Thursday, June 4, 2009

Paris is Crawling with Very Skinny People Eating Pastries

Hello from France.

I'm sitting on the couch of our little holiday apartment (and I mean little as in cute AND very small.). The windows are open and I can hear cars and motorcycles, dogs barking, people speaking French. I'm waiting for Sam to arrive. His plane should have landed, so it won't be long now. I will be glad to have someone to talk to, someone to kiss on the steps of little churches, someone to speak French on my behalf. I've done okay communicating; it's just exhausting and sort of scary.

I've walked A LOT since I got here. Today I walked for four hours. I could have taken the metro but I wanted to see things and now the city makes some sense. I got lost a few times, but what does lost matter when you're in Paris?

I remembered that travel--particularly when you're alone and in a country where you don't speak the language--boils you down to your essential elements. I am feet, eyes, and stomach. I walk, see stuff, and eat when I'm hungry. It's strange to have my mouth closed for so many hours of the day.

And now I shall report a series of small events/observations:

*We flew Icelandair, which I'm a fan of. The stewardesses were tall blondes with hats and ruffley white cravats. The airport in Iceland was small and stylish--dark hardwood floors, strange grey angles, big windows, and tinkling techno-ish music piped over the loudspeaker. I could live there.

*Sam arranged for someone associated with the apartment rental company to pick me up. They were half an hour late, so I was standing by all the people holding signs, craning my neck to see if any of the signs said my name, worrying I was in the wrong place. Finally, I saw a man holding a sign that said "Sami Ruddick." Surely this was a confusion of Sam's name, but Sami also happens to be the name of Sam's ex-girlfriend. (I know, Sam and Sami.) For a moment when I saw the sign, I wondered if I had hallucinated this whole thing: perhaps Sam had married Sami and I was just a crazy stalker trying to crash their honeymoon. I worried the two of us (Sami and I) would arrive at this man at the same time and my lovely bubble would be burst. Luckily, this was not so.

*Yesterday afternoon I walked to Luxemburg Gardens and ate lunch in a green metal chair. It was sunny yesterday, so the garden was full of people. Little kids set toy sailboats out on a fountain, then chased them around and poked them with long wooden sticks.

*After my walk, I was so tired my eyes hurt, so tired I wanted to cry, so tired I accidently put face wash on my toothbrush, and went to bed at 6:30.

*Today, under the Eiffel tower, I saw a group of preschoolers on a field trip, wearing little hats and backpacks, shouting in French, and chasing one another. One little boy had a clear backpack full of small baguettes. I don't know why I loved that little boy and his baguette backpack so much.

*I got accused of hating Africa when I wouldn't sign some petition some man shoved at me. That was odd.

*I read in my guidebook that sometimes people will try to pickpocket you by pretending to find a piece of jewelry on the ground just as you get close. I remembered this AFTER a girl on the path found a gold wedding band and made a big deal about it. I said maybe it belonged to a man walking just ahead of us, and kept going. Then I remembered the scam part and double-checked the presence of my wallet and camera about four hundred times. I have them. I watched other girls do this to tourists several more times, but they didn't seem to pickpocket. I don't get it.

That's it for now, folks. Sam should be here any minute. I hope he'll be willing to talk. I want to speak English.

5 comments:

belann said...

Well, I hope Sam is there by now. So glad you are recording the events. Again, enjoy every minute.

eden said...

sounds wonderful already! and i'm sure it will get even better with sam there.

oh dej, i'm so envious of this whole trip and simply amazed that you're doing it.

my dream trip right now is a mediterranean cruise - with an additional week in italy. oh how i dream!

Amara said...

I wanted pictures of the mythological skinny people with the pastries. OK I really just want pictures of the pastries. If I were in Paris I'd eat pastries skinny or not. Please keep doing the observations. Please please please. It makes me feel like I'm there.

Mike and Emily said...

I love hearing your stories...keep them coming! It reminds me of what it means to be outside of here.

Annie said...

This is great. I hope you post pictures too.

Its true that everyone there is skinny! And they all dress really nice. You're gonna have a great time!