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The Octopus Breakfast, French Mosquitoes and The Constant Roommate

Paris is expensive. I’m embarassed to say I paid nine euros for a bottle of Guinness at a cafe outside the Louvre and heard the hundreds of Irishmen turning in their graves in disgust. After sharing a 13 euro croque madame and salde verte we decided to take back the extra euro we’d generously left as a tip when the waitress took away Morgan’s pint glass with more than a mouthful of over priced Stella still left in it. That would be the only meal we ate out while in Paris. Instead we vied for a .50 cent baguette, a three euro wheel of cheese and a two euro bottle of Bordeaux and a trip to the corner pastisserie where we’d splurge and buy a grande tarte fraise. I’m sad to say we didn’t eat a Parisian croissant, but filled up on Parisianne Korean food instead.

Trying to avoid the oodles of money that can be spent in Paris, we thought we had scored big when we found the Namdemun guesthouse. Past guests said it was your home-away-from-home, and it literally was. Every morning at 7:30 am we were woken by our Korean mother calling us for breakfast. We had the choice of a Korean option or French (baguette and jam). Curious to see what exactly a Korean breakfast entailed, we quickly decided we’d go French the next day when we saw the miniture kimchi octopus. For 23 euros a night we’d get breakfast and dinner (Korean only). We highly recommend Namdemun for it’s atmosphere and more than kind staff, but the beds . Sitting on the outskirts of the city, and a bit tough to find, you’ll know you’ve found it when you see the Korean flag hanging in the upstairs window. Have a pen handy as you can write a thank you message on the walls before you leave. I think the only thing we left on the walls were splattered mosquitoes.

I don’t know too much about mosquitoes, and I only really associate them with summertime camping and warm, wet weather. It would then be extrememly odd to think that for the past month we have been bitten by mosquitoes more than we had back in Canada. Over breakfast one morning in our Parisian guesthouse, I shared the massive lumpy red bumps that had taken over my arms with the table. Constant, Briak (a local digital-art Frenchman who had been travelling in Australia and was now back home looking for work, and also someone who must one-up you on everything you say because he’s been to Australia where he has seen otherwise therefore “c’est impossible”) said it wasn’t possible that it would be mosquitoes and it would most probably be spiders bitting me. His only reasoning being that it was not the time of year for mosquitoes and he’d seen spiders around the guesthouse. Thanks Braik, tell that to the two mosquitoes that now only exist as smears on the ceiling above my bunk in Antwerp, Belgium, and tell that to the mosquito I’ve seen buzzing around the Namdemun bathrooms. Thankfully Natalie, another French guest living at Namdemun while looking for employment, saved Briak from near stanglation by showing him the massive bite she wore on her eyelid. I could hear the hated buzzer marking an incorrect answer sound somewhere as Briak’s ego finally fell and the mosquitoes were victorious.

Namdemun was a fantastic spot if you plan on staying a while in Paris. Unfortunately it does only have one washroom, which could have made for big problems had Morgan and I both gotten sick at the same time. Separated by two nights, Morgan and I battled what we first thought to be a bad patè, but was more likely some sort of alien flu, suggested Briak. I elegantly introduced myself to Namdemun by throwing-up in my bed (it was actually my make-shift, supermarket laundry bag that had a hole in the bottom that put it in my bed). The ladies were nice enough to clean out my bed. Morgan would be sick two days later, so I hate to say it, but Briak can have that round.

Merci/Kamsahamnida, Seung-hee and the ladies of Namdemun.

Ps: On the train to Spain we met a couple of Australian lads who were on a month Eurail pass. They had failed to write out the date on their pass when showing the train attendants their tickets and were fined 10 euros for the error.

The Limey

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This entry was posted on November 24, 2010 by in France, Paris.
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