2 a.m. Bus is scheduled for Copenhagen 2:25 a.m. I am sitting at the station being asked the time every minute or so by a drunk kid. His bus leaves at 2:20 a.m or something, and he is afraid he might just miss it. He is drunk, but sensible.
2:15 a.m. I get on my bus. So far, most of my experiences on buses from Gothenburg has been of traveling in a bus half full or less. Today is different. Luckily I get a seat midway. I want to be close the the door so I can get off fast at the airport, which is one stop before the final destination.

Later there are people sitting and sleeping in the middle passage.

6:10 a.m. I get a call from Fuad, who says he is 10 minutes away from the airport, I think I am too, I tell him. I drop off at the airport a little after I finish talking to him. I see Fuad at the check-in line. He almost has no hair. A haircut! Good for him. Though he looks too thin now. This is it then. The beginning of our trip. Pretty soon, we shall be in Paris.

On the plane, Fuad starts chatting with the lady beside him. She is from USA, and a trainee sculptor. Then he drags me in to the conversation saying I am an artist. I fumble to disagree, and go on to tell her that I am only studying a little about art at so and so in Sweden. We have a pleasant conversation. She likes the idea of 'Art and Technology' even though I am nowhere-near-enthusiastic. She gives us pointers on the accent of the people in Barcelona. Apparently, they pronounce the 'C's as a
slippery "th" (for example on 'Gracias' [I think i noticed that later on in Barcelona]).

It is now sometime after 8 a.m. First thing I notice coming out of the plane is the cold wind. At the airport, we wonder how to contact Fuad's friend who said will pick us up. Fuad steps out to find a payphone, and steps back in a few seconds later with another guy. This is our contact in Paris, Sylvant. He drives us to his home in the suburbs [metro stop Les Vesinet - Les Pecq]. I sleep most of the way.

They have a very nice home, well kept and decorated. Well, I suppose most houses with families and conscious singles even have their homes that way, but being the mess that I am, I find it very pleasant and absorb it in. They have old fashioned furniture and souvenirs, turns out they have a history with Tunisia. We meet Sylvant's parents, Florence and Jean-Cristoff.

We only stop to drop our bags off and we are ready for action. We hit town.

We land in a small area in town near about the St. Michel sculpture, known to be a spot popular among students. The idea is to get lunch, cheap. Over lunch we ask Sylvant about Paris. We are sitting overlooking a Tunisian sweet shop and pretty soon all 3 of us are agreeing on getting dessert from there. The sweets look familiar to the sweets and pithas we have at home in Bangladesh. After lunch, Fuad and Sylvant pick the same sweet (a square thing, like a piece of brownie), and I choose a long thing that remind me of a pitha I like but cannot quite put a name to it. We take the sweets with us on our walk, so to not waste time in the process of eating. The sweets are just way tooo sweet and I think if I ate the whole thing my throat would be burning from it. We are soon standing outside the St. Michel monument, and Sylvant explains that the good saint once slaughtered a dragon. There are book shops and cafes on the sides of the road that lie on each side of the monument. Its on an island if you like to think of it. There is people all around it, a busy part of the city. I have been trying to look at people and trying to figure out which are the Parisians and which the aliens. Fuad and I of course also stand out, weirder than aliens maybe, and there are some people watching us. Sweet.

The truth is, people are not easy to make out here. France has a pretty large community of citizens who came in from other countries. Its less in Sweden and its easy to make out the Swedish face. I have however spotted some faces similar to the ones I know (like of Cecil, Freddy, or Sylvant, his mother or sister).

We walk over a bridge to go see St. Notre Dame’s Cathedral. Crossing the bridge took us to L’ile de Cite – an island. The cathedral’s outside is swarming with tourists and cameras. We walk towards the gate avoiding as best we can getting inside someone’s picture. The inside is enormous, quite dark and also very crowded. Did I miss beautiful? It is. The soft light also helps it. Some of the people are walking around and taking pictures, and some are actually sitting down and trying to get a moment of penance or thought or something. We were the former, and feeling sorry for the latter. Sylvant did a lot of explaining about the saints, and the biblical scenes that from the artwork.

I had a tour plan with me (Thank your Cecil for that), and on top of that, Sylvant too. So the tour was feeling very guided. We decided next to go get some ice cream, as Cecil had suggested (actually, maybe her mother) on the plan. We stop in front of Glace Bertillon. It’s a really small shop, but we start a queue, and soon there are many people in that queue. Business is good. With our ice cream we continue walking around and end up sitting on a wall by the side of the road. The road is on one side, and river Seine on the other. I enjoy the moment, the houses are really different from the ones in Sweden, the colors are nicer I think. Lots of windows and balconies are decorated with plants. The rails on the windows and balcony are designed nicely. Our next destination is to be the Musee d’Orsay. On a Tuesday, this is the only museum that is open in Paris, and it is a good museum for paintings of the impressionistic movement.

The walk has been long and we are still not there yet. The Louvre is on our left, across the river. I see two girls with the big round and flat hats that I have known to be typically French. They were also wearing white and black horizontal striped tops! I think that also holds popular here traditionally.

Musee d’Orsay has glass doors. Anything more was hard to see for the crowd in front of it. The line for tickets was really disheartening, and the closing hours on top of that did not present a good possibility for us at the time. Sylvant has to leave us now to go meet a friend of his, and the two of us decide to go see the Eiffel Tower.

We get off at the destined metro stop, and take the steps to get to ground level. I spin around searching the sky for the tip of the tower. Where I fail, Fuad is successful, and he points me in the right direction. I follow his lead through zebra crossings and narrow streets and soon we are near enough to the monster. It is huge, and I have to bend my head pretty far to see its highest point. We sit on a grass area and just relax for a while. I am a lazy person and wonder why anyone would think of building such a thing! Fuad points out that at least its handy for setting up telecommunication hardware.

Later we are tricked by our tired brains maybe, and find ourselves in the queue for the ride up to the top of the tower. Well, from then on, standing in line was the thing to do, every time the lift had to be taken up, or down. The whole standing in line was such a bad experience, it took out any possibilities of joy there might have been in the actual act of looking down from such heights. I am not even going to talk about it, except to say that the whole ordeal took more that 2 hours.