Thursday, April 4, 2013

Passing it on

Megan loved Paris so much she cried when she left.  I said to Tiana this morning that tomorrow (April 6) is her and my last full day in Paris but that I am ready to come home; she replied that she'd like to stay 2 more months.  It touches my heart to pass on to those I love, the love I have for here.  I think Rollin and James really liked it - but it's hard to say.   I think Eleanor did and I'm sure Trevor had more fun than he planned, despite his injury from horsing around with his "little" brothers.  I think Shannon is enjoying it - but it's hard to tell. Grey is having fun. 

Paris is a treasure but she wants you to experience her in her way, at her speed, with her people. We have done that.  We will be back.  As I have learned French, I have been asked by travellers who see me speaking French or Spanish while being an American an interesting question. The Parisians have not asked me - but I see the puzzlement in their eyes. But the Spaniards and Lithuanians and the Greeks ask: "why are the Americans  They shout and demand and push.". My apology for my countrymen explains a glaring truth: despite the universally consistent facts to the contrary, many (most) Americans approach a trip to Europe as a chance to see people who have not figured out the "right" way to do things. Speak English!  Why aren't you here on time?  Super size it!  Why can't I get ice?  Why does the bread go stale in one day?  I explain that I know the Europeans know how the Americans do "it" and universally reject our approach. They live better, longer, objectively happier, healthier, better educated lives and no matter how obnoxious Americans are over here, they are not going to change.   As I said to one of my American friends who was exceptionally loud: "We are not here for them to notice us. We are here to see them, undisturbed by bellowing."

So this morning I rousted Tiana from slumber at 7:30a and we headed out to the Belleville market. Another joy in Paris to share with my "belle enfant".  Then we had breakfast, packed lunch, and when Shannon and Grey were not yet ready at 10a, we left on the 30 minute trip to the Louvre.

I was exhausted by the Louvre this time. Unlike my previous visit early in this trip, it  was very crowded with pushy, loud Americans on Spring Break, very hot, and the (apparently new) work crew had us going up and down, up and down, up and down stairs looking for a location marked on my map. Room 77 is next to room 5 and there appear to be multiple rooms #5 in each of the 4 huge wings: my lady lost her charm in all the confusion and heat (I regret it only for Tiana's first impression because - apart from the Americans - she is a true delight).  I did get a photo of Tiana in front of a painting of St Longino (500 years old) and the Hammurabi Code (4,000 years old).

We left at 3p just as Shannon and Grey arrived.  We headed up to St Denis so Tiana could see the oldest Gothic cathedral in the world. She missed Notre Dame: the Easter hordes had the lines too long. St. Denis was cold - as expected - and with "only" about a hundred tourists, she was practically empty.  Home at 5p.

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