Apparently I forgot I had a blog. Well. I didn’t. I can’t even claim to be busy. I’ve been hitting ‘refresh’ on Craigslist jobs. Now that I’ve had fun in Paris, I’m going to have to pay for it. You know how they say you should take half the stuff and twice the money when you travel? It’s true. It’s just the job that was paying for the second half of the money pooped out.
Incidentally, I saw a posting on one of the job boards for the job Tech Boss created for his very own flunky. So, the guy who took a bunch of my work in Tech Boss’s restructure either got let go or left voluntarily. If the latter, how long can the director ignore that Tech Boss can’t manage people?
But. BUT. It’s 9:45 AM April 9th and I’ve just sat down in the hotel lobby. My face is still puffy. A willowy blonde approaches me. “Liz? I thought it was you. I thought I recognized your hair.” It’s Carey, and she leads me through to a lounge where I chat with her and her adorable parents. Her mother is a retired schoolteacher who takes an immediate shine to me. I feel like a fraud, somehow, and protective. Carey’s parents seem so sheltered and I determine to be as British as possible for their comfort. On the computer by the wall, Nathan, Carey’s sister’s adopted son from (I think) Thailand is making detailed notes on their family tree, on one of those family networking websites. “Y’aright, Gran?” he asks in a broad NotLondon accent (North or West Midlands, I think) and my day gets a little more surreal. It is still before 10AM.
Then the elevator door opens and it’s like being fifteen again and at church camp and all of a sudden my friends are there! My friend Jane and her husband and son are right there in Paris with me! I hug Jane, and shake the hands of her reserved menfolk. Her teenage son, Andrew, is bemused about my complimenting his Yorkshire puddings. Of course, Jane has photographed them, so I know that his Yorkies make mine look like Amateur Hour.
We assemble, those of us that are there, as most are coming in on trains and planes throughout the day. I sling my bag into Rhian and Rebecca’s room, and we all head out. Carey’s mom catches me counting heads and clucks, “I do that, too. Years of teaching, and I can’t stop it now.” I vow to count hers first. She is, in some ways, on an even grander adventure than I am, and I want to keep her safe.
We head to the Batobus in the 25 degree heat. Paris in Springtime? Hell, this feels like July! Normally, the Batobus is the kind of tourist-moving scow that I would eschew with all haste, but it’s a cheap and easy way to get to places we want to go, as it docks near many of the places we want to go. Plus, we get to sit down while we travel, in the sun, randomly taking pictures.
Jane’s family and Carey’s family wander off to do their own things. With everybody else having iPhones (and some worried because I didn’t have anyone’s number), Rebecca and Rhian and I meet up with Natalie, Marie, and Clare at the quay by the Louvre.
At some point, Nicky and Emma meet us. Emma is a photo-a-dayer and her fantastic sister Nicky lives in Paris, and has agreed to be our guide. We wander the Champs-Elysees for a while, and almost die in traffic several times trying to get really good shots of the Arc de Triomphe.
We’re hungry and tired, so find one of those sidewalk cafes for lunch and drink rose wine. It’s food from Alsace, which amuses me. It just seems weird for a sidewalk cafe, that Parisian cliche, to serve provincial food. Then again, the goat’s cheese in phyllo is amazing, and I am restored.
Because Rebecca is the texting queen, she knows that Louise and Claire are eating pizza about five hundred feet down the street, so we go and collect them. Again, technology astonishes me.
We go to a macaron store that is, apparently, famous. The little green bags are iconic, and the lineup is a mile long. It’s hot and too full inside the store, so Clare and I go outside to wait for the rest, who are in a lineup for these little sweets. They look like little jewels, and the teahouse in the same store is beautiful and airy, but I want to be outside.
Zoe and Stephanie catch up with us at the macaron shop and we head out for further adventures.