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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A reunion with friends, a last walk around town, a last night gazing at the tower

It's my last night in Paris and in France. I leave tomorrow morning. I am half packed, have had some of the last of my wine, and should probably finish packing before I write too much of this or drink too much more wine.

Laurent and Lucille both came over for lunch today. It was wonderful that we were all able to pull it off.We spent a couple of hours just hanging out on my little patio here and talking. We had considered trying to do something together; but Laurent had to catch an afternoon train back to Amiens. Lucille invited me to join her and her mother at a museum later in the afternoon, but in the end I decided to just stay here when they left, and took a nap before going out for one last walk and metro cruise around town before coming back here to pack, finish my book, finish up this account, about an hour ago; about 10pm.

Ok, I am going to stop now, temporarily, finish packing and perhaps the wine, before what will probably be the last chapter of the saga of this sojourn.

I'm back: just threw most everything in my two suitcases and hope I can zip them closed in the morning. I must say that my new method of taking two smaller suitcase this year, rather than one bigger one, has worked out well; I was able to carry them both up and down staircases at train stations, etc. Tomorrow morning I am taking the Roissy Bus to the airport, which I haven't done before: In the past, I have taken the RER, in general the easiest way. But because the Roissy departure point is walking distance from here, I won't have to take the metro first. It's about a 15 minute walk; but I don't expect it will be difficult, no staircases to deal with.

Back to Laurent and Lucille, my two French friends - they were the co-leaders of my mosaic project last summer here in Paris.They are both such great people, and it of course made me feel much better about my experience this year to be back with both of them. It will be fun to post the pictures we took today, all of us eating lunch on the roof, with, of course; the Eiffel Tower in the background, and have the folks from our group last year see them. While we were trying to coordinate, on Facebook, Silja, from Finland, made the comment that it sounded like the plans were getting complicated, So I facetiously invited her to come join us for lunch.

L and L were very good to help me finish off most of what was left of my week's groceries. I'd bought two kinds of soup, in the kind of cqrtons milk comes in, not realizing how much was in each one. They were very good for packaged soups, and I'd eaten them both hot and cold on previous nights. One was pumkin-carrot-orange-curry, the other was spinach artichoke: We each had a bowl of the pumkin-carrot, then Laurent had a bowl; or was it two, of the other, as well: There were also the last of two kinds of cheese, and some beets, tomato, and green beans. And Iùd cooked up the rest of the pasta with some butter and cheese; All in all, quite a nice spread, I thought. I've still got some biscuits and butter and marmelade left for the morning.

I have not had a single meal in a restaurant or cafe this time, haven't felt the need to. There was that one shrimp sandwich at the take out place on that small plaza. And my tuna sandwich on the beanbqg chair at Paris Plages. But those were both take out places without any table service. And strangely, I have had only one pastry on this whole trip, at another take out place with tables outside. That was wonderful, and different from anything I had ever had: It was a pear-pistachio tart with chocolate chips. That is one of my few regrets about this trip, I didn't eat enough pastries!! Made up for it, though, with crepes and ice cream and granitas!

Today, I didn't, in the end, do anything particularly touristy, and that was fine. After my guests left, I took that nap I previously mentioned, which I guess seems like an odd thing to do on one's last day in Paris. But I tmust say I am enjoying everything about my little abode here, including sleeping! And then, at about 5pm, which seems to be about midday by Parisian standards, I just went out walking, with no particular destination in mind. I was down to my last 4 euros, and my last three metro tickets, (of which I always try to save one, for the next visit, it's a personal superstition, I think it helps me to return). I walked to the Roissy bus stop, to make sure I knew where it was, and how often the busses leave. Then I kept walking until I was tired, hopped on the metro, chose a station at ranlom to get off at, and walked again! Most stores were closed, but Samaritaine, one of the famous dept stores, was open. I walked around their design dept, looking for a good souvenir: I had the idea of a pepper mill; which we need, but couldnt find one that I liked and that wasn't ridiculouly expensive: The Peugeot ones were nice but in the 75 dollar range. I got in my mind that one in the shape of the Eiffel Tower zould be perfect; but I don't think it exists. Why not? There's an Eiffel Tower everything else. I think I'm on to something.

In another store; I saw the same large beanbags I'd sat in at the Plages yesterday, in a variety of colors. The store also had pillows with pictures of New York:I took out my camera and took a picture of the beanbag chairs and new york pillows together. The store guard saw me and started chuckling; I told him I thought it was amusing to see New York pillows in Paris. The chairs were called " Fatboy."

I spent the first two of my last 4 euros on some apricots at a fruit stand; Then, at the Asian take out place right next door to my building, I spent the last two on a spring roll, lettuce and shrimp in a soft casing, and a pork roll; like an egg roll but with just meat, no veggies. Now I just have a few small coins, and one metro ticket, left.

Well, it's 1130 and I am quite determined to finish "Murder on the Eiffel Tower" before I go to bed tonite, and before the lights on the Tower go out at 1am. Just 1 1/2 hours, and two dazzling five minute shows to go, before it's over.

A la prochain!

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