Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Boy Hardy

I can't wait another day to talk about Hardy. I met Hardy in December last year in Toronto. I spotted him in this store at the Scarborough Town Centre. It was one of the more expensive little boutique know the kind that don't usually have many people because it is usually too expensive. Anyways, he was standing there looking so handsome and proud it was impossible not to notice him. I had to have him although I wasn't sure if the price I was to pay would be worth it. In December after I met him, we didn't hang out that much as I was so busy getting ready for France. This was also because I knew he was going to come with me.

And yes, Hardy came to France with me but at first I didn't really keep in contact with him or pay him any mind. I was so busy trying to learn about French culture. These last three months though, I turned to him when I was in need. When I needed someone to help me on my trip to Porto, he helped without question. Same thing on my trips to Madrid, Brussels, Dublin, London, Rome and Venice. He has been there for me, never complaining, even when I treat him oh so wrong.

Hardy, you see, is my little carry-on suitcase. I have taken the poor thing through so many places he probably would not have gone to by himself. He spent the day rolling through Porto in drizzling rain, a day rolling through Madrid in 40 degrees weather and many hours wandering around with me because I could be counted on to get lost even on my way to my hostel/host's place. He has been rolled through dirt so many times...He's fallen quite hard in all the aforementioned cities at least once. I stuffed him to the brim and then some in Madrid. But the little trooper did not even whimper.

About 3 weeks ago, he developed some sort of physical problem. His pull-out handle keeps getting stuck or coming out altogether, no doubt from my mistreatment of him. Quite embarassing for him I'm sure. Especially since sometimes when this happens, I just open him up, for all and sundry to see. Then I usually stick my hand inside him to help his handle back down. Le pauvre!

Hardy is worth what I paid for him and I do not want him to have to be put down before I leave Paris. Therefore, I am willing the little fella to make it back home to Toronto safe and sound. Then we can see about getting him all fixed up. After all, I chose him right. He has a lifetime warranty.

Oh To Be In Paris (Part V)

So much has happened in this last month that I wanted to report. I penned many entries in my head but then when I had to sit and type them out I just couldn't find the time to sit and do it. Anyways, instead of updates first, I decided to give you all what I promised. One more installment of this Oh To be In Paris series. This will likely be the last in the series....this year.

Ok, here goes and if I forget and remember more later, I will just add to this list instead of creating another one.

1) Cheese - I think I mentioned this already but I will again. Up until last week, I had no less than 4 different types of cheese in my fridge. Even this week, my last full week, I have two different kinds: goat cheese and parmesan. French supermarkets beat N. American ones flat out in this regard. When I go to the supermarket here, there are SO many types of cheese and I love cheese so that it great. Plus nice cheese too that would cost loads in N. America. Apparently, Napoleon at one point lamented ''How can one rule a country with 300 different types of cheese'' or something to that effect. There are even more types now since the days of Napoleon. Me likey.

2) Condoms at subway stations. Yes, at my current subway station, there is, no lie, a condom dispenser machine at the exit. Forget all the other emergencies one could have. Apparently, needing a condom is at the top of the emergency list in my area. And it isn't even like I live in a club area or anything.

3) In a similar vein, Paris is the only city where I've been to a club that has a breathalyzer machine at the club. I thought that was ingenious. Pay 1Euro, blow into it and see your blood alcohol level. Many clubs all over the world could do well to install some of those. That may help convince some people who think they are not too drunk to not drive. Every little counts in the fight against drunk driving.

4) In France, there are hardly any commercials during tv shows. Often, there are none. My roommate was telling me that the French president also recently said he will be making there be no commercials on public TV. Unlike in North America where the public channels have the most commercials, in France they are like cable channels in terms of the commercial breaks that they have. Love it.

5) I have mentioned the kissing couples on the Paris metro. What I didn't mention was that Paris is also the city where I have seen the most couples on the metro with one half of the couple, usually the woman, the man did something wrong. The man is usually all apologetic but no matter what he says or tries to do is not able to stop the tears flowing down the woman's face. I can tell the man did something wrong because as he tries to wipe the woman's face she usually pushes his hand away. I guess one of the cities of love is also a city of heartbreak.