Day 13– Friday the 13th

If you suffer from triskaidekaphobia, maybe this is not your day as Friday the 13th has come on a Friday again this month (cf. Pogo, for those old enough to remember that trenchant comic strip by the late Walt Kelly, a fellow Pennsylvanian turns out).

Reality intruded briefly into the sabbatical yesterday but “it’s an ill-wind that blows no good” as I got to have a pleasant email exchange with my pal, Pape.

I also figured out how to work Skype and got to “Skype” (another awful word) with my daughter, very cool! (And no cost, to boot.)

Jessica thinks we should do more photos with us in them; hard to do apart from asking the French to take them, thus giving ourselves away as tourists (as if that isn’t obvious already, I guess, just by holding a camera).

I figured that it would take about 10 days for the lingering work that I had to take with me to subside to nothing for the next 3 months (no one is indispensable) but I have a few matters that I am attending to, not enough to be bothersome, but enough so that as of yet I am not detached from our Toronto life. (We also miss our cats, not likely to abate.)

On the other hand, we do wake up in Paris everyday so I am certainly not complaining about anything.

Class today was an experience. I think if I had ever heard myself speak French before, I may not have sallied forth in this language so often and with such cavalier abandon.I could barely stand listening to it. Nor would I have shown myself here that often. It was certainly sobering. I have now vowed, however, to learn enough to speak more quickly and less like an American in Paris. (Cf. never mind…)

I keep appreciating how slowly my brain processes the words I am hearing. They say that if you want to keep Alzheimer’s at bay, learn a new language. I can only say that I may have missed that particular train. Anyway, we are now getting down to a Type-A type routine, at least once Sandy starts class on Mondays. Art on Tuesdays/Thursdays, French on Wednesdays/Fridays. Does this sound like a sabbatical to you?

Gluttons for punishment, we tried another walk today with the same guidebook, this one through the 7th, ending at Place d’Alma, underneath which Princess Diana died. (See photos; they mirror the tour route.) Sandy remarked as we were leaving Les Invalides watching groups of schoolchildren how different their experience from their Canadian counterparts. The latter would be going on an adventure to Centre Island (although they might also take in Fort York, of course).

That same guy was at Au Sauvignon when we stopped by on the way home. He may have been thinking the same thing about us although, maybe not.

On our friend Sarah’s recommendation, we went to more of a restaurant than bistro tonight. In sketchy 9th Arr.,  just underneath the funicular going up to Montmartre, Le Pétrelle was charming and trés agreeable. It’s an odd room, mostly library, with strange objets all over the place. The menu has large looping script and the cusine was good French traditional with some flourish. Mostly Anglos in the place, however, so word must be out. Our server said we shouldn’t mention it to anyone. Looked to us like this may have been an overly enthusiastic admonition.

Oh, and there was an accordionist on the subway platform; Sandy was either going to ask him not to play or I don’t know what, but she can’t abide that particular instrument. I can but only when it’s playing “Under Paris Skies.”

It must be the time of year but we have no difficulty getting into almost anywhere (apart, of course, from Le Comptoir du Relais).

I forgot to take a photo, quite dark anyway, but then tried to take on of Sacré-Coeur which we could see through some buildings on the way back to the Métro.