Wednesday, February 6, 2008

an awkward ending

Tourist time in Reykjavík. Limited options in winter, further hampered by the snow squalls moving trhough every 20 minutes. But I enjoyed walking around the city, ducking into cafes often. I met up with Hrafnkell, and had a full day admiring the graffiti of the city (it was very good, and very colorful). In France I had noticed all the "Barbapapa" parfanalia (to my delight—I had not seen or thought of the cartoon since I was a kid; I delighted Xavier by singing the theme song in English); and Iceland too prevelantly featured the blobular characters wherever I turned! Who knew? The next day, I went to a geo thermal hotspring and tore off a layer of skin. On the shuttle bus to the airport, I left behind my camera, and felt like an idiot. Fortunately, the shuttle service found it, and will mail it to me.


Xavier had made his way back to Paris before returning to Lyon, and we met for breakfast before I left Paris. I then made my way to CDG airport, and flew to Reykjavík. The plane was chock-full of gay Icelanders who had been weekending in Paris. And, while my sketch does her no justice, I saw the most beautiful flight attendant I have ever seen. But, Iceland had so many beautiful people, perhaps she was considered a dog or something, I don't know. I checked into my lodgings, grabbed some food, and went on to Samtökin ’78, where I gave a presentation about gay comics. Samtökin ’78 is the LGBT community center in Reykjavík. Its director, Hrafnkell, assured me I had a nice turnout for a snowy Monday night in Reykjavík. I was very happy with the crowd and the discussion! Afterward, I went out for dessert with a few of the attendees, and had a very nice talk about Iceland, the US, politics, and Eurovision. Oh—"teiknimyndasöguhöfundur" translates to "comic book artist."

à bientôt

My last full day in Paris was leisurely. Woke up late, and hungry Jean-Pierre sat on my lap, purring, while I planned out my tourism. Sylvain had been Julie's guest for a few days and was leaving. He and I had a good chat earlier, but I fear I became a bit defensive to his America-bashing. He, of course, was right on most of his points, but also was difficult to allow myself to be generalized alongside the 300+ million Americans who don't all agree to pretty much anything. But, our farewell was aimicable. I then made my way into city center and went about my sight-seeing and coffee-drinking. On the way home, I fell sleep on the Metro, signalling to me I was having a great vacation. Returning to Antoine's, I found Jean-Pierre at first playful, but then playfully hostile when I failed to feed him. He was such a sweet cat. I packed up and went to bed after talking with Antoine.

recontrer l'artiste

Back to Paris for my book signing and city-style merriment. Xavier escorted me to the train station, and was freaking out a bit to validate my ticket as the train arrived. I was confused, as I did not validate my ticket TO Angoulême. He explained how I should have. I guess the train was too crowded, but usually unvalidated passengers are ejected. Oopsie. I got back to Antoine's place, showered, then back into the city center in time for my signing at Blue Book Paris. I didn't have a huge turnout, but was not my smallest turnout, so that was good. And, it was fun!


The day technically starts at 12:01, as Xavier and I quest for gay nightlife; the one known gay bar is now out of business, so we hike to another bar we know to be gay-friendly. Xavier's drink of choice is the "Monaco" (see left for recipe). It's very sweet, and very light-weight. But still, we were out late, making the next morning very difficult. But a wonderful full day in Angoulême. By now, my tourist days and running about are taking their toll. Antoine was upset he missed my "emo school boy" outfit of vintage Lacoste cardigan, worn out cordouroys, white shirt and rep tie.

pas d'Anglais

Antoine could not attend the BD Festival (comics) in Angoulême, so I trekked into the French countryside solo. The day began very early, as I made my way from La Défense to Montparnasse to catch my train out of town. I had been waking up around 9 AM the first few days of my trip, so I was surprised to see the sun not rise until on about 8:30 AM. The train was very crowded, and everyone was headed for the same place to look at the beautiful, artsy comics. My original host spoke no English, and lived far from the festival. It was a bit awkward, but I was trying my best to communicate. While at the festival, I ran into Xavier from Scarce magazine, who ultimately convinced me to stay with his host, which worked out much better. She was super-cool, and while she also spoke little English, Xavier was able to translate, and made excellent company. Maybe I should note that the small city the festival takes place in has very few hotels, therefore, most people need to stay with local hosts who rent out rooms in their homes.

à Paris

My big tourist days in Paris. After I successfully met up with a French comics guy who was interviewing me, I then did a number of typical tourist stuff. "The cemetary with all the famous people," skateboarders at the Bastille, and the full run down is there. Antoine's cat Jean-Pierre was very cute, he likes to play with feet. Met another friend of Julie's: Sylvain easily apporached me and Antoine in his sweater and underwear only. I tried not to look (much). Also saw an amazing specimen on the Champs d'Elysses rollerblading wearing skimpy purple shorts and a lyrcra tank top. I failed to get a clear photo of him.

jamais deux sans trois

On the plane from Reykjavík to Paris, I saw some crazy outfits. This one guy in particular (left). I arrived in Paris Monday around noon, and was greeted by my pal Antoine. I immediately knew I should not have left behind the clothes I did. The weight did not amount to much, and it would have been good to have what I left behind. Oh well. Antoine made cookies that night, and there was an impromptu dinner party with his roommates Julie, Mossen and Nedjmaand their friend Adrian. Everyone claimed to speak poor English, but they really didn't. Nedjmaand was the funniest... she insisted she spoke NO English, but she understood most of what I said. I, on the other hand, truly spoke very poor French, and could not follow along much. Adrian teased me about the cheese we were eating, warning me of its pungent nature and "offensive" taste (it was fine!). He also chastised me for only having two cookies, while everyone else had three. "We say here, 'never two without three. jamais deux sans trois.'"

bon voyage!

I recently took a trip to France and Iceland. While I did a number of sketches on the trip per usual, I also sketched daily entries—journal style! The trip begins with my packing on Sunday. I am a notoriously light packer, but this vacation included lots of tourist time, an interview, a book signing, a comics presentation, time at a comics festival, not to mention the extreme weather to take into consideration. I ended up removing a lot of stuff (in hindsight, I should not have). You see my dog watching me pack, and Piotr driving me to the airport. And then, me feeling sad at the airport. I always feel sad when I leave home, even though I know I am going to have an amazing time. Au revoir, Boston.