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B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Sunday, October 03, 2004

European Countries Ranked by Someone With No Credentials Part 2 


This is a small Dutch town that is best known for being the birth place of Jan Vermeer. It's small and Dutch and a town, but has one impressive church (The New Church of Delft) with a tiny winding staircase to the top of a tower that seems to have a habit of either catching on fire or falling down a lot (and of all the towers I went up, this one was the only one to give me any sense of vertigo; the ledge is tiny) and it is terribly beautiful. It seems a bit strange to be criticizing The Hague for not exactly brimming with excitement, and then rank Delft above it, but there you go; I'm not one for consistency in reasoning.



The walk along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe is like cocaine for a guy who likes to wander into stores randomly and browse around, all the time hoping to bump into a gorgeous French girl and have one of those movie moments (didn't happen; why don't they make movies about sitting in French restarants having a snotty French waiter throw bread at you? You know, what actually happens in Paris?). The Virgin music store is the biggest/best/most comprehensive record store I've ever encountered (all of Sleater-Kinney's albums?).

The usual tourist hotspot architectural wonders are amazing, when not swarmed by roughly half a million tourists.

The Arc de Triomphe itself is actually kind of awe-inspiring, though I couldn't pin-point why; in my emotional confusion I climbed to the top in the hope of seeing an accident at the world's largest roundabout. Again, didn't happen; one crash every three minutes, my arse. (My friend told me this fact in support of his claim that no vehicle is insured in Paris for accidents that happen at this roundabout.)

Lying in the grass in one of the parks as the sun beats down, quietly dozing off to overcome museum fatigue. (Didn't go to the Louvre - line was too long, I was impatient, as usual. Next time.)

The subway system is fantastic. Less than two minutes between stops, cheap, clean etc, etc. Seoul is now a distant second.


Too many tourists, though what did I expect travelling in the height of summer? But I went to many cities that were overrun by people like myself, and Paris was the only one that seemed actively impersonal because of it. This is just the impression I got, a sense of come-one-come-all-give-us-your-money-and-get-the-hell-out type of attitude.

French service is ridiculously rude. You know the stereotype, the snobby French waiter who turns up his nose if you can't speak French and clatters the cutlery and sighs when you don't order expensive enough things? Is it still a stereotype if it's all true? It's not as if I was turning up to restaurants in jandals and stubbies, either (3 years in Korea has taught me that its a good thing to follow the local social customs). And it wasn't just waiters, either; guys selling tickets in the subway actively ripped me off, refusing to sell me a ticket unless I bought two ("You have to buy a return"). Of course, the automatic ticket machines sort of nullified his threat. Etc, etc.


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