Monday, September 6, 2010

Paris: The Fifth Week

A large cell phone tower situated only
one block from my new home
I was very much nose to the grindstone this week, my friends, though I did manage a few new observations and will filter in a few that got left behind in past posts... those that could maybe could use a mention.

1.  Parisian women exude a certain confidence that I have not seen anywhere else in the world.  It would not be terribly unusual to see a 70 year old woman sans brassiere strut by in the latest fashions, sporting an air that says she owns the sidewalk and possibly much of this part of town.  She might actually be that rich, but I’ve seen this same look in young women as well.

2.  I thought that wearing horizontal stripes was something of Parisian mythology, but I’m finding that it is altogether true.  While they are not the most common fashion choice, you can find someone wearing horizontal stripes nearly anywhere in the city, from the stereotypical blue and white t-shirt to a complete ensemble.  I believe that this pattern is not popular in North America because it tends to make one look, how shall I say, heavier.

3.  It was interesting to discover that there is a bus route that travels directly from my current apartment down the Rue de Rivoli to what will be my new apartment near the Eiffel Tower; Route 69!

4.  I don’t know if I’ll make my home in Paris, but I do know that if I do the home fashions in this city will enable me to make my home look like something from the distant future… a distant future that is fashionably cool.

5.  It’s a rather inexpensive although somewhat complicated trip to get to Versailles on the Metro, where of course you can see the Palace of Versailles.  I had seen the palace previously in pictures and films, but like so many things here, a camera is incapable of doing it justice.  It is massive.  On the train-ride there, I joked about how I might make an offer if it were to come on the market.  Having seen it, however, even my imagination was not grand enough to think of a way that a person might make full use of the place.  If every friend I had were to visit on the exact same day, the palace would still feel quite empty.

The ridiculously ornate hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles

6.  It’s a good idea to have a full length mirror in the foyer of your building or in the hallway of your apartment for vampire checks.  My building is equipped with one.  For those of you not familiar with vampires, they do not cast a reflection in the mirror.  If a vampire happens to follow me in the building, I can identify it from the reflection (or lack thereof) and perform an appropriate vampire safety procedure.

7.  I’m beginning to notice a difference between the people in the different districts as I travel about Paris.  I’ll have more to say about this, but Le Marais (4th) is certainly quieter at night than the neighbouring Bastille (11th) district and a lot louder than the Invalides (7th) district where I will be moving to tomorrow.  It is as though one might choose a district to match one’s character or lifestyle rather than one’s income level.

8.  Through a combination of long Parisian walks and smaller (albeit richer) Parisian food portions, my fat reserves are under siege.  If I can keep it up, I might just be allowed into the men’s clothing stores before the end of next month!

9.  Paris exhibits something that America or Canada may might boast about, but do not altogether possess and that is colour-blind racial harmony.  In a New York café versus a Parisian café, for example, given the same number of black, white, oriental, and middle-eastern people. You would see that I mean immediately. In the New York café, there would be a table full of black people here, and a table full of white people there, and so on. In the Paris café, everyone would appear to be quite randomly distributed to the point where a homogenous table of only one race would be the exception.  It's not easy to believe at first, but it is true.

With princely adoration, your friend,

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