I’m in Paris. I arrived here at 8:30am on June 10th. It’s my first time in Europe and I will be travling to Milan, Cologne, Berlin and Amsterdam over the next 17 days, as I’ve already been here for three. It’s awesome. My friend Cynthia Morris is my gracious tour guide. She’s making sure that I’m not subjected to the God-Awful tourist sesspools. We’re staying in an apartment in Bastille, the 11th (did I say that right?).
2nd: The Women
The women here dress themselves well. There are so many unique expressions of fashion and they seem to do it so effortlessly. If there’s one thing that I’d like to take home with me (besides everything that I see in the store windows), it’s the grace that I see in older women… luckily I have some time to practice this! It’s such a beautiful thing and a relief to see how easily it’s done. They take wonderful care of themselves, dress well and let nature take over from there. There’s no thick makeup or scars from surgery. They wear elegant dresses and dangly jewels despite their lack of estrogen. This is what a woman looks like and it’s exquisite. Old and young, they turn my head.
3rd: The language
I made absolutely no effort to learn the language before I headed out here. As some of you know, I had a lot going on. When my friend Laurel called me on Monday morning to let me know that she was on her way over to take me to the airport, she said something and I needed to ask “what?” 2 times before she explained that she was saying “Good Morning” in French. That’s when I knew then that I was in trouble!
Luckily, Cynthia speaks French fluently and I’ve sort of depended on it. It’s wild to hear this whole other personality come out in her when she switches modes. She goes from this low, matter-of-fact, History Channel narration voice, to this sing songy playful voice that always has some French person smiling and laughing. I think she’s talking about me! JK.
C, spent hours at the train office dealing with this reservation thing that we had no idea that we had to deal with until two days ago. We thought our EuroRail pass was our ticket to EuroFreedom… not so much. Better to find out now than at 8am on Monday with all of our shtuff! I was nodding off in the waiting area trying to read body language and determine how screwed we were, when I announced that I was going to zip out for some coffee. It wasn’t until I was a block away that I realized that I was on my own. Ordering the coffee was easy. “Bonjour. Cafe?” I got lucky when the only question was “Petite ou Grande?”. I felt like I should have won a prize for knowing the answer. Then when he brought me my coffee I said “please” in French. I was so friggin’ embarrassed, I blushed and he got all flustered like he brought me the wrong thing, but we worked it out and I’ve since put it behind me. Today I ordered a Baguette at the market without any mishaps. Gold Star please!
4th: The Metro
Cynthia was rushing through the subway and had to keep calling back to me… you’d think I was taking a stroll through Disney Land or something. Maybe the Metro wouldn’t be as cool if I lived in New York, but not even New York has half naked chicks rubbed down in oil on billboard ads or amplified Mariachi players or elevators and walkways that move at the speed of light.
I accidentally lost my focus on the back of Cynthia’s head (which holds a lot of very valuable information, including where we live) for a second and she was gone. People were rushing through some gate that looked like a one time opportunity and I looked around frantically and I swear, I almost yelled “MOMMY!” just before she snatched me up and saved my life. Later that day C only had one ticket and we were late… and there was no ticket sales at that station, so we went through together. I’m sure that wasn’t supposed to be broadcast here, but wow, that felt like some kind of magical initiation. Oh, and last night/this morning we were deep in the subway when it closed for the night and when we came up, gates were closed and we had to wander around the maze of tunnels to find a way out. Yay!
First of all, everything here is art. I don’t think it means to be, it just is… to me. It’s like I’m on some crazy drug that makes everything interesting. I have yet to go to the Louvre. I plan to check that out tomorrow, if I can, but that’s only if I have time after the Largest Modern Art Collection in all of Europe.
Yesterday, we went to the Picasso museum. I cried. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so moved by art (talk to me after we see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam). How bizarre it is that the first impression that I had of this artist, as it was passed down to me was “anyone could do that.” I kept playing that song from the Repo Man soundtrack over in my head “Pablo Picasso was an Asshole”. So what if he was! Why should such an amazing artist be bothered by something as uncreative as being a nice person? Go ahead, break my heart.
Cynthia shared with me her thoughts on how wonderful it is that he gave himself so much permission to play with different concepts, colors, styles and mediums. Totally true, but he also never seemed to stop working and studying. This was a man that took his play very seriously… I think this might be my own motto.
My Favorites: Two Bathers, Man with a Straw Hat and an Ice Cream Cone, The Goat (sculpture).
This is supposed to be the city of romance, but I haven’t seen too much (in the person to person sense). It’s a big city, so people
are generally in a hurry. But I did see a lip lock on display at the park, which was fun. Also, I get to hear about Cynthia’s new Portugese romance a few times… per hour. She thinks I’m sick of it, but I’m not. I like to get as close as I can to this romance thing without falling in. The Universe seems to be doing it’s part to help me in this endeavor and I’m thankful.
The day I got here Cynthia dragged me across town to the Jewish district for a Fallafel, but when we got there, the place was closed. Some random Jewish holiday, which I’m sure isn’t so random to Jewish people. I saw a guy with a Fallafel and said “look, there’s a Fallafel!”, but “no, it’s not the same,” she explained. She was so upset! Perhaps it’s that time of the month, I thought… but the very next day (yesterday) she took me back and I totally got it. I got the best Falafel I’ve ever had in my entire life AND I got why she was pouting so. Wholey Fallafel Sandwich! This thing contained roasted eggplant, shredded beats, pickled cabbage and who knows what else, because it was gone in under 2 minutes. L’AS du FALLAFEL is famous. Funny, they use their wallspace to advertise their relationship with Lenny Kravitz, through owner-with-celebrity photos. OH, Crazy Paris Fact: The line outside the takeout window stretches past 3 store fronts when there are seats inside. Why? because it costs more to eat inside! And for places with a patio, it costs more to eat on it.
8th: Party People
Cynthia arranged a Picnic on the Bridge over the Siene, last night. She advertised on the Paris Group on CouchSurfing.com. The bridge is the most popular hangout that I’ve seen so far. There were couples having dates and groups of teens and young professionals… all drinking wine. Try that in Denver! I carried around a sign that said C.S. on it in order to find these strangers, which was enough fun and then met 3 locals, 2 Portugese peeps and one 18 year old girl from Miami that sings opera. You’ll hear more about CS as this journey moves on.
I have been drooling over the fashion here. No one who lives here has any excuse not to look like a hipster, if they have a hip bone in their body. The guy at the post office today looked like some kind of a rock star. I hadn’t bought anything (Money Money Money) until I was freezing today and got a cheap little jacket at the market. Cheap, but still cool. Says something French on the back about Destruction. Novel. Love it. Next, I need new shoes. The balooning blisters on my heals have me walking on my toes. Can’t have that.
That’s all she wrote. If you read it all, you must really like me.