Okay, sorry about that. Between the crazy pregnancy stories and the planetarium flashbacks, I managed to overly postpone my plans to tell you about my time in Paris.
So, I got there Wednesday -a week ago - after a typically restless sleep on the train. It’s mostly the rocking and rolling and related jostling, but it’s partly the subpar bunk-style Murphy beds.
And possibly they’re pumping poison gas into the air during the wee hours.
I have no actual proof.
But I do have suspicous anecdotal information.
Here’s the story: As you may or may not remember, back in August on the train from Lisbon to Madrid, I accidentally slept with my ‘Day and Night’ contacts in. Supposedly you can wear these contacts for a month straight without issue, but my eyes will have none of that.
Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night that night and my eyes burned like sulfuric acid, and I took the contacts out and didn’t put them back in for three weeks…just to be safe. And then when I did put them in, all hell broke loose, and I actually thought I may have scratched the cornea or something, but happily it all worked out in the end.
ANYWAY, my point here is that I woke up in the middle of the night on the train from Barcelona to Paris last week, and I didn’t have my contacts in this time, but my eyes were burning something fierce, and it was exactly like I remembered it…without the contacts and the corneal scarring.
Otherwise, Paris was lovely. I like to just walk the streets and take it all in. Except when there are monsoon-like torrential rains, which there were, so that’s too bad.
As always, I struggled with the language. I took four years of French in high school and some overachieving part of my brain believes that I should still remember all that stuff, but the bulk of my gray matter will not cooperate with this aspiration.
One night I had a dream that I remembered everything I’d ever learned and spoke with a spot-on accent, and when I woke up I was super disappointed to to realize it wasn’t actually real.
By and large we could get by, and what I do remember was enough. More accurately, it had to be enough, so I made it work, but I find it very frustrating to be unable to effectively communicate. The major hardship came in with the handwritten menus scrawled in white on black chalkboards at pretty much every brasserie in town.
This is charming in theory, but in reality it’s like taking an eye exam and a foreign language test at the same time. Minus a few key items (pommes frites, names of known pastas like penne or linguine, and escargots), what was delivered to me was often not exactly what I was expecting.
Sometimes it was completely left field of what I was expecting in a “oh. So THAT’s what ballotine or rissole or soissons means…”
To ease the foreign-ness and take a break from the rain, we went and saw Angels and Devils in its unaltered form. The movie itself was all right – not great, not terrible. Tom Hanks is looking good. He’s seen doing laps in the Harvard swimming pool early in the morning, and he looked so fit I would’ve bet money that wasn’t him. Actually, now that I type those words, maybe it wasn’t him? Maybe it was a much more buff body double? Who would ever know? Except me and my eagle eye (once outfitted with corrective lenses, of course).
Anyway, the movie was mostly a welcome dose of American English, but specific to the situation, everything said in Italian (which was a fifteen minute chunk of talking, all told) was translated into French, so I found it something of a double whammy for my saturated brain (which still furiously tried to translate despite the futility of the effort.)
Otherwise, I saw through the plot almost immediately. I’m a bad person to go to the movies with. Within the first twenty minutes I identified the ‘real’ bad guy, and announced my theory. Due to the filmmakers need for an onslaught of unfathomable and unbelievable twists and turns, for a long time going there, it looked like I was wrong, but in the end I was oh so right. As always.
So there you have it: food, movies, and rain. The rains in Spain may fall mainly on the plains, but the rains in France dump all over Paris. And then some.
The first day, while walking back to the apartment from the Eiffel tower we got caught in a torrential downpour. It was the kind of rain so ferocious you’re confident it’s going to back off at any second. But it didn’t.
It just got worse and worse, and I seriously started to wonder if I might get struck by lightening channeled through my cheap H&M umbrella which would blow inside out at the first sign of the slightest breeze. But after a while, you realize you’re so wet that you’re committed, and you’re pressing on even if an ark comes floating down the road.
That’s how I found myself totally drenched up to my BUTT (seriously, my jeans soaked up so much water that even my underwear was wet) and neither the denim nor my shoes would dry out the entire time despite the fact that they were lying over a heater. In fact, I had had to pack them up wet.
Thank you, Paris, for making my brand new sneakers smell like mildew.
I’ll remember you fondly each time I catch a whiff.