Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dining delights in Paris

Our final day also seemed to have a food orientation – so it is a good job a large number of calories were burnt in the last week on the slopes.

After our routine coffee & croissant/pain au chocolat we walked over to the La Grand Épicerie.  The Grand Epicerie is the food hall of the department store Le Bon Marché.  I think anything you could buy almost any food item there.  We did enjoy doing some window shopping.  We only bought some Valhrona Guanaja Chocolate and Orange Candied Chocolates – which was pretty restrained.  (Even more restrained is the fact they remained unopened in our fridge, for nearly a week!)
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reflection in the spotty mirror of our breakfast bakery
Lunch was a simple pasta affair as we had a booking for this evening and didn't want to ruin our appetites. 

Our table was alongside that of an older French couple.  They obviously heard us speaking English through our meal and as we were paying bill they couldn’t curb their inquisitiveness any further and the wife asked in French What country were we from? And pointing at my Kathmandu jacket – did we come from Kathmandu?  So through a series of bad French translations on my part an odd conversation ensued.  We said we were from New Zealand.  The husband then began quite a long dialogue with waving hand gestures which culminated with the words “Greenpeace” and a wry smile  - he still associated NZ with the Rainbow warrior bombing.  They were ‘country people’ on a day trip from the city of Chartres and we told them were returning to Laos the next day.  Probably gave them something different to talk about.

Dinner was the 2nd gourmet affair in 2 days.  I had read about Lilane restaurant which was near our hotel and it had received unanimously good reviews, but was still described as being flying under the radar.  At 7:30 this time, we were still the 1st people in the restaurant, but it did fill quickly after that.
Andrew insisted on a glass of pink Champagne to start.  The 3 a la carte courses were done beautifully - €33 each (plus a superb recommended wine)- miam miam!  Both mains, Fillet Steak & the Pork braised in Milk were as good as the best we have had anywhere.


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Having travelled the NZ/Europe route numerous times neither of us have really been affected by jet lag. Sometimes travelling 36 hours straight, we have slotted into the new time zone with no problems.
Flying only 10.5 hours Paris – Hanoi, 3 hours stopover then 1 hour onto Vientiane didn’t seem particularly daunting. How WRONG can you be?

Sunday, we arrived back in Vientiane at 11am and like good travellers soldiered through the day until 9pm, when we happily dropped off to sleep. It is about here where I think the body clocks got badly out of whack.

I woke when Andrew started moving in the morning. I asked what the time was and thought he was joking when he said 12:30pm. But noooooo, it was 12:30pm. Andrew had slept for 15 hours straight. I’m not the worlds best sleeper and had been awake between 1:30am and about 5am – which is sometimes not unusual for me – even I had slept nearly 12 hours.

Monday was great and we had a great day back in VTE. Off to bed about 10pm – but we were 100% wide awake. Neither of us could drop off. About 3:00am we had the lights on doing some planning and searching for airfares on the internet. About 4:00am we tried sleep again. No, not a wink.
The pattern went
Sunday +15 hours sleep
Monday 0 hours
Tuesday slept 2 hours, awake for hours, dropped off about 5am for another 2 hours sleep
Wednesday mixed, but less extreme and by Thursday things were heading back to normal.

Do NOT want to experience that again!

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