• movies,  Paris

    Best Not Forgot

    Best Not Forgot

    There have been so many things I’ve forgotten to record that are so wonderful I just want to jot them down while I’m thinking of them. First off, I didn’t say anything about the Pompidou. I haven’t been inside it but we walked by it on our way to an underground theatre production. The Pompidou is called “the inside out building” because it has all it’s plumbing, ventilation ducts and electrical etc. on the outside instead on the inside. I understand that each are color coded as well, giving the building a graphic whimsy. Of course several of the older ladies in our group thought it was a disgrace but that’s a typical reaction. I read in my guidebook that it has been a controversy ever since it was built in 1977. But you know what’s funny, everything is a controversy when it’s first built in Paris. The Parisians like to be opinionated. I thought the modern building was nifty, but not as nifty as the very cool kinetic sculpture water fountain next to it. I don’t have the details on it right now but it’s a great place to sit and eat crepes and watch children play and grown men ride small bicycles.

    The second thing I forgot to blog about was the underground theatre production!!! This was crazy fun. It was one of those secret things that nobody knows about and of course I didn’t grab a flyer or even jot down a note so now I’m reporting on it without even the slightest bit of helpful information. Near the Pompidou, down a tiny narrow street with a red door at the end and a number six above it, was this very very small teeny tiny underground theatre. Maybe a 40 person capacity max. But then again I’m terrible with numbers so I could be wrong. All I know is that it was down underground and there were red velvet seats so close together that you rubbed knees with the row in front of you. It was dark and dank and cellar like. There were brick arches for walls. It could be part of the catacombs even. Paris has a whole world underneath it.

    I give our tour guides fifty-million stars for entertaining us valliently. Every day was fun filled and there is no way I ever would have found myself here watching this (2 meg quicktime) if they weren’t the masters of finding obscure “carrrrazeeee Pareeeeziannne ‘sexperiences” as they called them. Please forgive the sound quality and bluriness…it is just my spy camera after all. Plus I was so worried about my camera putting a red dot on the actor’s foreheads that I focused first on my lap and then lifted the camera up to film. It was that intimate, I really didn’t want to piss anybody off.

    On the last night before the group left (and I stayed behind because I extended our stay five days) our group leader sent my sister-in-law and I to a jazz club called Lez 7 Lezards. I strongly recommend it! This venue also had a small teeny tiny underground seating area with knees to chairs to maybe accidentally unplugging the sound system if you weren’t careful where you were stepping. Small or no, it was the most fantastic (I’m running out of adjectives here!) Brazillian Bossa Nova ever! I think it was Bebel Gilberto’s grandaughter herself. Well not really, but I was stunned. By both her sassy French beauty and her flawless syruppy voice… If she isn’t already, she is going to be big. Her name is Katia Goldman and here (3.5 meg quicktime) is another bit of movie filmed on the sly. I’m glad I didn’t bring my movie camera afterall. There is no way I would have had the guts to film her with that thing. At least this way I just had the camera on, sitting on my lap, secretly capturing the moment as best I could. I did a terrible job capturing, she sounded ten times better live.

    I think that’s all for now. I’m still running several days behind but I’m staying at a new hotel with internet access and it’s been raining pretty hard so I think I will catch up soon. Thanks for stopping by everybody! I’ve missed you terribly but it makes for great fun when I get to read 17 comments all at once!

    Au revoir!

    p.s. Has anybody noticed the space invaders?

  • Paris

    Slowing Things Down

    Slowing Things Down

    There came a time in our tour when the old grumpsters with aching joints (of whom my mom is chief) made it clear that they could not, would not, keep up the pace of the group any more. So we took a leisurely early dinner in a small plaza not a block away from our hotel. I am so in love with the Morais district. Everything is so quaint but ten million times more sophisticated than any city I’ve ever lived in.

    Did you know they don’t have plastic here? As in, no plastic shopping bags or styrofoam drink cups or to-go boxes? Everything comes in glass. I am in heaven. I am always on my mom’s case to get rid of plastic. If I had my way I’d never use tupperware again. But alas I am American and not French so I think it’s a losing battle. Anyway that is just a little part of why the Morais district is so lovely. We eat outside at round tables. The wooden (not plastic!) chairs are squeezed together as close as they can fit. Sometimes the tables go right off the side walk and onto the street. Nobody minds. There aren’t any signs warning you that there is an uneven step or that there isn’t enough room to fit a wheel chair by. Everything is just where is and no questions are asked. It’s your Parisian right to just pay attention and not step out in front of a car. If you get hit, well I don’t know what happens. Maybe the government pays for your hospital stay. After all, you do pay 20% tax on everything! TWENTY PERCENT! Can you imagine?

    But I digress…

    The square near our hotel was called something Catherine. Maybe “Place de Catherine”. It is just a small square, the size of a regular intersection. In the middle is a brick court yard, shaded by leafy trees. Around it are four or five restaurants that set up chairs outside. Children play in the center and once a funny Asian man started doing these weird wacky cheers as part of some kind of performance art. He was so funny because he was really really bad. Kind of like that one singer on American Idol who got so famous because he can’t sing. (Maybe it was him, I don’t know.) But that’s what I love about Paris. You can do whatever you want. If you feel moved by the music or the way the sun is filtering through the trees, it’s totally okay to just get up and act like a maniac. Or not. You can sit at your table and drink beer for four hours too and nobody will ever tell you to get lost so they can set your table for another party either.

    After our leisurely dinner we took a sunset walk to the Bastile, up the canal and then over to the Seine and right through the middle of the two islands. We stopped to get ice cream or “glaces” from the famous Bertillion (sp?) ice cream shop but there was a long line so we went to the shop next door and I got a scoop of Passion fruit gelato. Guess what, if you want to know exactly what it tastes like, you can buy some at Trader Joe’s. It’s exactly the same and not a disappointment at all because Trader Joe’s passion fruit gelato is the bomb. Just like being in Paris!

Secret Agent Josephine
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© Brenda Ponnay