Friday, September 4, 2009

Les vacances sont finies. Vive les vacances!

For those of you who have not been paying attention, here's a quick summary : we got back to Paris on Tuesday the 25th in the evening but didn't have to go back to school until Thursday the 3rd of September (in the morning, which should go without saying but we live in France, so nothing like that is ever for sure...). Anyway, if you calculate right, you'll realize that that left us some 8 more days of summer vacation! Luckily, we live in Paris, home of the famed Eiffle tower which is beautiful day and night and also in between. (Seeing as only two days already took three posts to tell, you should be settling yourselves in for a good, LONG post!)

There are plenty of things to do here in Paris to fill a few days of vacation. There are places to go, parks to throw balls in, museums to visit, exhibits to see and... we did.
For the last 8 months, we've been wanting to see an exhibit called Crime Expo at La Cité des Sciences et des Industries à La Villette, but there are so gosh dang many people who want to go, you have to reserve in advance. When Mom tried but couldn't do it by internet - the only possible way - we decided just to go on over and buy the tickets one day in advance. So, Mom and I - Henry that is - headed off to La Villette on roller blades and Vélib - the famous, cheap bicycle service of Paris. Here we go.

I had to wait for Mom a lot. She's kind of slow...

Here I am waiting for Mom again. I found an entertaining activity while waiting - jumping over the stiles that line the sidewalks. Mom thought you gentlemen would appreciate my bravour! That's the canal de l'Ourq you see in the back ground. Isn't La Villette beautiful? We love it!

Although we do suspect that the architects put bumpy paving stones down everywhere in order to stop people, mostly pirates, from roller blading fast, in smooth comfort... Sometimes you just have to follow the straight and narrow in France!

Once we'd bought the tickets, I couldn't resist the siren-like call of the BIG fish in the aquarium downstairs.

I'd like to have an aquarium like this one...

After a chemical yellow slurpee for a snack, Mom and I had our picture taken together by a passing security guard on a bicycle - who offered to do it for us, Mom wants me to say in passing. (She found him so friendly and handsome that she couldn't help herself, she just had to snap his picture too. Then they talked for a long time while I was politely bored...)

We then headed over to the sunken bicycle sculpture where the best lawns for playing ball are. They've set up a new, floating bridge which gets you there much faster than before. Mom got all excited and took about 15 photos of the bridge but don't worry, here's just one.


I had to throw HARD, but I got it this far :

30 and a half of Mom's big steps. Pretty good, huh? Grangerson, look out, here I come!
In some of these pictures it looks like we're all alone...

...but I soon found the place where the other kids were hanging out :

On the speedy-merry-go-round, of course. This is the same one Stella fell off of a few years back and broke her arm the day before flying to Detroit for the summer... Remember the swimming-with-the-cast pictures?
On the way home, we saw...

...yep, that's a ferret on that thar leash! I'm beginning to doubt 'twas a ferret made the hole in the Drôme, though...
Now that we had the tickets to Crime Expo, we really had to go back the next day... Here we go!

Mom snapped a picture as I flew by rue Burnouf and couldn't help posting it for old time's sake. (For any newcomers - or any oldtimers with a touch of Alzheimer's -, Max, that's my eldest brother, was born when Mom and Papa lived at 5, rue Burnouf.)

It was a long, hot ride! But we had fun while waiting for Stella to arrive. (Is it my imagination or are we pirates always waiting on the women?)

Stella would not be teased, coaxed or bamboozled onto any means of open-air, rolling locomotion. NOT cool. She even pretended not to know me when she finally arrived...

Then, just as I was beginning to think maybe it wasn't her...

... she pushed me to see if I'd fall off my rollerblades! AH! That's our Stella, no mistake there!
We got safely to the Expo nonobstant - which is a fancy French word for despite which we're trying to learn how to use, so - nonobstant all Stella's best efforts to destabalize us, we arrived safely. (Neither did she manage to throw us off the escalator, Thank heavens!)

(Nor did she shoot us with this gun.)

(That's actually Malcolm's hand and he actually took about 15 photos from different angles but I figured one would be enough.) The following window also confirmed what Monique and John suspected earlier this summer : the tooth that Malcolm lost was NOT an adult tooth with root!

There are some cool ways of showing up on big screens in this exhibit. So, nonobstant all Stella's previous treachery, here was a chance for some sibling togetherness...

... before she once again put some distance between herself and us.

Then, another chemically colorful slurpee snack.

Malcolm liked his...

...but I prefer chemical yellow to soilant green!

Over the next few days - influenced by Crime Expo? - we played dress up
(Guess who?)...

...we played Clue (Malcolm won the first game, Mom the next)...

...we had fun torturing a cob of corn I'd brought back from La Drôme...

...and - nothing to do with Crime Expo - we bought a fish.

I had won a coupon for a free fish at the end-of-the-school-year fair in June so it was time to cash in on my prize!

Mom and I watched him for hours...

I had prepared his bowl the day before with Papa so all we had to do was transfer him to it. I waited and waited to see if he would go through the bars of the ladder...

...and he DID!
Then he played with the marbles and swam happily!

He doesn't have a name yet and I'm still open to suggestions (Monique and John's have been pretty good so far : Flame Dancer, Sparrow's Ruby and the unforgettable Flipper...). So, if you want to get in on the fun and name this beauty of a Beta Slendens, leave us a comment!

Good night fish in Henry's room!


  1. For the fish's name I suggest Gonzago, recommending my skills to all of you and justifying this choice by pointing out that nobody in the family is likely to have thought of that, and by reminding you that I once named a cat Total Cheese, and everybody liked it. I think Gonzago has a certain Spanish nobility, elegance, color, and wonderful fins.

  2. I vote for Flipper. Although, around the Gettysburg Family household we generally don't name fish. They never seem to last too long. "Is the blue one still alive?" "Hey-Mom- the little one is floating by the filter." Names aren't necessary.

  3. What a spectacular picture story! I remember going to La Villette with your Mom a long time ago and I too thought it was a beautiful place. Max was a rather little boy then...and now he has two pirates in his family.
    Here are some name suggestions for your beautiful fish:
    Geronimo - just because one can really shout it
    Angelwings - too cute, perhaps?
    Red Wings - much more maccho; and they skate on frozen water here in Michigan; tough too, almost like pirates...
    I like your fishbowl with those pretty marbles and the ladder, too. Very elegant allto-gether!
    Take good care of her and don't overfeed...