Thankfully, we had something small planned after our first day of classes: The Museum of Fiji. This is apparently the only museum in Fiji, and although it is bigger than I expected, it is quite small with only a couple of rooms. The museum holds examples of Fijian boat work as well as old artifacts and Fijian animals on display. It was all really interesting to me, as I was one of the few who really took the time to read up on a majority of the information. Below are some of the pieces displayed in the museum:
After the museum, we had a long night of relaxing. I caught up on writing, although I probably should have been reviewing my notes from class. We finally had a home-cooked Fijian meal, which consisted of fish in a coconut sauce, an eggplant and onion dish, chicken, breadfruit, taro root and watermelon. It was all tasty, and the bread fruit and taro root both had a mild taste. It was fantastic. Walter (our dad) even got us some chocolate chip ice cream because Jordan said she was craving it.
I already don’t want to leave our homestay family, but luckily I still have a few more days with them.
Tuesday was the busiest day yet. I mean it. It was jam packed.
We got up bright and early, ate some fruit and pastries and were out the door to start the day. The weather seemed to be holding up in the morning, and we were thankful for that. We rode the metro to the grounds of the Jardin de Tuileries, walked through and got in line for Musee d’Orsay. This is a former railway station that now houses mainly French paintings, drawings and sculptures that date from 1848 to 1915. The building was beautiful and the artwork was even more stunning. The main works we saw were by Monet, Monat, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Degas.
The Age of Bronze-Rodin
Blue water Lilies-Monet
We ran into a speed bump at the museum when my Pop Pop realized he didn’t have vouchers for our reservation in the Eiffel Tower. We called the company through which we booked the lunch and luckily its main office is located on the other side of Jardin de Tuileries. We walked there and got it sorted out in no time.
I have seen the Eiffel Tower hundreds of times and I was even there once, but as we walked under it, I could not believe how massive this structure is. It is simply incredible. My Pop Pop and I noted that it is the most beautiful piece of metal we have seen. We easily got to the restaurant on the second level and ate away. We were fortunate enough to clinch a table at the window, so our view during lunch was the beautiful view of the Parisian skyline, and more specifically, the Central Business District. Apparently there is a section of skyscrapers in Paris, and it is the CBD. Once we were done with our lunch, we climbed up to the next level of the Iron Lady and took in the views presented to us. We were so happy the rain held off and the sky seemed a bit brighter, since we had seen nothing but rain and clouds since Dublin.
After the Eiffel Tower, Pop Pop and I marched to the sewers of Paris, Égouts de Paris, and took a tour. This was really special to me because we had tried to do this when we were in the City of Lights eight years ago, but were unable to head underground. I guess we completed our unfinished business by seeing other people’s dirty business! Anyway, it was really informative and it was more interesting than one would think to learn about how the sewers evolved over the years. My favorite part was when Victor Hugo was mentioned, who wrote about the Paris sewers in his famous novel (and my favorite show) “Les Miserables.” Apparently he knew the sewer master, and used a detailed map of the network to refer to while writing his novel. Although it smelled pretty bad (although not as bad as one would think), I am so thankful I finally got to experience the famous sewers de Paris.
We noticed we still had a decent amount of time to kill, so we hopped on the metro and visited the Arc de Triumph, which is at the end of Champs de Elysees. After a long construction and different symbolism, the monument is a token of gratitude to those who have served in war and represents triumphant France. As I climbed to the top, I recalled being on the top of it when I was twelve and waving down to my grandma, who understandably opted out of climbing the massive piece of art. The monument is only a few blocks from our apartment, so once we were finished, we strolled home.
We had about an hour to rest and then got ready for our evening event: a show at The Lido. The Lido is a cabaret and burlesque show located on the Champs de Elysees. This street, by the way, was very popular and reminded me of New York City with its bright lights and vibrant energy. You may have heard of the Moulin Rouge, which is the most famous burlesque show in Paris. I went there when I was 12, so my Pop pop decided to take me to a different place. This was a bit sentimental because I wore the same dress I wore to the Moulin Rouge to the Lido. My Pop Pop could not believe I was wearing the dress eight years later, and to my satisfaction, it fit much better. The show was incredible. It was filled with beautiful and sparkling outfits, great dancing and singing, a mime, a juggler, ice skaters and other performers. We had a great view of center stage and an even greater experience.
Finally, the long day came to an end and we prepared for the next day that would start with another bike tour, but in a new location.