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December 5th, 2005


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03:00 pm - Walking With Fire: An Eastern Indo-European Conference (Part I)

"Reading Departure Signs in Some Big Airport, Wondering Why We Ever Go Home"


This review only really covers the important things, so not everything covered in other entries will be covered in this one, because some things are a) for those who were there and b) simply unimportant.

Entries from this trip:
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6
A quick overview of the entire trip


11/20/05: Departure, Detroit, and a Chat

I was well packed in advance, knowing that if I wasn't, I'd be having real issues, trying to get things thrown together and get them into my bags. I was actually packed pretty light, with one carry-on and one checked bag. It would have been less, but I knew that shizukagozen wanted pictures, and I needed some clothes so that I could do some minimal dress-up for her.

ceolnamara and I got together around noon, made some last minute trips to a couple of stores, and then loaded up and got Tina to take us down to the airport. ceolnamara managed to swing us some first class seats on an earlier flight to Detroit. We checked our bags and flew down the concourse to get on our flight.

We sat comfortably in our chairs (I had never flown first class before), and chatted a bit back and forth. We landed in Detroit with no issues, and walked through the weirdest connecting terminal I've ever seen, where the lights and walls kept changing colours. I think it was supposed to be art, but I'm not sure.

While waiting for our Air France flight, ceolnamara entertained herself by calling people and chatting on her cell phone. I explored the extent of Detroit's terminal A, and realized that it was the biggest damn terminal I've ever been in. There's a freakin' monorail in the terminal, and the terminal is big enough to require it. When I came back from one of these walks, I was surprised to hear that ceolnamara had raherakt on the phone. I grabbed the phone, and we ended up talking about an email she'd just read, and that would haunt me for the next 24 hours.

11/21/05: "That's a mighty long airplane ride" - The flight to Paris and Downtown, then back again!

We got onto our plane about an hour or two later, and we had four seats to the two of us. The flight over was quite nice. I watched the in-flight entertainment because I couldn't sleep (every time I'd try, I'd think about the email we'd chatted about, and would find myself more awake and feeling tortured), catching the movies The Island and Wedding Crashers. I actually kinda liked The Island which surprised me quite a bit.

It really was a mighty long airplane ride from Detroit to Paris, and ceolnamara and I talked a lot about our plans when we got there, and probably even more about the email that was now haunting me like nothing else. I imagine ceolnamara was getting annoyed at me with my worry over what I knew was nothing at all. But the flight from Detroit to Pairs was, in short, long, sleepless, and worrisome over nothing at all.


Me, Somewhere over the Atlantic


We landed a tad early at CDG, and immediately made plans to hit up downtown. It was an ugly, fog-covered day, so thick that we couldn't see the planes on the tarmac.

This is what I wrote in my journal about landing in CDG:

11/21/05

CDG is a study in confusion and inefficiency. It is also dirty as hell and perpetually under construction.

If I had to choose a place to model hell after, it might look a lot like CDG.

We landed in the deepest, densest fog (or was it smog?) I have ever seen. The fog was so dense that we were shocked when the landing gear touched down. We could not see the runway.

We disembarked the plane and stepped onto the tarmac. The terminal, we saw, was actually rather . . . non-existent. We were herded onto busses by the police and sent to customs.

The man three people ahead of me in line was pulled aside by the officials. He was somewhat Middle Eastern looking, and given the speed at which they processed each other person, I began to wonder if there was truly something to have raised alarm, or if it was just an unfortunate circumstance of birth or nationality.

The officer who processed my passport didn't even look me in the eye. He scanned my passport and handed it back without a word, beckoning the next person forward.

"Merci," I said, and wandered onto French soil.

We breezed through customs, with the man three people ahead of us being pulled out of line. I imagine that he was pulled out because of his general Middle Eastern look (one can't really look Arabic, I decided. . . What does a language look like?), and I have a feeling that there was no reason to pull him out of line. I felt a bit sad when they took him away, honestly, though I admit to relief that it was him and not me.

We knew that we needed to get to the train station, and were fortunate enough to find someone who spoke a bit of English. We figured out how to buy tickets (once we figured out that we shouldn't be trying to converse in French with a machine) and hopped on the RER into Paris.

As we blew by stations, I began to get a tad uneasy, but knew that we wouldn't be on the line any longer than the end of it, anyway. If nothing else, we could always ride it back to the airport and get on our plane. Finally, I broke down and tried to ask the nice-looking lady across from us.

I got the words, "Pardon moi, Sil vous-plait. . ." out of my mouth, and she immediately pointed to a younger woman beside me. "No English," she said. So I smiled and turned to the woman beside me, who I had just realized was rather attractive. "Anglais?" I asked. "Oui, parl. . . speak English," she said.

"How do we get to Notre Dame? Does the train stop there?"

She thought for a moment, then nodded. "One of the next three stops, that will get you there."

I smiled, said, "Merci," and looked back at the list of stops. The one we were looking for was still ahead of us.

We got out where we thought was right, and then started looking for signs. I caught the exit we wanted, and we stepped out onto the streets of Paris.

ceolnamara and I came out of the darkness into the daylight, and I was a bit surprised. When we had last seen the sky, there was no visibility. The world had been shrouded in mist. Now, as we stood in the sunlight in downtown Paris, the airport seemed like it was a million miles away.

We rounded the corner to the Musée de Cluny, aiming for the only thing I wanted to see in Paris, the nautes pillar. Entering the courtyard of the museum, I looked up to see a number of gargoyles above me.


Musée de Cluny's Gargoyles


Note, you can see monkeys and puppies!

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Musée de Cluny's monkeys! | Musée de Cluny's puppies!


But I wasn't here to see monkeys or puppies. I was here to see a God. We went in and found him in the Frigidarium (the Musée de Cluny is built on an old Roman bath house)


Esus


I was, I admit, in awe. I wandered around the pillar, taking pictures of the other faces.


Tarvos Trigaranus,
The bull with three cranes


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Vulcan | Jupiter



The plaque for the Esus block of the Pillar


I walked around taking video of the entire piece, so I could remember exactly how it went together:

View 360° Video (3.2 MB .avi)

I then went in for some closer pictures of Esus and Tarvos Trigaranus:

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Esus Top | Bottom


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Normal view | Red filter



Tarvos top
The Three Cranes


I next wandered over to block four, the only known inscription of the word "Cernunnos":


Cernunnos,
Only "ERNUNNOS" remains legible.
Note the beard, the torcs, and the antlers on which they hang


Around the corner from Cernunnos was a guy called Smertios, possibly a Hercules sort of guy, and seems vaguely identified with that Roman deity.


Smertrios
(last part of this name recostructed)


Around the corner again, we find Castor and Pollux:

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Castor | Pollux


I headed over to block 1, and started snapping pictures of that block, finding with this pair of paired divinities:

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"Venus" and another deity | "Mars" and a female deity


Also on that pillar, were these two:

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"Mercury" and a female divinity | "Fortuna" and another deity  


Block 2 held the following reliefs:

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  The Nautes (sailors), no inscription | Men in arms, [EURISES] is the inscription


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Depicting the ceremony of dedication | The dedication of the Pillar    


The dedication reads as follows:

TIB[ERIO] CAESARE
AUG[USTO] IOVI OPTUMO
MAXSUMO
NAUTAE PARISIACI
PUBLICE POSIERU
N[T]

This translates, roughly, as follows:

"[Under the reign of] Tiberius Ceasar Agustus, to Jupiter, the very good, the very great, the sailors of the territory of the Parisii place this [monument] for the people."

My Latin is a bit rusty, but that's close. Anyone want to make a better stab at it than I did?

I also snapped a picture of the explanation they had on the wall:


Of course, it's in French


I admit that I stood rooted to the floor for a good amount of this. I did not touch the relief, though I very much wanted to. In fact, there was nothing I wanted more. ceolnamara suggested snapping a photo of me with the pillar, so that everyone could see what the size was. I stand 6'4" tall.


Me and Esus, together at last


Satisfied, more or less, with the experience (I admit I wanted to just stand there a while longer, but we had a plane to catch), we headed out. I grabbed a picture of a beautiful carved horn (knowing that some of my Nordic friends would be very interested), was told that flashes were not allowed in the museum (I apologized, but didn't mention that I'd just spent a half-hour taking photos of the nautes pillar with my flash on), and then grabbed a picture of my travel partner out in the hall (using that flash again, I'm ashamed to say).

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The horn | ceolnamara


After this, ceolnamara and I went walking in search of Notre Dame Cathedral. The most important thing to her was that we get a picture of her next to the Seine, and it was just lucky that the Cathedral was right there.

|
ceolnamara in front of Notre Dame | The Hippo in front of Notre Dame



ceolnamara and me, in Paris


We snapped the pictures, and then started looking for some real food. I changed some money at the money changer, and found myself surprised that the gentleman behind the counter was wearing a yarmulke. I wasn't so surprised that he was Jewish as I was that it was a Jew changing my money. It's difficult to explain why this surprised me, I think, but I think it has to do with the fact that we talked so much about why people hated the Jews in the middle ages, how it focused on the loaning of money, and here I found one changing my money into Euros. ceolnamara had a crepe and I had a sausage of some sort, and then it was back to the airport.

|
 Me, lookin' tired in the subway | The Singaporians we helped out


We got back to the airport, and it was a lot of "hurry up and wait". CDG is the loudest airport I've ever been in, between the construction and the people yelling, and we waited for the Styrian Air folks to open up.

When we finally got through to our gate, we had to wait for about two hours in a basement of CDG for a bus that would take us to our plane. I tried to sleep on the floor, but was again haunted by the email.

I once more wrote in my journal, as we left:

Nov. 21, 2005

Leaving CDG, 7 hours after we landed, we noticed that the fog was still so thick around the airport that you literally could not see the streetlights a the top of their pillars. Apparently, CDG's weather is always like this, and it is not fog after all, but a heavy, dense, foul smog (which explains much of the smell).

And it never leaves.

I am interested to see if it will still be there when we go back to CDG in a week.




Next update:


11/21-22/05: Flight to Salzberg and the First Night and Day

11/23/05: Second Day: Workshops and Praying for Mended Boots

Entries from this trip:
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6
A quick overview of the entire trip

Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: "Banana Wind [Instrumental]", -JB

(27 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:ceolnamara
Date:December 5th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, actually, I suggested that I take the photo of you by the pillar ;-)

Nice to see your take. I probably was annoyed on the flight, but more because I couldn't help you than because you were brooding.
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Oh, yeah, you're right. Gonna go fix that :)

Hehe. I imagine you were annoyed. The whys and wherefores are silly :)
From:ceolnamara
Date:December 5th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
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It's probably easiest in general to assume that I am generally annoyed.

:-p
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
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Duly noted :)
(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
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Maybe just under a yard from lip to point? Probably between that and 2.5 feet
From:weavingfire
Date:December 5th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
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Excellent review so far!
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
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I'm fortunate to have written nearly all of it out. I'm just trying my best to make sure that a) my website doesn't get overloaded with picture requests and b) some suspense remains :)
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From:creature_tamer
Date:December 5th, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Neat-o. Amusing that you were outed as an American after like half a sentence. I wonder how my French would stand up after all these years? Maybe I could fool people for one complete sentence? ;) Omelette du fromage!

Dallas Fort Worth has a monorail too. I wish I'd used it the first time, actually, instead of running the entire length of the concourse on foot. It was something like a 20-30 minute run (not walk) from one end to the other.
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC)
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I think, actually, that the nice lady had been listening to ceolnamara and me babble on and on in English for a half hour at that point, so even if my French had been flawless, I imagine she would have pointed me toward her companion.

Not to suggest it was anything near flawless, mind. :)

I recalled an amazing amount of French, actually. And now, of course, it's all gone. :)
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From:singingwren
Date:December 5th, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Haha, you always manage to post big long things RIGHT before I have an exam to go to. Lucky for you, I shunned you and you left and read this when I got back. Anna 1, Distractions 0! ;D

Sounds like a crazy-ass trip, and not a fun voyage over at all. :( I can't imagine that many hours cooped up without random road-side stops in Kansas or Colorado or something, or soda-and-gas-station-food breaks where you can run around whooping and otherwise forgetting about the goodly manner in which you were raised. (Ha.) But at least the rest of Paris wasn't a hell-hole.. whee. Thanks for grabbing a picture of Cernunnos along with Esus and the others. :)

I look forward to your next installment (you're such a dork for planning them out like that :P), which cannot distract me from any finals because I have none tomorrow!

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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
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If I had not planned this out, I might have been writing it during work. And that is a no-no. At least, for me.

I needed to get pics of absolutely everything on that pillar. I had a moment of real fright last night when I thought I'd forgotten to take a pic of Fortuna, knowing that romandruid would be unhappy if I forgot to snap her patron. . . But she surfaced. . .Fortunately.

I don't know how often I'll post these. There will be at least 4 more posts, I think. Tomorrow's, Salzberg, Vienna, and then maybe two about the trip home. . . Hard to say.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 5th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Interesting. No hurry to post them, I guess, although I think if you intend to be suspenseful you should at least give some previous indication that things'll all be good in the end. (Or not.) I'm a little worried about you because you seem to have developed the habit of coming back from festivals all messed up and confused now... which you oughtn't be! I don't know what these vague posts about being an asshole and swimming in sticky stuff are about (blech), but as you have not been here for a long time, you have not been accumulating punches-to-the-face that people owe you or anything. If people were angry at you for you being a jerk, don't you think your sorry ass would be feeling it right now? ;)
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
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They're not vague. They make perfect sense to me.

Look for more posts of a similar ilk soon!

I was, after all, writing all freakin' weekend.

As for whether things will be good in the end? Well, if I told you that, then it would certainly take all the suspense away!
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From:singingwren
Date:December 5th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
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Oooh, maybe I SHOULD save a punch-to-the-face for you!
*laughs*

No, they aren't vague, you're right; they are very specific that you want to keep secrets and not explain yourself. ;P
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
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Ha. If only there were secrets to keep. Alas, I don't believe that there are.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 5th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Oh, whatever.
I'm sure you could come up with some sweet ones if you tried...
Remember what you did just behind that Esus statue?

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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 11:35 pm (UTC)
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Can't say as I do. Though I imagine it bordered on sacrelidge.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 5th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
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*wink*
I won't tell a soul.
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From:singingwren
Date:December 5th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC)
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And as an afterthought, the quote you have in big font is more than a little sad. :(
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 5th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
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It's a merging of two quotes I often think about. One from Changes and one from Wonder Why, both great Buffett tunes. Changes is what I often sing in airports.

Wonder Why is how I often feel.
From:shizukagozen
Date:December 6th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
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When you come to Thailand we are going to monkey island. And just when am I dragging you to Greece to hike and other assorted misadventures? Oh yeah, this was completely random!
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 6th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
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I got some debts to pay back before I get to Greece :) But I expect we'll manage it in the near future. Certainly before you turn 30! *winks*

I look forward to an island of monkeys! Can I be a retainer when they crown you queen? I imagine that there's gotta be a coronation ceremony, and I'll need to be there for that.
From:shizukagozen
Date:December 6th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
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Yes, before 30. Because if you are 30 in Greece they throw you in the volcano. I just made that up but damn, it sounded good.

I do not know if there will be a ceremony. There should be!!
From:mmefrufru
Date:December 7th, 2005 09:44 pm (UTC)

Ahh, Paris.

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I hated CDG when we were there. And I spoke French the entire time. I am pleased you went to the Musee de Cluny, but Monika said that you did NOT go up the stairs to see the Unicorn tapestries!!! What were you thinking, man? :)
Loved reading your entry on Paris. I enjoyed it very much there...ah, memories.
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 7th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Ahh, Paris.

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Ha. We were really, really pressed for time, and I actually had no idea they were there. Heck, I'm not even sure what they are :)

But I have a plan to get some better photos of that pillar, so if there's a next time. . . I promise I won't miss them again.
From:mmefrufru
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC)

Re: Ahh, Paris.

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These!!!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It's okay. Next time I'll take you and ramble incoherently about it, and then you can ramble incoherently about th pillar to me. And then we'll eat some gateau au chocolat. Yum!
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From:chronarchy
Date:December 8th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Ahh, Paris.

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Works for me :) A date for Paris it is.

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