Around Town

So I missed the Tour de France this year. I saw it whiz by my first year as it came into Paris right past my apartment (practically). Last year I was out of town. This year it came up from the south. I decided to stop by Etoile and see if I could see anything but then remembered the whale.

Yup. A whale beached on the quai of the Seine. OK, it was a faux giant size whale making some political point. But it appeared on Friday. I wasn’t sure it would still be there on Sunday but I decided to have a look see. This was after cleaning my house in the morning. When, for no apparent reason – because I wasn’t stretching or lifting or even twisting and turning, my back got tied up in knots. I figured a walk might be good.

So down to Notre Dame to the Rive Gauche (left bank) to search for the whale. Nope. It was gone. I did see a lot of tourists but really, for a Sunday in July, there weren’t a lot. We’ll see if the tourists return in August. I will have two visiting me, so I am doing my part for the French economy.

Back to the no whale. At that point I decided to check out Etoile – I might be able to make it before the last lap is finished. But only if I got there quickly which ruled out the metro. And my back told me in no uncertain terms that it would be very happy with a car ride. Uber. My go to. Did you know Uber works a bit on a demand pricing basis? So the trip that usually would cost me 11 euros was showing up as 28 on the Tour de France Sunday.

I told my back to suck it up and we walked and metro-d home. Too late for the Tour. Maybe next year. If I am stupid enough to be in Paris in the summer. Although, it was a splendid relatively cool and showery day. No complaints on that end.

Sunday has a treat for me. At noon the Sacramento Bee Sunday edition goes live on line and I can print out the crossword puzzle. It’s not a piece of cake, but far easier than the NY Times. I can usually get it done in less than 2 hours, often one hour. And that’s fine for me. So this Sunday one clue was: using something together. OK. I immediately thought: Partager!

Then I looked at the spaces… seven letters starting with an S. OK. How about using the English definition of Partager – Sharing.

That was definitely weird – to see English and think of a French word. But I guess I am doing that more often. Tonight my friend noted that the server and I spoke to each other in both French and English – and not one or the other – we started a sentence with one language and finished it with the other.

I was in a depressed state about my French this week. You will tell me that I go in cycles of feeling competent and incompetent. Yes, that’s true. But still. Sometimes I just feel like I can’t pronounce anything! I want to give up. But two of my harshest critics of my conversation exchange friends were extremely supportive. One who is a retired teacher actually reminded me of all the different stages and my language milestones. Shrug. I guess I am doing ok.

Last week I visited Chateau Monte-Cristo, the home of Alexander Dumas. I haven’t read any of his work but from all the movies, I feel quite familiar with him. He wrote serials a bit like Dickens. His chateau was of his own design, he even built a small chateau that faces it across the hillside for his writing office. An office on the first floor and maybe a room or two above it. So playful. With many of the names of his books or characters carved into the walls. I heard he ended up living there only two years. Something to do with massive debt perhaps. He was a character! It’s not easy to get to – RER to St Germaine en Laye and then bus and then walk. But the day wasn’t too hot and it was peaceful there. Glad that a friend posted photos on FB and that prompted me to go.

Today I went to the partner of my French but trained in Texas chiropractor because she is not working until Friday and I will be gone then. I may switch to him. My left hip bothered me several times these past three years. It doesn’t seem to respond to much treatment. Then it suddenly disappears and I am pain free. Today this guy did his magic and hip seems to be fine and it must have rearranged the twisted back at the same time. Relatively pain free. Nice.

Did you know that Google Maps lets you “save” and star locations? I just discovered that feature. So I spent the afternoon starring things all over France that I have visited. I have been saving the restaurants in Paris which really helps because it’s easy to forget where you ate what. Well, I guess Google doesn’t tell me what I ate, but knowing the location of the restaurant helps me remember the place and the food. Better than when I mused… oh what was the name of the restaurant that had red checked tablecloths?

My friend was a Sherpa for me. I ordered several things on Amazon and had them delivered to her house. She packed them and I picked them up today. The most valuable is a battery operated hand fan. The kind they give you at conferences. Well, this one turned out to be a bit bigger, but it still fits in the bag. When the heat returns (and it will!), I am ready! Everyone on the metro will be jealous of me. Or they will be mocking the stupid American… I don’t care which.

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