Je suis Paris


I haven’t been moved by anything worthwhile to write about.  Until yesterday.  It is 4:58 AM and as I write this, I am heartbroken about Parisians and the recent turn of events that has once again reminded us of the fragility and sanctity of life.  It is 4:58 AM and today, I am joining the countless broken hearts who cry and pray for Paris and her people.  Today, I am a Parisian.

I was lucky enough to visit Paris with Pru 7 years ago and I still remember slowly enjoying a buttery, flaky croissant the likes of which I’ve never had before nor since–and watching Pru take pictures along one of the many foot bridges we walked along the Seine during our trip.  I was sitting on a bench with my journal and my croissant, silently wondering  what it would be like to live here one day.

I found an email I wrote to friends in 2008 back when the only social media option was Friendster.  It dawns on me as I write this that FitBit, Facebook and Instagram were not around then.  I was more aware of my surroundings rather than my steps, what I saw and not what I wanted to share and the flavors I tasted, not what filters would look best on Instagram.  This email captures that awareness that sometimes escapes me today in the midst of the world we live in.

Hi Peeps,

We’re on Day 4 in Paris and I have to say that this is the first time I’ve gone on vacation where I haven’t missed home at all.  Sure our hotel room is only slightly bigger than a thimble, but who stays in their hotel room in Paris?  Here are some learnings and observations:
  • The first day we got here, I collapsed–and a nap that I intended to be 2 hours turned into 7.  One of my most favorite things about Paris is how nocturnal the city is—at midnight, locals and jetlagged tourists alike are walking around, eating 3-course meals, and having coffee while they linger over dinner!
  • Two weeks here is minimal, a month is better.  We’re not going to be able to fit everything in the 8 days we’re here, so we’re mixing planning with a good amount of spontaneity.
  • Get lost.  Pru and I have been going off the beaten path for food and drink.  We’ve found really good croque monsieur, fondue made of beer and Roquefort cheese and quite possibly the best crème brulee I’ve ever had (not too sweet, not too runny).  Restaurants away from the main drag are cheaper and perhaps better because it’s more about the food and not so much the people watching.
  • Paris is a city of juxtapositions. Where else can you find a place of worship like Sacre Coeur near a bunch of sex shops and the Musée de l’Art Erotique, all of which are located in Montmartre.  I guess Vegas, but I digress.
  • It’s also no accident that  the best hot chocolate in Paris (Angelina) is located down the street from a cigar shop (A la Civette) that houses an extensive selection of Cubans.
  • It pays to travel with a boyscout who suffers from OCD (read: compulsively prepared).  Pru packed–not one but two–umbrellas.  It’s rained everyday we’ve been here and hailed once.  Pru even managed to pun “Oh hail no”.
  • The French are undeserving of their reputation as being rude to tourists.  I went to the restroom on top of the Eiffel Tower (yes, there is one) and I had TP stuck to the bottom of my shoe.  The restroom attendant politely pointed it out to me right before she scolded me and told me to go throw it away instead of leaving it on the floor waiting to stick to the bottom of the shoe of another hapless tourist.  She said all that in French so I’m not really sure what she meant, but I got the gist.  Seriously though, we’ve encountered nothing but friendly Parisians.
-We ate at a Moroccan restaurant tonight (great couscous!) and seated at the table behind us were two dogs–one wearing a scarf and the other an olive colored hoodie with “Paris” embroidered on it.  Pru mused  “That’s how stupid Taiko must look.”
Tomorrow, we’re off to Giverny and Versailles.  See you guys soon.


Je t’aime, Paris