A preface to this blog. Yes it has been a long time. One of my dear readers emailed me last night to check up on me. How sweet. Love you! (Oh dear – we Americans use that too much I have been told – j’aime bien, monsieur Reader.) I came down with an awful cold that finally turned into a sinus infection – this will be covered later in this blog. So please bear with this edition that will appear to be written in fits and starts. And it was… Truth in advertising…
June 6 -Garage Sale – French style
A very nice and cool stay at Hotel Movenpick in Neuilly. It’s a Swiss hotel chain. And I would recommend them. Nice business style hotel. They had several Globus Tours staying there. Got on the elevator with a couple- clearly American. I asked them if it was hot enough… Oh my! They said they had packed for cooler weather and were clearly surprised and hot! I reassured them that the next day would be back in the 70s. As they left me on the elevator, I was appreciating the fact that I do have some cooler clothes in my wardrobe. To think I was wearing my heavy wool coat last month! But I skipped over my Uber experience. Very pleasant. It was more expensive than I expected originally. Should have been closer to 5 euros. It was 11. But I fell into “surge” pricing. That’s when there is high demand and low supply. So Uber says you pay more so we can entice more Uber cars out on the road. It was fine. It was hot. I didn’t want to hassle the bus. The car was spotless. The driver well dressed and polite. And I was given a bottle of water. Nice all around.
The hotel itself was not in an air conditioning mode. The public areas were hot. So I settled in my room to nap and read. And that’s all I did except for a meal break for room service. I had no desire to go sit in the warm restaurant. I know I am sick when I go to bed at nine. I wish I would get well. It is getting better, however.
Today I woke up somewhat better. And decided to take the bus home. Good old 82 was two blocks away and stopped a block from home. Except. Not to day.
Today was GARAGE SALE DAY in Neuilly. And the streets near me were all closed off so the bus just went on to the next stop. Uber was looking better at that point but Uber wasn’t worth two extra blocks. I slung the bag into backpack mode and got home not too sweaty.
Of course, I had to go explore. It was not a garage sale so to speak. The French term was Grenier Vendu – Attic Sale. And it was totally bizarre. About 7 blocks were closed off. And the marche space was also full. The shops – which are high end shops – had tables out front with their merchandise on sale like a side walk sale in the US. And then between and everywhere else were tables like you would see at a normal garage sale. Wonder how long people saved up stuff for this event. Clearly some were second hand stores or antique dealers. And some were associations – a parent association for a catholic school. My only purchase was a tradition from the bakery. Then home to study some French.
Oh. Did I say study? I guess I will have to go do that!
There endeth the last blog notes. That was June 6 and now it is June 16. Lots of that time in between was spent sleeping and feeling rotten. Trying to get the strength to do something and getting knocked back on my butt a day later. It was… it is… a simple cold. Just tough! Lots of coughing. The French cough syrup and nasal sprays are not effective. So strange about the pharmacy. The cough syrup is behind the counter. He opened the box to show my the cup for measuring. Yes, sure. He points at a place – fill it this much. Yes, sure. Really, I have been taking Robitussin or Nyquil for years. I can read. Then I got home and read. So the dose is 7.5 ml. And the cup that comes with the syrup has lines for 5 ml and 10 ml. No wonder he was pointing. But really? wouldn’t you make a cup with the right dosage?
Thank god there was a delivery from the US that I picked up on Saturday. Flonase is now over the counter US and in two days I feel much better. I am going to revise my list of meds to bring over. Flonase. Zicam. And probably Robitussin.
During this time, I postponed some jaunts. But I did go on the Art Nouveau walk with Edith – saw some wonderful Hector Guimard buildings. And I made it to the Wallace and Grommit expo. I love the Claymation. But clearly this is not a medium for me. The precision. The detail. The time. Painstaking work. Fabulous animation.
Will try for a couple museums in the next week. My friend from the Netherlands arrived last Thursday. She is twenty years younger than me. Frankly, I never noticed a difference – but there is when you are twenty years older, sick, and she wants to do things. And frankly, I want to do things too. She was understanding and I was stretching. We did do and see things, ate delicious meals, and sat in the sun.
One discovery was the Butte Chaumont. It’s a park in the 19th arrondisement- so pretty much all the way across Paris from me. But well worth it. The site has a shady history – where people were hanged, bodies tossed, minerals quarried. But in the 1800s they cleaned it up and sculpted the grounds. I had this great idea to ride our bikes there. I mean, riding bikes in Bois de Boulogne is fab – why not another park. It turned out to be a Comedy of Errors day. First the velib’ – we couldn’t find any stations close by with more than one bike. So we went to the first. Fortunately, while we fiddled with the computer to rent one, another one mysteriously appeared. But then -to find out I couldn’t use my Navigo card to get a bike. Had a conversation and found out that I owed them 7 euros for the last bike. Huh? I bought a year pass?!? Turns out that the year pass is for the first 30 minutes. A Frenchman explained it to me later – the point is not to rent a bike for a day (ok?) but to keep the bikes moving. So ride for free for 30 minutes. Take a break. Do your errands. Take another bike. So the navigo pass makes it faster to rent a bike – just put the pass on the reader and the bike unlocks. Hmph.
Anyway, we got the bikes. She is, from the Netherlands, of course, used to riding in the busy streets. I now can say I rode a bike in Amsterdam and in Paris. On the street. So we get to the park. Looks gorgeous. And there is a sign that says – walk your bike. Hmph. We found a place to leave the bikes and proceeded on foot. I can understand why no bikes – it is a very hilly park. They sculpted well. It’s great to sit on the grass and lie back on the hill to relax. I shall be back here.
From there we stopped at the Pere Lachaise cemetery. I have been here several times. I am including photos of two famous spots – Jim Morrison’s grave. And that of Abelard and Heloise. My middle age history shows itself with the latter.
After I had several bus moments – waited for bus 69 for 15 minutes until I gave up and took the metro. Then waited for bus 24 for 10 minutes until a kind gentleman pointed out an electronic sign that said Pas de Service. Ya, No Service. There were two other people already waiting when I joined the line so I didn’t feel completely stupid.
While my friend was here, we also went back to the Tresors stone/mineral exhibit. Still marvelous and she loved it.
Edith had a crime walk that evening – just around Ile de la Cite and details about police. Always interesting. After we all went for a drink. All 16 of us from many places. Interesting people. I may have another conversation exchange partner from it – an IT guy.
After my friend left, I returned to the Tuileries for a late lunch and to study French. Camille, one of the CE people, we were supposed to meet at 5. But she didn’t show up. I think my email didn’t get to her before she left the office last Friday. I like her – but she does not have a cell phone. Not even an old unsmart phone. Nothing mobile. So if I am late, I can’t tell her. If she wants to change, she can’t tell me. Only email at work! Not even at home. I didn’t think people like that existed anymore.
This morning June 15, I am feeling much better. I am hesitant to declare myself well. But I slept over 8 hours and lounged in bed for a decadent period of time.
It’s a hard day ahead… I have to meet my Oakland friend (who brought my stuff over) for a meander through Paris and a meal at the soufflé restaurant. Yup. Twice in a week. Hard life here in Paris.
There endth the second entry. Today it is June 20. After declaring myself almost well, I had a decline. On Thursday I went to the doctor, official sinus infection diagnosis. Antibiotics, steroids, and cough syrup. He was 90 euros, the medicine $15. Once again they gave me boxes of prepackaged pills… so a bit more than prescribed. Healing should be underway.
I have a new conversation exchange. Two! One is the gal I met at the Georges V hotel. Very interesting – in her 40s. Director of housekeeping at a nice upscale hotel but going to take a new job at a staffing agency. Sharp. She lives near Versailles – a 45 minute commute. Because she likes trees. And then there is the director of a section of the Ministry of Finances – retired. Worked in the tax division.
My friend Laurel has returned from the Bay area and is back to looking for an apartment to purchase. The romance in the states did not work out. So she is back and happy. I am hoping she will let me tag alone.
Friday I joined two other friends on a tour of the Republican garde cavalry division. Amazing.