George Orwell wasn’t much of a fun person. This is clearly evident when he wrote about two very über cool cities in his downer of a book called Down & Out in Paris and London. Since I am a chock full of sunshine, here is my top dos & don’ts when in Paris and London.
(Note: This is not a “Top 10 things to do in London” kind of a list. They are merely my observations and recommendations)
WEE WEE PAREE
…take a river cruise down the Seine. For a mere 14 euros, meander up and down the gorgeous Seine, as many times as you want and soak in the panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.
…throw flowers, cigarettes, records, etc at Jim Morrison’s grave at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. All the cool kids are doing it. While you are at it, kiss Oscar Wilde too.
…try the French Onion soup at any of the cute cafes dotted along Avenue de Suffren, near the Eiffel tower. This is heaven. In a bowl. With oodles of cheese and caramelized onions. (Strict vegetarians, stay away. Beef stock is involved.)
…do get lost in the Louvre. You don’t need to be an art lover to visit this behemoth of a museum. Stand amidst the pretty paintings and exquisite artifacts and be in awe of their antiquity.
…stay at The Three Ducks Hostel. If you want bed sheets, clean bathrooms and decent conversation with fellow travellers, this is so NOT the place. I believe the Three Ducks might be run by Three Dicks.
… piss the help desk guy at the metro, specially at 7am. He might send you in a complete opposite direction or you could waste 45 minutes trying to figure out how the metro works.
…fall victim to street performers. Once, I paid a jolly old man one euro for his robust efforts at playing the harmonica. The next minute, he starts yelling at me. The very next minute after that, I was conned into paying 5 euros.
…stuff your face with plenty of dim sums at PING PONG, also known as the Grand Dumpling Land. I can eat basket after basket of their bean curd skin rolls, spicy dumplings and sticky rice in lotus leaf. As for non-vegetarians, I have heard their Char Sui buns have made many a carnivore sigh with pleasure. Also, Lychee Martini, bitches.
…say hi to Ginger at the British Museum. Ginger is the 5000 year old resident mummy of the museum and can be found curled up in a ball at the Egyptian gallery. After that, check out the colossal sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome. Also, they have cat mummies. Yeah, KITTY MUMMIES!
…get something pierced or tattooed at Camden Town, just for kicks. After that, roam around, buy knick-knacks and have a beer or forty at the Camden Rock pub.
…pick up plenty of metal and rock t-shirts at Metal Militia, so that you never have to go a day without wearing black. (The New Oxford Street store has more varied selection than the one at Camden)
…eat at any restaurant in China Town if you are a vegetarian. Authentic Chinese food is served and something called the “vegetarian option” is non-existent. It’s all meat.
…forget your trusty oyster card. Instead of buying tickets every time you take the underground or bus, buy the oyster card and recharge as and when needed from any newspaper shop. Simple.
…let a pigeon attack you at Covent Garden. True story.