Archive for paris

Street Collage

Posted in Creative Photography, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by Scott Hanson

I am finally getting through all my photos and should have the rest up shortly.

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by Scott Hanson

The Beginning of the End

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2012 by Scott Hanson

I woke up around six a.m. on the first and spent an hour and a half chasing the small, yellow signs among the dark, frigid rat maze streets of Venice. This was the very beginning of the first leg of my long journey home. Two and a half hours on a train to Milan, another two hours to Genoa, ninety minutes to Ventigmilia, one hour on a bench, a quick forty-five minute ride to Nice, followed by three hours roaming the streets, then a thirteen hour sleepless overnight train ride to Paris, four hours shivering in a freezing cold train station followed by a final two-hour trip to London and the first leg was over.

I am glad to be back in an English-speaking country. France and Italy were amazing, but I can’t help feeling, I missed out. The true value of travel is in the cultural interaction, much of which you can’t experience without speaking the native language.

“Je ne parle pas Francais” Why couldn’t that be enough?

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , on January 21, 2012 by Scott Hanson

This happened a while back and I was thinking about on the train this afternoon. I can think of a few people who may get a chuckle out of it.

It was one of my first days in Paris and I had just ordered a cappuccino. This was the first stop in non-English speaking country, of my trip and even something as simple as ordering a drink was still a bit nerve-racking. So, as you can imagine I was a slightly hesitant to respond when the “gentleman” behind me tried to start a conversation. It went something like this.

As I turned to leave the counter, the gentleman looked directly at me and said “ca va?”.
I responded with the same expression, hoping that was the extent of his inquiries.
It was not.
He responded with a long-winded chain of words of which I recognized two, bien and Paris.
Yes, Paris is good I thought to myself and responded with what I thought was an appropriate response. A simple “oui”.
This must have been an odd response.
He followed with a few very simple phrases.
“Parlez vous Francais?”
“Vous en vacances en Paris?”
“Vous en American?”
“Je American, oui”, but it is more likely that I used a simple “oui”.
Then he introduced himself “Je suis Antoine” and gave the international me, you gesture.
I respond by pointing at myself and saying “Scott”.
We enjoyed a brief moment of semi-awkward silence at which point I ended our conversation with a simple “au revoir” and walked away feeling pretty good.

I continued on admiring my surroundings stopping every few minutes to snap a photograph. Ten or fifteen minutes passed in peace. I hunched over to rest my camera on a fence post and suddenly, sensed someone invading my personal space. I gave a very slight glance to my left, just in case the intrusion was justifiable and sure enough it was Antoine. Now; I was a little annoyed, but not to the point of being rude. He obviously knew I didn’t speak French. What enjoyment could he possible get from our indecipherable exchange of words. Regardless; he was back for more and somehow, I still remain clueless of his intentions. At this point he became very gesticulate, letting his hands do the majority of the speaking.

Its funny how much you can communicate with a few simple gestures. There are a few simple hand signals that are universal. Its almost as if they are hereditary, passed down from our most primitive ancestors.

His hand signals quickly became quite vulgar in a very obvious way. It was at this point that the indubitable intention of his unceasing efforts, finally became transparent. To me anyhow.

This is not the first time I’ve found myself in this position. I like to think that it is just because I am nice. Which may not be the case. I could just be quite slow at picking up on a hint.

A few more photos from Paris

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by Scott Hanson

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Le musee de Louvre

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by Scott Hanson

click for a larger view

After a bad first impression I was ready for Paris to show me why it was so great. My first stop would be the musee de Louvre. I decided to walk instead of taking the subway. I always like to walk around a bit and get my bearing when I first arrive in a new city. Paris was a whole different being in the hazy daylight. The moaning clawing zombie had become a lazy sleeping hobo. Still covered in filth and emitting a horrid stench but far less threatening.

The Louvre is a massive complex at the center of which is the famous glass pyramid. The building is beautiful, with ornate stone work and massive white marble statues. Once inside I like everyone else headed directly toward the Italian renaissance paintings. More specifically the “Mona Lisa”. I enjoy art, especially that of the quality the Louvre has to offer. So, I didn’t go directly for Da Vinci. I must have viewed 5000 paintings before reaching “La Gioconda ” and after viewing it I can’t recall a single one. There were as many as 500 people in the room when I entered, but as soon as I was within viewing distance it was as if she was looking directly at me. No matter where I went her gaze followed, no matter which angle I viewed from we made perfect eye contact. The eyes are alive. To give it as little credit as possible, it was unimaginable exceptional and infallible.

In the daylight the pyramid is anything but impressive, the reflecting ponds are littered with trash And the grandeur is drown out by the surrounding buildings. After sundown it was magnificent. The geometries of pyramid and reflecting pond are flawless and complement each other perfectly. It seems everything in Paris comes alive when the sun goes down and the lights come on.

The Eiffel Tower – The French Sure do Know How to Make a Nation Symbol.

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2012 by Scott Hanson

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Whether your Slovakian, Iranian, Kazak, Karakalpak, Taiwanese, Japanese, Jamaican, Lithuanian or American. You no doubt are familiar with the Eiffel Tower. I could never count the amount of times I have seen or heard of the Eiffel Tower. I have viewed it in countless photographs, seen it in movies, read of it in books and studied it in school. I have had an image of the tower burned into my mind since childhood, but it was a fragmented image. It lacked the surroundings, the atmosphere, and the culture. All of the things you can’t get from a photo, a video or a book. This is why I traveled to Paris. To experience it’s celebrated sights with my own eyes and to fully grasp their greatness.