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Sunday, January 01, 2006

"bonne année!" is what they say

The night started in Montmartre.

My brother and I made our way up to the small apartment my parents have rented for two weeks. I was armed with vodka, heels, and fake eyelashes for the occasion.

When we got off at Chateau Rouge, a sketchy metro stop near the apartment, swarms of people were trying to push through the barriers without paying. The funny thing was that the metro was free for New Year's. "C'est gratuit!" One voice shouted at those trying to cheat the system.

I made us all dinner in the small apartment, frying up some meat my dad had bought at a nearby butcher's. "It's lamb," he said, but my dad's still mastering his French, and the butcher had actually sold him pork.

My brother and I started in on the vodka while we watched Amelie. Minutes later we were running down the same stairs Amelie leads a blind man through, and then our metro was flying past Abesses, a stop where she sees her love interest searching for photographs.

All the metro passengers were dressed for the occasion. Older women in fur coats, young woman with tinsel wrapped around their hair, and a group of young girls laughing, all wearing bright red lipstick, one with a long yellow gown, purple tights and platform sandals underneath.

We got off in the Oberkampf area, and as we passed three young woman on the street, I noticed one had an accordian. Minutes later she was playing the main song from Amelie as we headed up the sidewalk. There was magic in the air.

We went to a club called Nouveau Casino, attached to Cafe Charbon, and found there were about two people on the dance floor. We headed to the bar in Cafe Charbon and each ordered a vodka tonic.

While seated in a booth by the bar, the music stopped for an instant, and was replaced with "Dix...neuf...huit...sept...six...cinq...quatre...trois...deux...un...bonne année!"

We were stunned. In one small moment we went from being in 2005 to 2006. We clinked glasses and talked about our wishes for the new year.

When I went up to the bar for another drink, the bar staff was singing happy birthday to one of the workers. He was a dark skinned young man with thin dreadlocks and a charming face. I told him to get me a vodka tonic, and a drink for himself, on me. After we clinked glasses he told me it was also my birthday, and refused to let me pay.

After a few drinks we danced to a couple of bad techno songs on the club's dance floor, with what we both agreed were some of the worst dancers we have ever seen. You couldn't help but feel embarassed for the poor guy in the white sweatshirt, jumping around awkwardly with his fist in the air.

Afterwards we headed back out into the open air and walked for hours. We must have walked half of Paris. We screamed "Bonne Année!" With all the other young drunks while my heels clicked heavily on the sidewalk. We stopped for a Nutella crepe, after I'd spent the last half our talking about how badly I wanted one, and came very close to tasting heaven. We walked through the Marais-the wonderful gay district-where a young Italian man told me I was beautiful, then saw my brother, and announced that he was also beautiful.

Around 3:30 in the morning we were tired, cold and hungry. And like everyone else in Paris, we wanted a taxi. I became fierce and ran ahead of some other couples to grab us one, which sped us home, past the Eiffel tower, and back to my warm apartment.

It was a good start to the year. I was drunk, happy, with someone I love, and in Paris. I have no complaints.


Anonymous Gary Haslem said...

Hey Gilly
Good to see you're having a good time in Paris and that your Dad is trying to buy lamb!!
I hope that 2006 is as eventful as 2005.
By the way can you give me the brand name of the vodka you like as i think this could be a good investment opportunity!!!


1:13 PM  
Blogger tiff said...

hi Gillian, i just discovered your website and really enjoyed reading about your adventures in paris. Here's wishing you a terrific 2006!

11:18 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Thanks Tiff and Gary!

Glad to see you're keeping up with me Gary! And it's got to be Absolute vodka, although I occasionally settle for Smirnoff.

6:39 AM  
Blogger schuey said...

I think youre writting is worth of grey goose. I hope you don't mind if i quoted you, i'm such a sucker for depthful canadian au pairs.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

I've always dreamt of seeing something I said or written thrown between quotation marks, so quote away.

Grey goose is something special, but if I remember correctly it's not completely suitable for an au pair's budget...

7:20 PM  
Blogger schuey said...

tout de suite l'argent... :)

7:18 AM  

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