Rain… Almost too much! After the many years of drought in California, I didn’t think I would ever mind rain. OK. This year Paris has proved me wrong. This spring has been wet. I decided to return to France in April because I though March was dreary here last year. Yes, there were some bright sunny spring days, but most of April and May were dreary and wet. And June too. Yesterday I went out for dinner and arrived sopping wet. It wasn’t just rain – it was a downpour. Tuesday is the first day of Summer – yup. 60% chance of rain. And then we should have two days of sun and 80 degrees and then Friday back to cool and wet. (Photos were taken on my way back home last night after the rain stopped.)
And what is up with Notre Dame? Why is that one light on? Is it a secret meeting? Dan Brown and the DaVinci Code??? Really, I don’t think I have ever seen that level with lights…
At least the waters have receded to pre-flood levels.
Time for a blog of tidbits…
My favorite TV show is La Reine du Shopping. It’s on in the late afternoon. A little bit What Not to Wear and Say Yes to the Dress. 5 women compete for the title La Reine (queen) for the week. They are given a theme – Sexy in Pants…. Or Trendy with a Scarf. 350 Euros. 3 hours. They must find an outfit, shoes, accessories and get their makeup and hair done. You follow them and see what they try on but you don’t know what they bought until they come back to the studio for their runway walk. And they all get to comment on each other – not as catty as you might think. But oh la la some of the choices! Clearly, the fashion gene did not get passed around to all French women. And they are all critiqued by Claudia – a Brazilian fashion model who came to Paris at 17. She’s now in her 50’s I think and is everything tres chic!
And I can understand some of the program. They talk quickly and all come from different places in France so the accents can be tough. But now I know that branche is trendy!
TEDex. Everyone knows TED Talks, I am sure. I had the opportunity to attend a TEDex event here in Paris. The Ex indicates that while licensed by TED, the event is not ORGANIZED by TED. They make the TEDex events show a nice video at the beginning explaining. It’s a clever way to make sure people know that this isn’t a real TED event but enjoy anyway. I went out of curiosity. It was billed as an English only event. Not. Well, one out of 3 spoke in French with PowerPoint in English but he said a lot more than what was on the slides. We split for lunch at the break. Not necessarily bad speakers – not quite a TED speaker standard but that was to be expected. No, it was the disorganization that bothered me. The check-in was convoluted. Everything was late. The emcee was rather a disappointment – especially after the chair of the event introduced him by saying how excited they were to have him back as he was spectacular last year. My organization genes wanted to take charge. So it was better to slip away quietly. Bureaucracy is a French word. Now I understand why it has such a negative connotation.
Travel distances. A Sacramento friend was on a trip to London for 10 days. At the last minute she decided to come over to have dinner and spend the night in Paris. We had a great time (yes and it rained!). All my French friends were so amazed that she came that distance for one night. On Eurostar it’s only 2 hours. As my friend pointed out, we travel to San Francisco for a day trip all the time. Two hours is nothing! Makes you realize the comparative size of our countries.
La Defense. The modern business center across the Seine from Paris. You can’t build skyscrapers in Paris. So they went there. And there you can find Quatre Temps and CNIT. Two large shopping centers. Quite American. I have gone there often but my last trip was as a conqueror. No longer the scout, I can make my way around now! Even can get to the 4th floor movie theatres direct from the Metro without going through the shops. I know how to get to Auchan (the French K-Mart) and Darty and FNAC. And how to find the best deal (start at Auchan).
Conquering these little things makes me feel great. But after a moment or two of enjoying my success, then I wonder well, what now? Yes, it’s different this year from last.
And that leads to a French update. Some days have a theme. Last week Thursday was a pronoun day. Kept getting the order mixed up. Remember, we say, I gave the book to Sally or I gave it to her. Everything after the verb. Here the construction is I to her it gave. Couldn’t get that right for the life of me. And then Friday was verb day. Every time I used a verb it was the wrong tense. Today I stayed in to wash sheets and catch up on things so no French yet. I am meeting friends for dinner and we will see what errors I can make today!