I am a sucker for an accordion player who plays the traditional French songs. On the metro today. I gave him money. He made me happy.
I walked to the art museum today. Remember? The buses are screwed up again. Bright and sunny again, but chilly. I wore my Chamonix jacket and it was not too much! Where oh where is spring? Or at least, the spring temperatures?
These private art collections are just amazing. I have seen so many recently. Imagine you have enough money just to buy up all these impressionists. And then hang them in your home. And eventually, create a foundation and your own museum so you can lend them to other museums around the world after you die. Thank you to all you wealthy collectors. Paris is special this way. I can’t think of another city where there are so many museums and so many expositions like this. Today I saw Manets and Monets and Renoirs and Van Goghs and Lautrecs and Cezannes that I had never seen before. Even not seen in books. It filled my soul. And there were a few cubist Picassos but I won’t spend any time on them.
By the way, I did cook last night! Chicken with noodles, and asparagus wrapped with bacon, and gouda cheese on top of it all. Tasty, if I do say so myself! And when I get home, I shall try the ham and cheese wrapped in endive that was served to me in the Netherlands. And a friend said they had made pasta with shrimp for dinner – and I actually found myself drooling a bit. What is happening to my relationship with food? Pretty soon you won’t be able to call me a picky eater. Funny how we transform even when we age.
Rudeness. I wanted to expound a bit more about the ‘rude’ French. Most of the time I have a good relationship with the French wait staff. I try to speak French. I know not to rush. I relax at the meal. And I ask their advice re wine or dessert. I can often get them smiling. What I do know is that they are not American. And that American efficiency, the attentiveness, the service with a smile and bring the check soon – ya, it’s not here. And that’s ok. The gal I mentioned in the last blog. She had an attitude. And I think I was more irritated because the other wait staff there know me and are nice and smiling and actually chat with me. She was not. She was dismissive of the tourist. Ha.
The French are more formal. You must start with Bonjour. Even Excusez moi doesn’t cut it. My other French friend said that was rather new. She said she will often start with excusez moi. And if someone does the Bonjour thing on her, she answers right back with – so what, excusez moi is not polite? And basically, what’s wrong with you. No, I shall never say that. I don’t have the accent to get away with that. So I will just keep working on remembering to say Bonjour.
The French say the Parisians are the problem. That the French outside of Paris are nice and friendly. Yes. But I don’t mind the Parisians. Just don’t give me attitude.
The dog cemetery was … a cemetery for animals. Not very big. And for a place that has been there since 1899, I didn’t see all that many graves. I did see many new ones. I think they stopped using it in the 50s and started again maybe 20 years ago. The most common name – Kiki. Yes, there was Rin Tin Tin. Nothing special. And a St Bernard that saved 40 peoples lives, the 41st killed him. Yes. It said that. Hmmm… I don’t know if the saving of the 41 was so difficult and treacherous that he died or that the 41st didn’t like the dog and killed him on purpose. It’s a mystery. But many new headstones. That makes me wonder… do they reuse the space? I know in some of the people cemeteries, you buy the plot for a period of time. And if the family lets it go, well then. The space becomes available. Do they dig you up and toss you into a mass grave? I don’t know. Too morbid to investigate.
There was a lady who was raking and watering. We chatted. And I held up my end of the conversation. I know I know I keep saying this. But it’s always tickles me when I speak French spontaneously. And they understand!
And lastly, my friend with the heart problem texted me after reading about herself in these pages. I was delighted to hear that after several hospital stays, she is now home. Perhaps a long recovery… but that’s still good! Glad you are doing well, my friend.
Now to practice packing. Literally, taking everything and putting it into the two bags to see if it all fits. And if not, what stays… I must do this early enough that I have time to find solutions.