Roland Garros-The French Open

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Roland Garros, Paris

June 2 - 7, 2009

delPotroServes (35K) eiffielTower (36K)

So the reluctant traveller set off to Paris to take in a bit of Roland Garros, a.k.a. The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments of the year.

My friend Ken had scored a pair of tickets to the quarter and semi finals on the internet. The available tickets sold out instantly but if you were on the internet at 4:00am Calgary time (the moment tickets went on sale) there was a possibility of a score.

The first semi featured Robin Soderling vs. Fernando Gonzalez, the second matchup was Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin Del Potro.

FederersShoe (38K)

Both matches went five sets, one with a tie break. We soaked up 8 hours of tennis under fine weather and french ambiance. It was a great day, one of the best of the tournament.

minstrel (48K)

Of course we took too many pictures of the Eiffel Tower, which has this strange magnetic pull on every camera lens in sight.

We also enjoyed fondue fromage, oysters, the Latin Quarter, and chaos of the metro. We saw the supporters of a rugby team go crazy after their team won. Paris was a hyper active city this week and it was a blast.

lourve2 (33K)
monaLisa (48K)

Spent a whole day at the Louvre which is almost enough time to see what you completely missed the last time. I even saw the Mona Lisa standing right at the velvet rope, which was not an option the last time because it was a mob scene.

I even did the dumb tourist thing and took this picture. You can see my Panama hat (made in Ecuador) in the reflection on the glass just under her right arm. Duh!

And we did a tour of the catacombs, which is another weird tourist thing offered in Paris. When the cemeteries are full take the bones and store them in a quarry. Make some art out of it all.

catacombs (83K)

GarrosStadium (173K)
lourve3a (35K)
eiffielTower2 (57K)
ken (51K)

This is my buddy Ken. It's the best picture I have of him and it was taken in the 500 m of tunnel that one must walk through to finally see the Catacombs of Paris, the french answer to overcrowded cemeteries. I think it's all a metaphor for french bureaucracy.

France is in many ways a socialist country, but I see almost as many homeless people as I do in Calgary, alongside evidence of amazing wealth. The police and military presence is strong. While dudes in camouflage fatigues carrying assualt rifles are not as common as cafes, they are an everyday sighting. This does not seem to diminish the chances of having your wallet picked or being creatively scammed in some way. Ah Paris!

After 5 days, it was all enough. Ken returned to Calgary after 3 weeks and more countries than that. He says the next trip will be different.