Just a quick quick quick note. I am having the most fabulouse time. I think I was Parisian in another life. I am fitting in better than I ever expected. When I got here, I knew no French because I was being stupid and in two days I am conversing with everyone! I love it!!! There is so much life here. I have so much to say but getting to the internet has been next to impossible. Not because there aren’t places to connect but because I am with a group and I don’t want to spoil their fun because I need to plug in. So today I am sneaking away to a little cafe. I’m tucked in the back watching people walk by on the boulevard. The waiters are being so nice to me.
Travel Travel Travel
My head is still spinning from all the flying and sitting and flying and sitting. I knew it was going to be a painfully long flight, but phew! it was worse than I imagined! Now I know why everyone just recommends taking a tylenol pm and blocking out the whole thing. I slept for about three hours on our flight from the states to Frankfort, Germany.
My mom didn’t sleep a wink. It was pure torture for her. With her weight it was impossible to get comfortable in a seat half the size she needed. The arm rests wouldn’t go up all the way so she alternated between it digging into her hip or digging into her shoulder. It was awful watching her suffer. It made me question my motives for making her tag along with me. At one point she broke down in tears, saying “she doesn’t fit” like a school girl rejected by the rest of the class. It hurts seeing her feel that way. I hope that this experience is an inspiration to lose more weight instead of just another reason to give up altogether. I guess time will tell. By the time we made it to Frankfort, paying four times over for first class ticket wasn’t looking so bad. Those seats are huge! Like a giant couch potato recliner and you even get your own personal bud vase and a red rose!
The flight from Frankfort to Paris was much more pleasant. I think. I’m not sure because I was out cold sleeping. I woke up with my head on my chest drooling, a kink in my neck and the lunch cart half way down the aisle past me. Not that I’m dying for any airplane food, but I’m didn’t really want to miss out on a cup of strong German coffee. So I gathered up my adventurer’s courage and flagged down a stewardess. She politely brought me a cup in a funny plastic yellow cup that reminded me a toy or a lid from IKEA. Actually a lot of things in the Frankfort airport reminded me of IKEA. Maybe it was just all the nice clean simple lines and bright colors.
A funny thing happened on our flights with Lufthansa. On the way onto the airplane they offer you free magazines and newspapers. Many of them are in German and some are in English. Naturally, I swiped the glossy fashion mag with Nicole Kidman’s face on the cover, not caring that the headlines were in German. Then I guess because I was reading a German magazine (and maybe because I do happen to have a lot of German blood in me) the stewardesses (or pursers) spoke to me only in German! They spoke to my mom in English but it was all “hans franz and bitter schnowzen” with me (obviously that’s not what they were saying but that’s what it sounded like). I just nodded and said thank you. We seemed to make out okay.
And then we landed in Paris…
Paris is a dream come true. It is everything I thought it would be and more. From the jostling train to the crowded subway with sinister doors that close in 17 seconds, to the softly lit romantic streets, every where I look there is a picture waiting to be captured. It is like the charm of the small town I live in but it goes on for blocks and blocks and blocks! The buildings, the signs, the funny small cars, the store windows, and best of all the way the people dress! Everyone is beautiful and not in the plastic surgery kind of way that is so familiar back at home. It’s natural unprovoked beauty.
I am fascinated by the people. I am wondering why everyone is wearing coats and sweaters, tights and boots in weather that makes me miss the sun dress and flip flops I didn’t pack! The weather is quite warm and balmy. Then there’s the scarves! Just like you told me, everyone wears scarves! Scarves scarves scarves! I see every color and texture like big fluttering pieces of jewelry. From hand woven turquoise mohair to beaded burgundy raw silk, to something that looks like a cross between a white cotton bed sheet and a giant origami crane on the side of someone’s neck…! Some are wrapped around and around like giant royal collars, others are hung over their shoulders and belted at the waist. There seem to be a million and one ways to wear a scarf in Paris, the important factor being simply that you wear one! I’m beginning to wonder if that is how you tell a local from the many many tourists. The tourists are the ones peeling off their clothes and sweating as they heft their heavy suitcases up and down the stairs. The locals are dressed to the nines and look like they’re ready for a walk in the park on a cold winter day.
Today we mostly just walked around the Marais district. Our tour guide’s husband took us on a meandering path through narrow cobbled walkways to quiet alcoves and peaceful parks. He pointed out historical private hotels and palaces and told us who built what for whom and when. Of course while he was reading sign posts and pointing out the ancient ruins, I was snapping pictures like they are going out of style. No I’m not a tourist, not me!
As I’m photographing ever other passing minute, I have to wonder if the romance I see is just what I project onto this place? Are all these strange and wonderful things as common as taking a picture of a 7-11 back home? If so I apologize for being boring… but to me it’s a whole new world.
Tomorrow we are off to the Orsay, the Champs de Elise, the Eiffel Tower and whatever amazing shops we can find in between. So far I haven’t spent a penny on anything besides the most delicious chocolate croissant ever.
P.S. in an effort to be quick I’m going to misspell everything. I’m learning by phonetics, that seems to be the easiest way.