Le Premier Mai

Friday was the famous le premier mai when everything is supposed to be closed.  Yes – sort of like Labor day.  My sister reminds me that May Day is a union event.  Funny, with my HR background, I guess I ignored that and just remembered May Day as the day you make little baskets for your loved ones…

And we were moving slowly.  But talking fast!  Between the two of us, we could each hardly get a word in edgewise.  Great fun.  I shall sort up the noise of the conversations to play back when I am back to being alone.

It  was a drizzly day, good to spend bus riding to see Paris. 2015-05-01 13.27.42I found a route that took us to Montmartre, then Gare de Lyon and then on the left bank to the Eiffel and then home.

When we got off the bus in Montmartre, we talked up a long hill – the photo to the right is of a man rolling his suitcase down the hill – and I don’t know if you can see it, but he has his 4 yr old riding on top of the case.

And the picture below is of the oldest vineyard in Paris.  I hear the wine isn’t that good but what the heck!  It’s the thought that counts.

2015-05-01 13.31.54

A delightful lunch of crepes up near Sacre Coeur (That’s Shivaun watching as the man lights the liqueur on her flambé crepe!) 2015-05-01 14.53.42and a quick dinner. No. That’s not true. No meal in France is quick. Meals here take time. It was a relaxing dinner at a local café so we didn’t have to walk far in the rain.

And when we came home, I decided to check the mail box. I don’t really expect mail but I am a “friend” of both The Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay and they do send me information. I stare and stare at those envelopes, enjoying the sight of my name with a French address! But this time there was a strange official notice. I had a package!!! It would be available at the Post Office on Saturday. No hint where it was from. Anticipation!

Yes, I did sleep – in spite of the package waiting for me. We collected it first thing on Saturday and Shivaun bought post card stamps. Luckily, I asked her to get about 10 more so I would have some for the occasional post card. She ended up having missed counted her needs and used all but 2 of the extra stamps.

But back to the package. I brought my passport to prove my identity. Did I tell you earlier? They consider a driver’s license to be just that – a license to drive but not an identification card. With assurance that I was the person on the package, they handed it over. It turned out to be a thank you gift of a beautiful notebook from my friend Laura who returned to SF last month. How so very sweet! AND now I know that I can get packages!

Activities with Shivaun

The first official activity – riding the bus isn’t really official – was one of Edith’s Meetups. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in St Germaine de Pres. Shivaun too loves Edith!

2015-05-02 14.46.13Edith was dressed tres Parisian. Her lectures are occasionally scattered but always fun and with good information and suggestions for further reading. And sometimes there is internal drama. 2015-05-02 15.12.51This time Mark came along and we got to watch a tiny battle for leadership. Mark is an American in Paris. Probably late 60’s or early 70’s (I hope he is younger, LOL so he would be offended by my estimate. Shame on me!). Mark knows a great deal about Paris, philosophy and this district. He enjoyed pointing out where his parents had taken him to   this or that café or restaurant and Oh My, what’s changed – another restaurant or shop replaced by something modern. Initially, I found his comments interesting. While he did speak French, clearly he had an American accent and his English was impeccable. When I asked him in passing where he was from, he said, Paris. When I said, yes but in the states? He said, I am French. Nah. Not really.  Nice try, Mark. Maybe you have two passports Mark, but you are not French. At that point, he clearly failed my “interesting to know” test for strangers. And then he proceeded to focus his attention on the twenty-something’s in the group. Yes, the female twentysomethings. Just shook my head.

2015-05-02 16.18.53Edith wasn’t too impressed with Jean-Paul Sartre. She suggested a biography written by an Australian woman. Sure, in my spare time. Simone was more interesting although everyone said the English translation of the Second Sex is not good at all. There is apparently a more recent and better translation.  It goes on the list –  that book list is getting longer and longer…

After the walk we stopped in a café for a drink and I saw this poster.  For my siblings Kate and Mike – I think we had that same poster – or book – or something.  I know “Les Freres Jacques!”


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