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Sunday, August 21, 2005

stairways to heaven

Meet Paris, my new personal trainer.

I swear you can’t go anywhere in this city without walking up fifty flights of stairs. There are the stairs going down from the apartment, down to the metro and up to the streets. There are stairs that go up and down the glorious department stores, stairs that go down to the Seine, and stairs that go up to certain streets. Then it’s back down to the metro, and back up to the apartment. I pace myself and take the elevator or escalator when I have to.

My new French family has gone to Tunisia for ten days, and generously left me their spacey apartment. Not only this, but they left me their gourmet cheese platter to finish, lying delicately in the fridge. And although I prefer sleeping in my cozy apartment, I dart back and forth, and eat my meals in their open dining area, filled with natural light and hip modern furniture.

After a day of running around Paris with my to-do list, and dodging French men, I made my way back to their apartment today in the late afternoon. I opened the balcony doors to stare out at the romantic rooftops, with their fairy tale chimneys and elegant top floor windows, and sat down on a long chair. For he first time in my life, I fell asleep sitting down, and awoke about an hour later.

For dinner I feasted on an English muffin smothered in French Bonne Maman jam, along with fruit and plenty of rich French yoghurt. My food tastes are very simply at the moment, and very unlike myself, I find it hard to eat anything too flavorful or complicated. I only hope that my passion for food and cooking will return soon.

Re-energized, I took off to Les Halles, a large open shopping district, filled with young people, bars and cafes. A little unnerved by the numerous groups of eager looking young men and sex shops, I walked quickly and away from their sly comments.

I found an Internet café, not the one I was in search of, but one that had an English keyboard. A young black man spoke to me like I had half a brain and spoke no French, and directed me to the English computers before I barely said a word. I wrote a few emails until the humidity became too much for me, and took off, happy to be back out in the open air.

I stopped for a Perrier, which cost me as much as a meal, at a shocking 6 Euros. But it was just right, perfectly chilled, with a large slice of lemon, and a French waiter who reminded me that not all men in Paris are sleazy or rude.

Afterwards I took back off on the metro, and back to my apartment. I fell asleep to an intriguing black and white film about an angel in Berlin, and when I awoke to a heavy rain and lightning, I ate my breakfast in bed and fell back asleep. It’s now early afternoon, and time to crawl into my tiny shower, made for someone half my size, and get my day started.


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