Sunday, January 07, 2007

Spellbound and speechless

It's the name of a song, but it also describes me -- when I saw the cathedral at Chartres.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Metro intimacy

Bonne Année! I continue to write 2006 on things instead of 2007.

I spent the day at a museum in St. Germain. When I got on the metro at St. Michel to come home, an elfin French girl sidled up to me and very nicely asked me…something. I don’t know what she said. From her body language I thought she was asking if she could go into the turnstile before me, so I stepped out of her path.

In surprise, I thought, “That was a really polite way of asking me to move.”

Then, with an impatient look, she blurted out, “AVEC vous! AVEC vous!”

Oh. Sorry, I’m a little slow, wasn’t expecting a request to help steal the metro! Okay.

She jumped in the turnstile with me, flattened herself against my back, and quickly disappeared once inside.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I just liked the look of this because it reminds me of D. He loves ramshackle buildings of all kinds. It's in an area of the 3rd arrondissement that a friend loves for its quiet charm -- close to the bustle of the Marais but the masses haven't discovered it yet. I feel like it's all mine!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hot like fy-ah, or burning down the house

I was thinking of my far-away fondue-loving friend (probably because I was looking at a mouth-watering fondue recipe on the Chocolate and Zucchini blog last night). She has an elaborate setup and makes the best lamb and shrimp to dip in the oil. I don't know what she does to it, but I'm always happy to eat the results. One New Year's Eve we had too much champagne to pay attention to what the oil was doing. Burning. She (I?) dropped it and the oil spilled, and we looked down to see a trail of merry flames on the hardwood floor of her apartment. Silly champagne giggles amidst the mad scramble -- and luckily no harm done. I know, I know, not funny.

Happy holidays, fondue fiend!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sacré Coeur and bracelets out of the blue

Surely Christmas Day would be a good time to wander around the steep hills of Montmartre. It would be less crowded, and we'd have space to enjoy the vast views of the city and its people from a prime spot in front of the Sacré Coeur. And yes, I confess that I also wanted to work off some of the buche de noel I'd eaten earlier.

As we climbed the first of the many, many stairs, a pushy little guy intercepted us. At first I thought he was asking for money, but he was trying to tie a bracelet on D.'s arm! I burst out laughing. D., so much nicer than I, put him off with a gentle, "Non, merci. Merci. Mer-CI..."

We climbed farther up the stairs and turned to watch Paris spread out in front of us. The same pesky little guy popped up in my peripheral vision. This time he was trying to tie the bracelet on a meek-looking man burdened with an unwieldy camera. Bracelet man was pretty aggressive. He plucked at the tourist's jacket and zigged and zagged into his personal space while the poor tourist tried to pull away. He scared him with his unexpected bracelet offensive. Oddly, this took place over a long period of time. The whole vignette unfolded in some surreal slo-mo that ended when the tourist fled.

I'm positive the tourist will go home with exaggerated tales of how dangerous Montmartre is.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The saints are coming

First I couldn't get the song "The Saints are Coming" out of my head.  I thought it was U2 and...somebody.  (My brother-in-law, the biggest U2 fan in the world, would be aghast to know this.  He actually chased Bono through an airport in Ethiopia once, waving his passport to look like like a press pass so he could get close to him.  He wound up with the gift of Bono's glasses, which are custom made for him. That's not the only time he's chased and met him either; once he snuck into some kind of EU session in Brussels to get to him.) 

Then I realized I didn't know what the hell they were saying in the song, so I googled it to find the lyrics.  I ended up in the wikipedia entry for the song, originally sung by a Scottish punk group called The Skids. Never been into punk, wouldn't have known that, understandable.  

But.  Because I was traveling around the time this happened, I guess, I missed the huge news about the reopening of the Superdome in New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina and U2 and Green Day playing the song together live before the Saints game there.  I didn't know they were giving the proceeds to Hurricane Katrina charities.  And I never saw until today the video that depicted the redeployment of troops from Iraq to New Orleans to help the victims.  If only.

It made me wonder how residents of the Lower Ninth Ward are getting by, and what the U.S. government is doing to help long after the spotlight has moved elsewhere.  If you go to youtube, you can see plenty of firsthand footage of people driving through the area.  I'm going to track down the documentary "When the Levees Broke." A friend from New Orleans said I really need to see it.  

D. used to ask me how the social net works in the U.S.  What if you get really sick?  What if you lose your job?  In Denmark, if you lose your job and you have a dog, the government makes sure that you have money to cover the cost of dog food.  

Something to think about. Ho ho ho.

Saturday, December 23, 2006