We were supposed to go to Koln today but instead Rick went early to the American Embassy and got a new passport. It cost him $60 and 2 hours, and he now has a brand new passport issued from the French US Embassy. It's SPANKIN' COOL.
He has some really good stories about the passport agency - the man asks you questions to prove you're an American citizen. He only asked Rick a couple - How long Rick had lived in Illinois, name all the schools he'd attended since grade school, and a bunch of questions about the band. Other people got even better questions - where were you when the space shuttle blew up, and name your senators. My guess is that if the woman couldn't name her senators then it'd be proven that she's an American Citizen. The best question they asked someone that day: where did you watch the last episode of Seinfeld?
The rest of the day Rick and I spent in the Louvre, where I think I've never been. It was ok - actually I don't think I've ever seen that many pictures by Italian painters before and they are pretty cool, for OLD stuff.
The Mona Lisa is in the center of a room enclosed in glass with people swarming around like flies. You are allowed to take pictures anywhere in the Louvre, although they strongly suggest that you don't use flashes, and most people ignore that.
That all reminds me of the American flag that hung at the battle where the
Star Spangled Banner was written, now hanging in a dark room in the
Smithsonian building. The lights are so dim in the room that you can barely see the
immense, hanging flag. It has to be kept in a dark room and guarded from flashes,
because it's fading. What a perfect metaphor.
The picture next to the Mona Lisa is this guy looking off to his right, towards the Mona Lisa, and he looks really pissed off. It's hilarious because there are never any people swarming in front of him, so he looks disgusted and sad that no one pays attention to him. I tried to get a good picture of him looking off at her and her crowds.