A Quick Blog

Before going off to a fancy high tea with a friend at Le Bristol – one of the classiest hotels in Paris.  Tea for two will be 85 euros.  So I only had a light breakfast and skipped lunch.

An aside re food… the one thing I really enjoy is the quintessential breakfast sandwich.  Egg, bacon, cheese between a muffin, two pieces of bread, or interestingly enough – a croissant.  I have only seen this once here – at a coffee shop – and yes it was more a coffee shop than a café.  In Brest.

It’s a bittersweet time – saying good bye to friends with no absolute return date.  But I suspect there will be more FaceTiming going on when I get back to the US this time.  The French still don’t know how to do a good goodbye.  Just the bises on the cheeks and a bientot.  That means ‘see you soon’ as opposed to au revoir which is more a hard ‘goodbye.’  I am not even suggesting an American hug.  It made them all so uncomfortable last time.  If they come to visit me in the US, then we will have to hug!

I made a postcard for my sister who is in the SNF (and doing very well!) and I wanted to put a photo of the Eiffel Tower on it.  I was amazed at how far I had to go back in my photos on my iPhone to find one.  That’s my go to spot.  It’s on the list for these last days.

Yes.  Last days.  8 wake ups.  Things to do every day – people to see, restaurants to try, museums to catch up with- until next Sunday.  Then the real packing begins and the real cleaning begins.  I hope the vacuum cleaner can suck up those mammoth dust bunnies!

I made a major faux pas at the restaurant yesterday!  Major!  I guess I am anticipating the return too much and the American in me slipped out.  My conversation partner has suddenly become a great source for restaurants – this after we went to the same place many times for its convenience.  We both were tired of it and I suggested he find a place.  Wow.  Great suggestions.  But back to lunch.  We were seated. Looked at the menus.  Ordered.  But kept the wine menu.  So the waiter returns with the bread, the water bottle and then takes the wine menu before he puts down the bread and water.  And suddenly he has trouble managing it all – tries to put the menu in one hand, then can’t get a hold of the bottle, can’t get the bread basket, tried to fold the menu under his arm, that doesn’t work either… so of course, my American helpfulness comes out and I reach for  the menu to hold it while he gets the bread and the water on the table.  Oh my. Non!

Non  Non  Non  Non  Non  Non  Non  Non

And NON.

You should have seen his face.  I think I offended all his sensibilities.  I cringed.  My French friend looked at me as if to say ‘what the hell are you thinking!’  I think I embarrassed him too!

So I mumbled something in the way of an apology and said I was an American.  Didn’t say stupid or uncouth American.  That was already obvious.

I didn’t make it any better at the end of the meal.  I asked for tea.  And for milk for my tea.  And he asked if I wanted it hot or cold.  Did I mention this earlier?  Had the same question at another café.  It’s such a British question.  Hot or cold milk is important.  And the order in which you do this is also a debatable question – does the milk go in the cup before the tea or does the tea go in first.

Like I care?  But I had forgotten that earlier faux pas with milk – and I just looked at him in confusion and said I didn’t care.  Not the right response which I realized at the time.  I think he was used to me at that point –he just said maybe a mixture.

The milk was hot.

My French friend said there was “something” going on between the waiter and me.  I have no clue what that meant.  Clearly, the waiter was about 25 years my junior.  If he meant attraction, my radar wasn’t working.  I do think the poor guy felt sorry for the etiquette-challenged American.  Perhaps I amused him.

Regardless, the meal was delicious.  I had the traditional French onion soup and chuck roast with puree of carrot and parsnips.  I am not a foodie.  But I must say that this year my tastes have changed.  I am appreciating the fine food more and more.  The French have a burger on the menu more than ever – but these burgers are not the greasy spoon of the US.  And even when I took my friends to the Hard Rock Café, I ordered the pulled chicken, not a burger.  And coming home, In N Out burger may not be my first stop.  However, Round Table may be up there on the list – the French pizzas are not the same.  Even though I read that the French eat more pizzas than anyone in the world.  Who knew?

Sorry.  I guess this didn’t turn out to be a quick blog after all…

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