new hobby has really changed my mood while out walking and stumbling upon (or narrowly avoiding) dog poop. As I walk my own dog, or as I’m walking to the store, or to class, or wherever I’m going…. instead of seeing a pile of stinking poop and silently going “AAAAAGGGGGH!” I reach into my pocket and pull out a flag, taking a bit of delight in the thought that this doggy’s owner most likely will pass by again and see what those of us who buy (biodegradable) doggy bags think. If you can’t read it, it says “Mon maître est un gros dégueulasse” which loosely translated means “My master is an inconsiderate jerk.” Or at least that’s what the English version says. I did ask one friend if it made sense to him, and he said yes, sooooo…. there you go.

I’ve already flagged almost a dozen poop piles, it’s about time to print out some more flags. I have only taken photos of two, because really, it just feels weird to photograph poop.

If you’re interested in shaming irresponsible dog owners in your English or French speaking city, please feel free to download these printable flags! Also feel free to print them on colourful paper. 🙂

English Pooh Flags

French Pooh Flags

And…. that’s not the only disgusting habit I’m going to try to get people to quit.

If you’ve spent any length of time in Paris, you’ve probably seen some grown man pissing in public, right? When there are cafés and bars and even free public toilets practically everywhere you look, there he stands in broad daylight, peeing on a wall.

Well. That drives me nuts, and I wish it hadn’t taken me until a trip to Barcelona to find a way to show them that it’s not appreciated.

Kiss Kiss Squirt Squirt
Kiss Kiss Squirt Squirt

Sold in packs of 6 for about 5€, I found pocket-sized water guns. Parfait. If you’re going to behave like a dog, I’ll treat you like a dog.

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. The only two opportunities I’ve had recently were 1. when I forgot to pack my gun and 2. when there were three drunk teenagers in a park and I was walking to the metro in heels and a corset (what, I was at the Paris Burlesque Festival). Not the best time to exact punishment. I hope I get to do it at least once before I leave, but if not… I will definitely be packing them in my suitcase on my way back. And girls, I have 5 extra if you’d like to join my gang.

Comic Con!

So I went to a Comic Con for the very first time. I couldn’t help but stare at the elaborate and creative costumes around me. Oh my gosh how I miss dressing up in costumes!

Press pass!

I had followed the team of Le Visiteur du Futur on Friday to make an English-language introduction to the series, and enjoyed hanging out so much that I decided to return on Sunday. This time bringing food. The food situation there isn’t the greatest, especially for a busy team running back and forth from autograph signings. Sunday was a madhouse! I was overwhelmed trying to make my way through the crowds, but luckily, Le Visiteur was part of the Ankama area, which had a large sign hanging from the ceiling that I could follow if I wasn’t too far away to see it.

The team was quite popular, and to get through the crowd and to their signing station quickly, sometimes disguises were used.

 

Batman?
Batman?

Here's looking at you

When is a Dorin like a writing desk?
When is a Dorin like a writing desk?

On Friday, I was kind of walking around in a daze, recovering from a bit of a cold (but I don’t want to call it a cold! It was my fault for staying up Saturday night fighting with the washing machine!), a purse full of tissues. On Sunday, it was François’ turn. I hope he didn’t get it from me. But some drugs and a little nap in the VIP room later, and he was as good as new! Sadly, he missed a bit of autograph signing, and I felt a little bad for the fans who would have liked to meet him.

It was quite a long weekend for everyone, I can’t imagine signing autographs for hours each day. Oh, and unlike the Buffy Reunion folks – for free. I’m disappointed with the example that our American actors set. Your fans are why you’re even here!! Anyway, that’s beside the point.

I met several nice people that I hope to work with in the future, and had a lot of fun just spending time with a great group of creative French people. I was a bit embarrassed that my French is still so poor that it is still near impossible for me to follow or join in a conversation, but everyone was sweet about it. And I’m not giving up!

I took a little video, though I am no filmmaker… I hope you enjoy a little backstage peek at Comic Con/Japan Expo 2013 🙂

And by the way, I turned into an elf.

Photo bomb.
Photo bomb.

 

How Can You Afford To Travel?

It’s asked. It’s thought. And sometimes my answer is “I can’t.” At the moment I’m in a space where I just have to have faith that if I keep working hard and smart that I will get out of this hole and back to a bit of stability. But the answer to the question of “how can you afford to travel?” right now is…. “How can I afford not to?”

I’m realizing that I can’t afford to stay in Paris, at least not comfortably. But I have to stick around for a few more months for some classes, meetings, and to get to India in November with a shorter and cheaper flight (and vaccinations). My solution to the “I can’t afford to live here anymore” situation? Travel. Yeah. That thing you think you do only when you have money.

But I can explain. I took the leap and bought a round trip ticket to Barcelona, and another roundtrip from there to Ghana. In total, this cost me less than 900€ and will take me from July 31 to September 19. To couchsurf or rent a room in Spain will end up costing me maybe 200-300€. And I can easily couchsurf the rest of September in Paris. So right there is about 1200€, or 600€ a month, which is equal to or less than what I would pay for a room or studio in Paris. BUT I get a grand new adventure out of it, in places where everything else is cheaper. So I’ll be lowering my living costs. Yes, for the moment, I had to put the tickets on a credit card because I don’t get paid that far in advance and am squeezing every last dime (er…. centime?) but I think it was worth it.

I think traveling can frequently be cheaper than staying in one place, especially if you use couchsurfing.org or helpx.net for your accommodations. Yes, airfare can be a big cost, but if you plan carefully, you still could be saving more money than you’d spend at home on rent and food (and gas, etc….). If you have a mileage card, that can help you out. I don’t have one, but maybe I’ll get one in the next year if they’ll approve me!

So that said… yes, surprise! My summer plans are to go to Barcelona and Ghana. While in Barcelona I want to make a music video for an original song (still being composed, and still seeking a musician to help me record it!) and while in Ghana I will be filming at my friend’s computer school.

In other news… I’ve made a little video about the past 2 weeks, since I’ve been doing some kind of interesting things! Filming a short starring my dog, pretending to be military, going to the White Dinner, dancing along the Seine….. It’s summertime. My favourite time in Paris. Well… if it would stop freaking raining.

And now…

Welcome to France?

My brain is so fried that I don’t even know where to begin.

This is not the first time I’ve had to go to the Centre de Réception des Étrangers, but it was certainly the worst.

I showed up with my dog around 8:30AM to meet a crowd of people already standing and sitting in a line that reached out of the alley of 19-21 rue Truffaut. Lovely. Well, I had no choice. I got in line and soon made friends with a Canadian girl standing next to me.

By 10AM we had gotten much closer to the door, but it may have just been an illusion created by the bizarre fact that the people at the head of the line figured that standing closer together would somehow be beneficial. The sun started to peer out from behind the neighbouring building. I joked that at some point it would go behind the tree and we would have shade again. We didn’t think we would actually be out there long enough for that to happen. But we were, and it did.

But wait, there’s more!

I’m Filming in Paris!

Did you miss me?

As you know, I’m participating in the 168 Hour Film Project again this year, and it’s production week! My friend Jack, from Canada, is here and we’ve been working hard. First writing the script, then finding locations, finding our cast and crew, and finally – filming!

It took us several days to come up with our story, and several more to iron out the dialogue. Once the dialogue was pretty much set, we translated it into French. Yep, the film is in French. We held a rehearsal with the actors on Wednesday night, and made some more adjustments to the dialogue and “mise en scene” as it’s called.

But wait, there’s more!

The White Butterflies

butterflies

So I was walking along the canal Saint Martin with a friend and our cameras, and we came upon some butterflies. As we looked around, we saw butterflies on almost every surface – the walls, the sidewalks, the bridge!

So we asked someone what was going on, and we were directed to a man in a blue shirt and told that he was the artist.

He explained to us that his name was Milan Rai and he was from Nepal. He’d started the project there, and started traveling with it.

He talked to me for a minute on video so I could share it here with you, since that’s so much better than me just writing about it, right?

But wait, there’s more!

Velib in the Night

 

Velib

So have you heard about the public bike system in Paris? It’s called the Velib and I hadn’t ever really tried it til now. There was that one time, when I followed someone else on a bike for a short distance, but this time was different.

Friday night I met up with two other vegans from a meetup group at a dance party on the Seine. The theme of the night was Canada. I’m not sure how that’s a theme, and I didn’t notice anyone acting obviously Canadian, but whatever. I’d never done “rock” dancing before, and this was my chance to see what it was all about. After the initial awkwardness of learning some moves, I did a little do-see-do-ing with a few dancing partners and picked out my favourite lead of the night. I’m a good dancer if I’ve got a good lead. I mean, 90% of the time. 10% of the time I might miss a cue and stand there befuddled until he twirls me in the right direction. Anyway it was a great night. BUT we stayed a little too late.

But wait, there’s more!