Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
No, she accepted an offer from Denis, a young acquaintance who said, "I'll take you." Wonderful, I thought - a drive! He told me it'd cost 20 euros for gas. No problem. Then he said, it'd be better if you came to my place the night before, it'd make it easier in the morning. I knew he still lived with his family, though he's 27. Do you have room? I asked. Yes, they're away, he wrote back. Okay, I thought. It'll be good to just get out of here and have a night in a picturesque French home.
Denis is a computer geek who worked wonders with the internet in the Paris apartment, a family friend of my landlady, an odd duck and someone I hardly know. I happily packed up and left with him on Monday night, noticing that we were driving away from the airport - it's north east of the city, we were driving south west. It turned out that he lives past Versailles, in a suburb way, way on the complete opposite side of Paris.
In the French version of a gated subdivision - cute, ye olde row houses on streets named for artists - rue Renoir, rue Corot, rows of identical houses. Oh well, I thought. I'd offered to take him for a simple meal somewhere for my last night, a little local bistro, so the plan was a nice meal and a quiet night in the empty house.
Inside the house was the worst jumble of mess - bottles, a hookah, mattresses on the floor, old food, DVD's and dirty dishes - I've ever seen, in the middle of which were 3 young men. His 19-year old brother and his 2 best friends had been living there for a month in the absence of parents. I stood in the living room, knee deep in chaos, calling myself names. And then Denis suggested that instead of going out, we order pizza. Okay, I said, thinking, well, that'll be cheap, a nice artisanal pizza.
My final dinner in France was the Pizza Hut special - a pepperoni pizza and chicken wings, shared with 3 hungry 19-year olds. Denis had his own. It cost me 30 euros.
Then Denis told me that in order to get to work on time, he'd have to get me to the airport by 7.30, which meant getting up around 6 because, of course, we were so far away. I didn't have to be at the airport till 8.30. And, he said, the cost for gas would be 40 euros.
My clever ruse had me at the airport three hours before the flight after not much sleep, 70 euros lighter. Just to complete my idiocy marathon, I went to the duty free store and found Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte at 18 euros less than I'd paid for it in Paris.
What to say but - ah well. I will never forget that last night. In fact, the three boys were fun, and once they'd cleared some of the mouldy food and empty bottles from the table, we had a good time as we ate our tasteless appalling Pizza Hut special. Whereas a tranquil last night in my beautiful Latin Quarter apartment, a special, delicious meal, a cab on time and relatively cheap, would not have made a good story.
I do these stupid things just for you.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
More bad, sad news from home - Muriel Duckworth, one of the world's great souls, has died.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I've just emerged from a long, hot bath and am a human dishrag. Truly, I can't remember ever being this tired. Mustn't give up, I keep thinking, there's so much of Paris still to discover and explore! And yet I can hardly put one foot in front of the other.
The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to
learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and
when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be
wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like
hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be
alive. You will be dead soon enough”
William Saroyan (American Writer, 1908-1981)
PS. Inside my Chanel bag were three free samples of other perfumes which will make a nice present for my daughter - and the bag itself, too. So, really, a totally justifiable purchase. Yes?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Some new pix - start at the bottom and follow the journey up to here...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
"There was a break-up coming, you could smell it," one of his characters says, "and no one was saying anything. We’d taken things as far as we could, and there was nowhere for us to go. That’s why everyone breaks up, I guess, bands, friends, marriages, whatever. Parties, weddings, anything."
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
La Vielle Major, cathedral of Marseilles, a souvenir of my misadventure