Pink Trash Travels

Pink Trash Has Landed

Finally, I’m connected. Though, it’s not official. Fortunately for my sanity, we can latch onto a wireless connection in the area. We stumbled across it by mistake. But believe me, it’s a welcome find.

The past 11 days have been filled with a variety of adventures and interesting experiences. With so many details running through my mind, I thought the best way to capture my thoughts was to briefly describe each one (in no specific order). Consider it a teaser for my book, Pink Trash Travels, available from Bantam Books Fall 2006! Well, again, not officially. But we can only hope!

• I'm meeting interesting people. As I stood in the check-in line in Chicago, I introduced myself to Virginia, a spunky Australian pixie who lives in Switzerland. I was intrigued by her accent and resemblance to Kylie Minogue. After a 45 minute conversation, Chris and I are now invited to explore the alps with her and her husband.

• Paris needs a new airport – or at least an updated one. For such a beautiful city, why are you welcomed by a terminal smelling of urine and covered with cigarette butts?

• Our flat is amazing. It’s big. It’s bright. It’s beautiful. And with our furniture from Chicago, it’s beginning to truly feel like home. But nothing is perfect. For starters, the odor from the restaurant below fills the entryway and stairway to our flat. Fortunately, when you open the windows, it dissipates to a degree. Febreeze also helps. But at $5 a bottle, I can only spray so often. I don’t remember the smell when we initially looked at the flat. But then again, after looking at 28 locations, I don’t’ remember much. In addition, when the windows are open, the flat is loud. It adds character during the day, but at night, you want the city sounds to go away. Fortunately, the master bedroom is located in the back, off the street. So the only noise you hear are servers tossing wine bottles in the recycling tubs below. I’ve posted a sign asking for them to be respectful of tenants and their sleeping habits. Of course, it was in French. We wouldn’t want them to think we’re rude Americans. For guests staying in the second bedroom facing Rue St. Honoré, during the hot days of summer, we’ll either have to provide a fan with sufficient airflow or an endless supply of earplugs.

• The Parisians know how to bake. The bread is rich with flavor and texture. Yes, it’s carbohydrates. But with all the walking we do, I need the energy and nutrition. I don’t’ want to return to the states looking like a stick figure.

• After spending over $1,400 on satellite television, I still only get a few new shows from the states. Lost, Desperate Housewives, CSI, Two and a Half Men to name a few. Most of the channels are filled with older programming such as Soap, Kate and Allie, Will & Grace, Cheers, the Simpsons, etc. Don’t’ get me wrong; these are great to watch at 2:00 o’clock in the morning while I eat a bowl of delicious cereal loaded with whole grains and chocolate (another found treasure). But being the entertainment whore I am, I feel somewhat disconnected – especially once the new season launches September 19th. What will I do without Ellen? I’ve already contacted her to learn of any options I have regarding her program. Maybe she’ll have sympathy and send me weekly DVDs. And what about Martha’s show(s), Everybody Hates Chris and Invasion? There are, however, a few shows available only in the UK I’ll be fortunate to receive including “Chasing Fame” with Lisa Scott-Lee (former Steps singer) and the X-Factor (Simon Cowell’s new talent contest). Now, if I’ll only be able to understand what they’re saying. They be speaking English, but it at times sounds like Rubbish.

• I may not have my own garden, but there are plenty around to enjoy. Yesterday, for example, I spent an hour or so sunning myself in the Palais Royale Gardens. Next to me, a small girl, or une femme, played with a wooden boat in the fountain as her mom knit a scarf, hat or small sweater for Fifi.

• Speaking of scarves, even though it’s 85 degrees, Parisians where jeans, long sleeve shirts, jackets and an accompanying scarf for a splash of color and pizzaz. Aren't they hot?

• I’ve been hesitant to wear shorts over the past week. Though, I finally broke down on Monday and slipped on my favorite pair of cargo shorts. I realized I’m going to embrace French culture while staying true to my Abercrombie roots.

• Buying groceries can be challenging. Apparently, there is no standard for nutrition labeling. Some have it, some don’t. If not, I keep on walking. The last thing I need to do is buy a legume dish loaded with fat. And unlike America where you weigh produce at the checkout, in Paris you calculate costs BEFORE you pay. If you don’t, the seated clerk gives you a nasty look and points a twitching finger in your face. James, a friend who lived in Paris a few years back, even warned me about purchasing fruits and vegetables. “Don’t forget,” he said. I forgot. I’ll never forget again.

• A few simple phrases can come in handy. I’ve uttered the words “Pardon, je parle tres peaux France” numerous times over the past few days with much success. This way, when someone starts to talk to me, or I try to talk to someone else, they understand I don’t speak much French. If they speak English, the conversation continues. If not, we both laugh and continue our day. This is how I actually made my first acquaintance at the gym. Other than that, I’m mostly a mute.

• I’ve seen numerous displays of defecating in public. Yesterday, as I walked through the Palais Royale Gardens, I heard a grunt quickly followed by a foul smell. To my left, a bearded man layered with four coats was squatting in the corner with his pants to his knees. Isn’t that what the subway is for?

• Pizza Hut is better than in the U.S. This past weekend, Chris and I ventured out to the burbs to shop at IKEA. Since our flat was unfurnished, it has no light fixtures, etc. We thought IKEA would be a great place to purchase not only inexpensive and functional fixtures but also houseplants. I refuse to pay $100 for a plant to sit on the floor. As we left, we spotted a Pizza Hut to our left. It was 6:00 o’clock and they were just opening. We sat down, had a large glass of Pepsi Max with ice (a special treat since most establishments don’t provide ice) and a Cheezy Crust pie. The beef was flavorful. The sauce not too salty. The crust soft and filled with cheese. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect meal. Next time, it’s KFC.

• Don’t wash your whites on the hottest setting. If so, they will literally melt and turn grey.

• We belong to a fabulous gym. It just opened last January. It’s basically a cross between a fitness center and spa. Rich, dark woods, natural stone and blues and browns adorn the space. The men’s locker room is actually an old wine cellar with arched, brick hallways. The equipment is new and the clientele is attractive. All the more reason to go everyday. That, and the fact that it costs you about $4/day so you’d better use it. It definitely gives us great ideas for our possible business venture when we return to the states.

• Fortunately for me, they love their dance music. The radio stations and cable satellite system are filled with pounding beats and euro pop. Give me my MTV Dance again, and again, and again!

• Maddie loves baguettes. She’s still not the biggest fan of peeing on the sidewalk, but she’s adjusting.

• Everyone looks gay. In the states, you usually can spot a ding ding a mile away. Though, I will admit, it’s becoming more challenging everyday. In Paris, it’s virtually impossible. By wearing impressionable denim, sporty jackets, tight t-shirts, interesting sneakers and aviator glasses, the metrosexual doesn’t exist. It’s homosexual, by U.S. standards, 24/7.

That's it for now. Check back each day for new blogs and pics. After all, you just never know where Pink Trash will go!

And You Think Parisians Are Rude!

Over the past few days, I've been on a quest. I've needed to retrieve signatures from the U.S.D.A. office here in Chicago so our pets could relocate to Paris. What was reconfirmed to me is that Americans can be just as rude and inconsiderate as the perception that exists with the French.

As I sat in the lobbby at the U.S.D.A. office, the decor sucked all the life from my body. I thought, "Is this the most drab and boring office in America?" How can indiviuals work in such vanilla conditions? Then it happened. A robust man with khakis and a blue shirt pointed to me, curled his finger and said, "Follow me." As we walked, he said nothing. I smiled and a tried to make conversation. It was useless. This man was bitter. From there, it went downhill.

Since there was some confusion on paperwork, I was fortunate enough to return to the office today. I couldn't wait to see my bitter buddy again. He didn't disappoint. According to others waiting in the office, Mr. Fuddy Duddy apparently scowls 24/7.

Was this a test from above? Or, is it just a taste of things to come? I have to believe, based on our experience in Paris a few weeks ago, that if you smile, and make an effort to speak French, the Parisians will come to your aide. There's nothing more effective than flashing your pearly whites.

So to you Mr. Poopy Pants, I wish you the very best. And if you ever find yourself in Paris, I hope the French run the other direction. I know I will.

It's Begun

Though I don't leave until August 18th, Pink Trash Travels appears to be underway. With my partner Chris' departure this past Monday, and the movers activity this week, my sense of being has shifted from calmness to nervousness with a hint of nausea. Though, I have to admit, my saving grace may well come from an unexpected source: the television.

Last night, I had the chance to watch the final episode of Queer as Folk. Yes, the show is tragically askew. But wasn't Dynasty and Melrose Place often targeted for similiar behavior? What caught my ear was a phrase noted prior to the show. An announcer stated, "With all endings come new beginnings." These few simple words hit home.

I quickly realized that even though our time in Chicago is nearing the end, we have so many new adventures awaiting our friends and family in Paris and Europe. For most, it's not goodbye. But rather, it's see you later.

My final days are filled with trips to Chipotle and Taco Bell. From what understand, Parisians aren't too familiar with refried beans. I count the minutes with my friends and cherish the moments we spend together - from playing croquet in the park to watching Kelly Clarkson perform along the lake. I spend time with my dearest Dailey knowing that even though she won't make the trip, her heart and soul will be with us along the way.

So thank you to the producers of Queer as Folk. Who knew your depiction of exaggerated gay "sexcapades" would benefit one ready for an adventure of a lifetime.