Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 34: Pensive in Paris

I don't know if it is the realization that my grand adventure is coming to a close, or if 5 days living in Paris has lulled me into thinking I live here, but I'm tired of museums, lines and taking pictures.

I slowly woke, took my time making breakfast, packed my back pack in preparation for leaving tomorrow. As uncomfortable as an apartment can be without AC, a musty and dusty loft bedroom, and a tiny shower that has a temperamental hot water knob, this place was home.

I had planned to visit the Musee D'Orsay but when I got there, two long lines had already formed and in the hot sun of noon, I just did not have the patience to wait. I returned to the metro and went to the Eiffel Tower. It was a glorious day, but again, I didn't not want to wait.

Instead, I went to the river Seine to catch a boat ride. It was just an hour long but why not? I also had the chance to try a "French Donut" looks suspiciously like a cronut but I added powdered sugar. How apropos, on the Seine in Paris, the Eiffel Tower at my back and eating a French donut.

I was feeling like a native.

The boat took us out to see several interesting points along the way. Unfortunately, I like to sit on the top, out in the elements, which meant no audio narration.

I saw the Place de la Concorde, the bridge with the locks(seems like all the bridges had locks), Notre Dame looked magnificent, and the Eiffel Tower looked commanding. It was a nice lazy pace and I enjoyed the breeze and the sun(now I realize I could be fatigued by the bit of sun bathing I did).

Afterwards, I walked along the Seine and came upon this copy of the flame that Lady Liberty holds in New York Harbor. It also stands, as I heard on my audio guide on the Big Bus, over the spot where Princess Diana died in the car crash.

As I walked along the Seine, I saw some great activities where I didn't see a lot of tourists. But they looked very fun.

I had seen a nice place from the boat, I found it and sat down in what looked like a very comfortable chair. Sadly it was too comfortable and the staff didn't seem to care to get me to buy anything. So I left before I really fell asleep.

I walked from the Eiffel Tower and took the metro at the Musee D'Orsay station. Getting off at the St Michel-Notre Dame station and had a Croque Madame,  which is just a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg. It was huge but I got to sit at a cafe and just chill. I had been eyeing Le Lutèce since I walk pass it every time I have to go to the metro. Finally got to sit down in it.

After I ate, I decided that I would go find a salons and get my hair cut. After all, I had seen several as I wandered around previously, but like all things. You see them when you don't want them, then when you want them, you can't find it!

I walked around die a solid hour, taking the odd turns into the smaller streets because if they are in the main streets, they would be expensive. When I finally found one, I just walked in, literally almost crawling because I was so overheated by my walking and horribly dehydrated.

So I didn't ask how much, I just said "cut". But no one spoke English! The owner was sweet, he said "You are in France." He said it warmly, and when I used google translate to tell them just how I wanted my hair cut, he read it and said "Bravo!"

I don't go to salons in Chicago, because when I have, I'm made to feel that I don't belong. I'm very nonchalant about my appearance, as long as my clothes are clean, what else matters? But there is a definite "mean girls" vibe at some salons, so I don't go.

But over 6,000 miles away, in a country who's language I don't speak, in a city with a reputation for arrogance, I was warmly greeted and treated like a princess! I have never enjoyed a shampoo so much!

I walked out feeling light and carefree, my hair wasn't that long, but it felt like a weight was taken from me.

It was my last full day in Paris so I was little bit down. Before I came, I had predicted that I might have a hard time leaving Spain, it's by the Mediterranean, it's hot, and my ancestors came from there. But as easier as it was for me to speak the language, I like Barcelona but Madrid left a bad taste.

But I had heard the reputation of Parisiens to be arrogant and unkind to foreigners especially Americans. But it wasn't as bad as everyone said. Maybe I'm just so dense I don't get it when people are rude to me. But the laundry lady was the only one who was cranky to me. Everyone else who I've talked to have been very nice, friendly and helpful. 

I did not expect it because I just did all the touristy things and Paris is a place best enjoyed with people. The cafes are much more fun with others, the exploring of the different neighborhoods, is best when you have someone to talk to.

Paris is definitely for lovers so I didn't do those things, didn't have the lovely dinners nor did I even see the Moulin Rouge, I really didn't want any to be out by myself after dark.

But a part of me also feels like, it's ok, because I will be back. Paris wasn't sizzling even though it is summer, but it's been beautiful weather, bright blue skies, not a cloud in the sky. I don't have an AC in my apartment but then I sleep with the window open and enjoy the night air. 

I'm glad to have the opportunity to visit Paris in the summer.

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