Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. ~Aldous Leonard Huxley, Texts and Pretexts, 1932
So today we left at 6:45 for Lyon to the South-east of Paris. It was the first time taking a TGV (A very fast train) and after some difficulty figuring out where our seats were (we ended up in the wrong car at first) we had a very pleasant, very smooth 2 hour ride to Lyon! Arriving at the station we hunted down a map and were amazed by the sheer size of Lyon. After standing in front of the station, staring at this map, looking very lost, a lovely nice french woman came over and showed us where we were and what was nearby....which was a HUGE mall... and that was about it.
The station we got off at, Part-Dieu, was in the heart of the hotel and business area. We were surrounded by upscale hotels and various office buildings. We wandered in the mall (where I stupidly put a bag down and walked away... luckily it was only a few euro little planner, lesson learned) but it was a lot of fun, the mall was four floors so there was a ton to do!
We spent a few hours there before heading to McDonald's to have lunch! That was fun, it was so much nicer than the ones back home. They even had a McCafe with coffees and pastries, very classy. We discussed what to do and decided to leave the mall and explore! So we headed outside, where it was very warm, it actually felt like summer! After walking a few blocks we realized we had not yet found the Fort (the only monument near us) yet and Hannah found a random grassy spot so we all laid down and relaxed and tried to discuss what to do next!
Eventually Hannah figured out how to get to the Fort so we headed that way... only to discover it was actually a Police Station and very much NOT a tourist spot... so we kept wandering and eventually found a circus from rome... but their shows did not start until 6 so that didn't work either...
We finally headed back to our one option, the mall and made a plan to go see a movie... We originally settled on Hancock or Wanted and went to buy tickets.... only to discover the movies were all dubbed in french. So we debated some more...
In the mean time I found an awesome little anime, comic, nerdy store and totally geeked out. It was amazingly fun and they had some really unique little things there. Bought some things there. ^_^
we finally decided to go watch 'Voyage to the Center of the Earth' since it's plot might be a bit easier to follow and away we went! The first thing about french cinema... their ads are a lot different than ours... A lot more revealing, and suggestive. For example this Orangina ad... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck14LKBI9GM which played before the move. (WARNING I am serious when I say suggestive and adult-orientated) so that was my first 'whoa... Europe is very different' moment.
Watching the movie in french was really interesting, I had to depend a lot more on tone, actions and gestures but i think I still got the gist of the movie! My french really is getting better and that is really exciting. We met a girl from Canada at a store today (she helped us with shoes) and she spoke fluent english, french and I think spanish so that was really impressive. I mean one thing I have noticed is unless you ask 'parlez-vous anglais?' most people will not switch to english even if you are speaking english to them.
So we finally finished our day with some subs, and ice cream before checking the 19h (7 pm) train back to Paris. It was a lot of fun getting to just talk with Kelly and Hannah for two hours while we rode back. All in all, today was not all that I hoped for, but it was good fun and a real learning experience to try to better plan out what we're doing and how to get there. Lyon was the biggest town we were visiting so hopefully next time we'll have more luck!
Well I need to finish folding laundry and get to bed!