Monday, December 27, 2010

Back to Paris

We're back in Paris at long last -- back in the apartment of rue General Renault at any rate. We arrived Sunday morning, and spent most of the day coping with cold, jet lag and finally crashed, sleeping 12 hours.

Saturday morning we finished packing up, loaded the car and headed north to Douglas, MA, to meet up with Susan's brother Dick who drove us to Logan Airport. Our Air France flight was delayed 45 minutes leaving Paris so we had plenty of time to relax in the comfort of Terminal E, where Wi-Fi is now free, by the way.

The flight proved a bit bumpy at times but generally uneventful -- always a good thing when crossing the Atlantic by air, or probably sea for that matter. Still, one can't help but think how much easier and quicker it is to get from one continent to the other today -- no little ships bobbing in the water at quayside, spending 2 weeks at sea retching along with farm animals. No, we just sit in small chairs (and getting smaller all the time it seems) 5 miles up in the sky sliding across the earth's atmosphere.

Although nearly 7am it was still dark when we landed in Paris. After breezing through passport control we had to wait more than a half hour for our bags; in fact ours were nearly the last to come off. It was then another wait of nearly an hour for our shuttle before we were cruising south into the city center, and soon dropped off at our apartment.

We had a bit of a hiccup in getting the keys but since Drea had not one but two back-up sets of keys in the city we were soon inside and unpacked.

 (I left Susie inside the building's vestibule riding herd on our bags while I headed to the Metro line 5 and north to the 19th arrondissement to find the second set of keys. Although I still had one Metro ticket from Susie's spring trip I planned to buy a carnet, a pack of 10 that we could use before topping off our Navigo electronic pass. I walked up to a kiosk to buy a pack of 10 tickets, something I had done many times before, and yet stood dumbfounded. Whether it was jet lag or something more profound, I drew a complete blank on how to do this simple task. An older gentleman took pity on my stuporous behavior and walked me through the steps necessary to buy the tickets.

As I was sitting on the train, a line we took many times in the past, somewhat zoned out from travel and a lack of good food, I couldn't help but notice an odd sensation come over me: just hours before I was sitting in Boston in a room full of strangers all equally eager to get to destinations all over the world, and now here I was back where I long to be, on the Metro no less, as if I had never left.)

After settling in and turning on the heat we headed back out and over to the huge outdoor market on Richard Lenoir, near the Bastille. The idea was to pick up a few things for the week and to just absorb the incredible wonders of Paris' largest outdoor food market. So we bought some cheese, bread, fruit, and finding ourselves at La Bastille we walked up one of our favorite streets, rue de la Roquette to Place Leon Blum. Across from the Place we picked up a small freshly roasted chicken (with matching roasted potatoes) at our semi-regular boucherie and then walked across the street to Nicolas' for a bottle of sparkling Alsatian wine ("Cremant d'Alsace"). A few minutes later we were back home. We dozed on the sofas under multiple series of covers before finally rousing our bodies to have a bite to eat, a glassy of bubbly and just relaxed before eventually heading off to bed and the warmth proved by two down comforters.

It is now Monday morning and the sun is desperately trying to break through the overcast and make its point. The plan right now is to pick up a few more things at the nearby Franprix grocery store, have some soup with cheese and baguette, top off our Navigo at the Bastille and head over to the BHV department store for slippers and a space heater. Eventually we hope to meet up with Andrea and Barbara this afternoon and all of us enjoy Vietnamese food at "Lao Lane Xang" in the 13th later this evening.

Food is fast becoming the determining factor in this trip and I sense it will only grow more so in the days to come.

We're in Paris.

Wish you were here,

Steve

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