Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Night 2008 in Paris

Thanks to Babysitting Children with Colds in St. Nazaire, followed by Halloween Night 2008 in Paris, I was pretty under the weather on Election Night. :( But that didn't stop me from staying out all night and getting sicker! Of course, it was worth it.

A quick re-cap of Hallowen first: friend from Vassar and future groomsman Tim is attending Sciences-Po in Paris, and hosted an excellent Halloween party for his classmates In preparation, we found a Halloween store and bought cobwebs (blacklight-sensitive and not), a cardboard skeleton, paper plates with skulls on them, a pumpkin garland, and orange and black napkins. Then we bought blacklights, pinlights, and a mirrored ball. The morning of we got frozen hors d'oeurvre from this place called Picard (make it so) that sells frozen stuff, plus frozen quiches and pizzas, and of course candy and mixers. Everyone came in costume, Americans and non-Americans alike. There was a Japanese butterfly, a South American Desperate Housewife, a French Barak Obama (an ingenious stroke of genious) and at least twenty others. An informal game of Mafia was played in which the killers got away, and then, as all things do, it turned into an 80's dance party until concern for the neighbors made us turn off the music. Then I took one of the few cab rides I've experienced in Paris to go home at about 5 am.

On election night, I made the decision to stay up watching CNN even though I knew I'd pay for it later. The other option was to get up at 5 am and find a TV, but then I'd miss the closing of some of the early and important polls, so a nuit blanche it was.

I ate dinner with my friend Gregoire in Meudon and then at about 11 pm headed back to Paris to meet up with American friends Lia and Laure, Canadian friend Yvonne, and Lebanese friend Sarah T. (I pick up Sarahs wherever I go). We knew of five places to watch the election: Harry's Bar, Breakfast in America (a little restaurant), Joe Allen's pub, the Town Hall in the 3rd Arrondissement (event called Nuit Americaine, which is a term they use in film for making a scene look like nighttime when it was really shot in the daytime, but also has a figurative meaning for something that's flashy but fake), and Americans Abroad for Obama at the Palais Maillot. Nuit Americaine was actually organized by the district, and screened movies (including the unflattering to the US Crash) and served breakfast until it was all over. At 11, there were already lines to get into all these places, so we had a little pow-wow, and decided that standing in the cold for an hour and then (if we got in) sitting either on a bar stool or cafeteria bench for the next seven hours would be no fun. Sarah T., who has CNN, graciously invited us over to watch what was not even her country's election when she had to go to work the next day. We were disappointed not to be amongst a crowd when the results came in, but it worked out in the end. (As for the people crowding up all these places, many were Americans, but there were also Parisians, and I'm sure there were other nationalities too.)

Back at Sarah T.'s apartment, we had a little trouble with the cable, but we watched French coverage and streamed CNN until we could get it going. The nicest thing about her neighborhood was the view of the Eiffel Tower, which was all lit up blue with the EU stars on the front (we think they did that because Paris just hosted a EU meeting). It was nice to watch an American channel, but boy is CNN flashy with all their hologram craziness...the French channel looked awfully sober in comparison. We ate junky food and had our first mini-celebration when Obama won Pennsylvania...and then it was just too easy! Right after he won Ohio, CNN started outlining how McCain really couldn't win. And we just looked at each other like, It's over! This was probably at about 3 am. But of course we kept watching, and then CNN basically interrupted all the results coming in to project Obama as the winner. We still weren't sure if we could really trust it, but then we saw the insane crowd in Chicago, and that was it! It took a little while before it sunk in and we got up and danced around. I started getting calls from Mom and Dad and Matt, since I'd told them to call in case I fell asleep. Then we danced around more. We left at 6:30 am, right after Obama's speech. It was raining and the streets were quiet - there had actually been a very hoity-toity 100€ per person event right near where we were, but we didn't see anyone. I took another one of my rare cab rides home, snuck in at 6:45 even though Marie-Claire was already up! and passed out for a while despite not having had Tylenol in at least six hours. I sent and received a few text messages saying Go Obama! Congratulations America!, but unfortunately was not well enough to go out and celebrate. Luckily though, election coverage was on all six channels that we get chez moi, so I still got to bask.

Now that I can love America again, I wish I were in NYC! But now I can get a flag to sew on my backpack, 'cause who has the coolest President now...?

As usual, new photos are on Facebook.

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