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Ubuntu Developer Summit Paris, Day 5

  • 5th Jul, 2006 at 7:03 PM

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

23 June 2006

Our last night in Paris involved a trip to Au Pied de Cochon in the heart of Paris. Claire organized the trip and I couldn't believe my ears when I heard where we were going. My eyes must have gone as wide as saucers.

I had walked pas the restaurant many times while in town. And it's always open, so you can duck in for a late-night bowl of onion soup. This time, however, we would be having a table d'hôte. After all, we were feeding a huge group of very hungry people.

I gathered a group into one of the hotel shuttle buses and managed to get us all into the city. Along the way, I chatted with Andreas, who had managed to come along with us. We talked about the anthropological implications of studying hackers, who are some of the most introspective people on the planet. He admitted that it was different but he was glad that he didn't have to explain what an antropologist does.

We got out of the huge underground complex and found ourselves steps from the restaurant. We went up the richly decorated staircase until we arrived at our dining room. There were a few people milling about inside, and I started taking photographs while the light was still out.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

We started with a tender hunk of buffalo mozzarella on a plate of beautiful tomatoes. Then we had a perfectly grilled steak, which came out consistently good, on so many plates. I'm just in awe at their grill station. We did, however, have one hitch in the meal.

Michael Vogt was sitting at our table, and he's vegetarian. His plate arrived with wonderfully cooked vegetables plated beautifully. But in the corner were caramelized onions rich with bacon. Now, I love onions sautéed in bacon fat, but poor Michael just stared at it. I got up, found the maître d' and pointed out that this was completely unacceptable. In as best indignant French as I could muster. After convincing her that there really was meat in that dish, she apologized profusely, and her waiters quickly removed the offending dish.

They returned with new dishes that were missing the offending garnish.

For the rest of the meal, she kept on checking with me to make sure everything was fine. It turns out that her husband is vegetarian as well, so she was quite aware of the problem. And she was so apologetic because she hadn't caught the mistake. We left on very amiable terms, and I promised to return the next time I was in Paris. After all, I really do want to eat random things off their menu.

Notre Dame
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

After dinner, a group of us decided to go exploring. The others, I'm afraid, were too tired and headed back to the hotel. We walked past Notre Dame, sat on some chairs, and chatted with some French girls who wanted to practise their English. Then it was off to David's favourite pub.

We crowded our bunch into the upstairs, which was more like a hallway than a room. We sat on some benches and chatted for a while, and then I was accused of impropriety. This amused me greatly. A few drinks were had among our group, which supplemented the ample quantities of wine and champagne served at dinner. This caused some people, names omitted, to become quite entertaining. When the bar closed, I had to prop some of them up as we staggered out.

The vast majority of our group opted to take taxis back home. But the hardcore among us went to a small alleyway outside Corcoran's Irish Pub. There, we entered and ordered some drinks. Well, actually, I opted to stay outside because the heat and pressure within were just suffocating. I watched as a bakery closed and vast groups of American tourists wandered drunkly down the street.

Flaming poi
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

A group of girls from Vermont was asking the doorman of Corcoran's to take a picture of them. They were hanging out with Mexican boys with reasonable English. They saw me writing in my notebook and asked where I was from. "Canada," I replied, which sent them into a gleeful fit. They insisted that I join them in a photograph. How could I refuse? They left with one of the girls leading the way, she had been staying in Paris for a while, and they were here to be shown around.

My friends left the bar with plastic glasses of beer in each hand. I proposed that we head to somewhere quiet where we could sit down, so David decided that we needed to walk along the banks of la Seine. There, we found some small amphitheatres, set in the concrete overlooking the river. It was just like a small version of Tam Tam Jam. There were drummers and people sitting on the steps drinking beer and smoking pot. Homeless people would come by and beg for money, but everyone sitting down seemed to be poor students, so nobody had spare change. I asked some poi spinners if I could photograph them. Nobody refused.

After appreciating the night air for too long, we got up and hailed a taxicab. Good night, Paris. I'll return, I promise.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
5th Jul, 2006 23:06 (UTC)
I'd love to learn how to firespin... :)
5th Jul, 2006 23:08 (UTC)
oh! and about 6 weeks until i visit montreal... that still work out ok with you?
5th Jul, 2006 23:25 (UTC)
It does for now. Which days are you thinking of showing up?
5th Jul, 2006 23:26 (UTC)
I think I would show up on the 13th or 14th!
5th Jul, 2006 23:30 (UTC)
Staying for a week or two? (I've forgotten how long you want to be in town.)

I think that's fine. There was a conference I might be attending in San Francisco, but hanging out with you seems like a much sweeter deal. :)
6th Jul, 2006 06:06 (UTC)
I haven't decided yet my exact length of stay, but certainly no longer than two weeks! Possibly one week. We'll see!
5th Jul, 2006 23:24 (UTC)
I've been trying my hand at non-flaming ones. It's pretty easy to hurt yourself with them. I bonked my head a couple of times too many.
5th Jul, 2006 23:38 (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. It was nice to read. :)
6th Jul, 2006 14:14 (UTC)
Gee, thanks!
6th Jul, 2006 02:40 (UTC)
it's nice to read about your travels.
if you're up for more rich food around the weekend of the 22nd, we can go to pied de cochon in montreal... though centropol might be more my speed.
6th Jul, 2006 14:13 (UTC)
I shall be in Ottawa that weekend, but I would make a special trip back to see you. When are you arriving? And when are you leaving?
6th Jul, 2006 12:51 (UTC)
on the wine drinking photo on the right side, the guy in the red shirt. who is this? I had a talk to him at linuxtag, but still dont know who he is...
6th Jul, 2006 14:09 (UTC)
That's Paul Sladen.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )