Saturday, 24 November 2007
Big Red Bus
Despite what my calendar tells me, my friends and houseguests are still here. Because we have almost ruined our friend Mark's foot with relentless walking around day and night (partly due to strike, partly madness on Sean's part), we decide to do something easy today. Okay, it was probably Margaret's idea.
We board the big red bus (Cars Rouges) at the Arc de Triomphe. My last trip on such a bus was actually a few days long of trips on the bus in Southern California for my brother's 50th birthday. It was warm and sunny, and the bus was filled with fun people.
This trip is a bit of a contrast. No fun drivers, no snacks and beverages passed out mid ride, no taking turns on the loud speaker embarassing the birthday boy. Oh, the people on the bus were okay. But, it was freezing cold on the open upper deck, which for scenery and picture taking, is where we wanted to be. Usually people jump on and off at the different sites- Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc. Not us. We were there for the ride. Come to think of it, it may have been cheaper to rent a van to haul our carcasses around for a couple of hours. But not nearly the same effect. There is a certain thrill when freezing cold air is whipping at your tender cheeks, and taking a picture seems like a bold and daring move.
Indeed, there were some great sights, and no casualties, just a couple of close calls. At Notre Dame, where we didn't even consider getting off the bus to see this architectural gem, Mark, of the foot issues, decided 5 minutes after the driver stated he would leave in two minutes, that he would hop off the bus and buy a hat. He had a hat already. I warn him we are about to go. He is unfazed. He is in the shop right next to the bus, and I keep an eye on him as any controlling host would do. Just as the bus turns on his engine, I see Mark head to the back of the store. Dang! There are still people boarding the bus, so he has maybe a minute. No more boarders, and I shout "Mark!", because the store is totally open to the outside. (BRRR.) Long story long, Mark runs to the bus only to find that the doors have shut and the driver has begun to pull away. Mark whaps on the door, gives the driver a MOST serious look and points to the door as if he commands it to be opened. The driver stops and lets him in, but not before I lean over and yell "jack***!" It's great being my friend.
Actually, we are going to miss Mark and Margaret. They tell the kind of stories that kids don't usually get to hear, and they are great listeners to Quinn and Maggie's stories. And it has been fun to reconnect.
Here are some pictures that we all took.