The trip to Paris was smooth and uneventful.
True my first flight was over an hour late leaving, and I did get to know my seat mate better than I planned (for a 5' 3" man, he sprawled amazingly, and at one point I awoke to his hand on my thigh (he was asleep, and those seats are narrow...)), but the connection in Minneapolis was smooth and effortless and I had a good traveling buddy. (No, not the sprawler... Jennifer, a soon to be roommate from my step-father's office). Once in the Charles De Gaulle airport with my passport stamped, I collected my luggage and hailed a cab with Jennifer.
Driving in Paris is a lot like Cirque du Sole. You are fairly confident that no one is going to die, but you marvel at the impossibilities before you. I kept thinking, "I didn't know someone could do that!" and there was a mysterious grace and one mindedness with the other performers/drivers. Everyone moved to the same foreign melody. I marveled at how fast and close the other vehicles were to us. And there was a moment, as we plunged at full speed into the rotary near the Arc de Triomphe, at a right angle to the circling traffic, that I think the rules of physics were disregarded completely.
And then, there we were, outside of our apartment building. My mom preceded our arrival by a couple of days, and had briefed me with the secrets of how to enter our building (there were codes, code names, secret knocks, and a magic box. All quite hush, hush you know.). Everything worked as described, and once past the vestibule, I stood before what was supposed to be the elevator... except I'd never seen an elevator that was only 20 inches deep and 3 1/2 feet long.
(Note: If I weren't standing at an angle, my shoulders would almost brush the sides of the box, and the mirror makes the space look deeper than it was.)
We had to take turns going up, because only one person and their luggage would go up at a time. It was a magic box indeed!
This was the view from our dining/livingroom/kitchen window.
Pitter-pat went my heart.
Paris. I was there.
(View down our street)
I love these five story buildings. I love their asymmetry and how they have been personalized through time. So many details, so much personality, and so much beauty.
(View from bedroom window.)
There were six of us staying in the two bedroom flat. There was Papa D, Grand M (my mom), Nita and her husband Chris, Jennifer, and myself. Papa and Nita were in Paris on business, and the rest of us were, um, crashing in their flat to keep them company... after all, we wouldn't have wanted them to feel lonely, right?
After setting down our bags, and dusting ourselves off, we were off to the Eiffel Tower.