Sunday, April 12, 2009

easter, paris and musings by k

it's easter sunday. a mellow day in spain. a changing of the visitor guard. david and rosa (our neighbors from san francisco...david is arel's friend) left our place at 7:30 a.m. and sven and his friend sarah arrived here at 1:00 p.m. it has been a long stretch of visitors...great to see everyone, but it will also be good to return to some semblance of routine later this week.

arel and i went to paris a little over a week ago to meet up with lydia and her daughter mimi...good friends. arel, david, rosa and i spent part of the day together on the saturday we left, walking around the center of barcelona, having lunch outside, and then heading to the airport bus. david was still plagued by jetlag so he almost passed out at lunch, and according to rosa spent the rest of the afternoon asleep on a tour bus...jetlag is brutal!

we caught a 5:00 pm flight to paris and were at the apartment lydia had rented in the marais by about 8:00 pm. it was such a treat for arel to see two of his best friends in such a short time. it was as if no time had passed, except that both mimi and david grew a lot in the past 8 months.

sunday morning we were awakened by lydia coming back from the bakery with fresh pastries. the kids had hot chocolate, the adults cafe au lait, and we gorged on croissants, pain au chocolat, an apple pastry whose name i can't remember and one other thing, i think. it was all delicious, but i ate too much! at the same time, the paris marathon was going on right under our window. we stuffed our faces while thousands and thousands of people ran by. we saw the small group of mostly african (sorry, julian, if you're reading this!) runners in the front of the pack pretty much sprinting by. it was so amazing. i couldn't even run a quarter of a mile at that pace, much less a whole marathon! arel and mimi shouted encouragement at the masses...allez, bravo!, and waved to neighbors watching from across the street.

we finally hauled our butts out of the house around 11 and headed to a nearby market...again i don't know the name (bad bad bad). so beautiful. scrumptious looking food everywhere, so beatifully displayed. but i was still stuffed! after that we walked by notre dame (one name i know!) and hung out in a park there for a while. we thought about going in, but it was palm sunday and the lines were long. so we wandered along the river for a while, then into some left bank neighborhoods, until we stopped to rest a while in the tuillieres gardens...we were all pooped, but arel and mimi still played a little soccer with a plastic bottle.

from there it was off to the eiffel tower...a must-see for mimi and arel. as we stood under the tower, arel had some doubts about whether he wanted to go up. but go up we did. first in one elevator like thing, to the first level. then another half hour line and then up to the top. way up there you could feel the slight swaying of the tower, which is a little freaky. we all peed in the bathroom at the top, and lydia and i both independently pondered what it would be like to be the bathroom attendant up there! what a strange place to work day in and day out. we took the elevator back down to the first level and then walked the rest of the way. at this point, we were all feeling the effects of nearly seven hours of walking, and lydia, who had woken up at 4:00 am (thanks, jetlag) was nearly delirious.

so we took the metro back to our apartment...i left the group to pick up falafels nearby (the best in the world!). when i saw the line at the falafel place, i nearly fainted, but i knew i had to bring food back, so i dug deep and powered on. a little flirtation with the falafel maker woke me back up and i came home falafels, two oranginas and a bottle of wine in hand. we ate, showered, played a rousing game of bullshit and all passed out.

monday we were meant to be on a canal tour by 9:45 am, but that didn't happen. arel and i woke up first at about 8:30. we headed out to buy more pastries, and we all overate again, but not quite as much. we decided to do an afternoon canal tour instead, and so went to the much heralded (by lydia and mimi) monoprix across the street. lydia likened it to target...i'd say maybe a notch up, but we had a grand time looking at things and also making a few purchases.

i always find it so fun to compare and contrast stores and styles in different countries. and as much as it annoys me when francophiles endlessly praise french style, i have to say, the french do have style. even in monoprix, there was style. simple and elegant. in the clothes, in the stationary section, in the grocery store downstairs. arel got a cotton eurosweater...he looks very handsome in it. i got two bathing suits for myself...i was in desperate need, and a little striped euro bathing suit for dorian. he put it on yesterday to go to the olympic swimming pools here with barak, arel and david, and pranced proudly around, shaking his booty and singing "i'm so sexy" and doing his dorian hand thing that he does.

i also bought toothbrushes, toothpaste and face cream, which all cost about half as much as in barcelona. i'm so curious about that. in germany normal things like that all seemed cheaper too. why???? inquiring minds want to know!

at that point, arel and mimi went back to the apartment and lydia and i went to the grocery store. i was all "oohs" and "aahhs." there was so much i would have loved to buy, so much more inspiring than when i go to a grocery store here. why is that? and again, food was cheaper...the bread, the cheese, the mustard, the chocolate. if i could have, i would have lugged big bags of groceries back!

to be continued... (sven and sarah will hang with dorian and arel. barak and i will take a walk and go to a movie...we've had no time alone for a long time.)