Paris in Spring

Long ago, well, this past March, I was on another tour, this time through France.  The tour was quite hectic. We were traveling nearly every day but had a few days off here and there. Some of them were spent in Ireland, and the others were spent in Paris, two not-so-shabby places.  One of the coolest things about our time in Paris was our gig at the Olympia Theater. A friend of mine from Ireland who has been living in Paris for years, Aidan, came to see the show and explained to me that the Olympia might be the best known theater in Paris. There is a long list of French and International acts that have played there. It was interesting to think of all the shenanigans that might have gone on backstage. Probably nothing as cool as this:

Some chunes backstage

There was a bar backstage which we crowded into after the show, sharing a few drinks where Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Judy Garland and many other famous and talented people had gone before us. It was a bit surreal.

A crappy photo of the bar at the Paris Olympia

The bar at the Paris Olympia

I had been in Paris before, almost ten years before actually. I was backpacking through Europe with a friend after college. We took care of many of the touristy things, a day at the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Champs-Elysées, L’Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, Versailles…all that jazz. I didn’t really have a plan for Paris this time around, which is not like me. I had become the de facto tour guide in China because I wanted to maximize any free time I had. But when I got to Paris I was like, eh, I think I’ll just walk around, maybe eat some cheese, maybe drink some wine.

One of the many wonderful things about Paris is that it’s so walkable because of its size and because there’s always something beautiful to look at. It’s an incredibly photogenic city. So I basically spent a few days dividing my time between two activities – walking and eating, and hoping the former would counteract the latter.  My favorite places to do both of those were the Latin Quarter and Montmartre. I know they’re cliche, but they’re cliche for a reason. I don’t have much else to say about  my time in Paris other than it was lovely and leisurely. I will let some photos do the talking.

The Olympia

The Sacre Coeur

Paris, from the Sacre Coeur


I was going to try to smuggle some unpasteurized goat cheese out of the country but it was eaten within a matter of hours.

Rue Mouffetard

The Seine

Notre Dame

The Latin Quarter

The Louvre

At the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower


What Happens In Vegas Ends Up On The Internet

I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago for a dear friend’s bachelorette party. We found they take that “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” promise quite seriously. While at the “club pool” at Caesar’s Palace, where we were staying, one of the girls with us took a photo. Security immediately rushed over and erased it. At first we were confused but it didn’t take us long to figure out why they wouldn’t want the world to see what goes on there. Meanwhile, I got a snap in unnoticed.

The Pee Pool, as we would later refer to it. And soon you will know why.

We flew in at night. After you pass the Rockies it’s a virtual sea of black till – BAM – Vegas appears sparkling on the shores of the desert. I have been to Vegas twice now and its preposterous geographic location is just one of the reasons I feel kind of weird when I’m there. Reason #2 is that, to me, it is a symbol of many things I don’t like about the world, and reason #3 is that 5 minutes after I get there I start to like those things. Ok, not those things, but I start to do things I wouldn’t normally do, like pay $20 for a 32oz bloody mary at 10 in the morning (sidebar: not advised in 108F heat), or buy gelato for $17.80 at 1am, or stand in a pool with 200 half-naked strangers who are most likely peeing in said pool because you have resorted to peeing in the pool because the bathroom is so far away and everyone around you has told you they are peeing in the pool, or eat truffled potato chips covered in blue cheese (ok, I probably would do that at home).

Wolfgang Puck, you are an evil genius.

Luckily, I was in good company and we genuinely had a great time doing things we weren’t ashamed of as well. One of those things was renting a pontoon boat on Lake Mead for a day. Folks, if you are going to Las Vegas, are over the age of 25, and do not have a gambling problem, do yourself a favor and do this too. It was beautiful and relaxing. I was not even aware that it was nearby, but luckily for us, the bride’s sister had it arranged before we got there. Lake Mead is only 45 minutes from Las Vegas, and you can stop by the Trader Joe’s off of 515 to stock up on snacks and La Playas. It was the perfect balance to the frenetic energy of Las Vegas. Plus, I found it to be quite affordable when you have a few people to share the cost. We spent the better part of the day floating around under a bright blue sky, surrounded by mountains and we could pee in it all we wanted and not feel gross.

We saw wild donkeys!

And the Hoover Dam!

I came back actually feeling rested, which I wasn’t expecting from a long weekend in Vegas. Who knows what ridiculous things I would have done/bought/consumed if I were on the strip that day. So for anyone planning a trip, I highly suggest spending a day on Lake Mead. You won’t hate yourself in the morning.