Le condamné a mort, Barcarolles sans Bateau, and Further Adventures in Paris

Self did it!  She did it!  She found the Louvre!  Which, as dear blog readers know, is a very humongous building, and hard to mis-place.  But self experiences major —  and she does mean maaaaajor — brain lock when people start speaking French to her, very very fast.  One simply cannot imagine how hard self must work to look confident as she nods and walks away, trying her best to look as if she’s understood every single word of what was just said.  God only knows how she’s managed to survive this far, what with all the strange places she’s been ending up in, lately.

Today, she asked a young couple at a bus stop on Boulevard de Rochechouart, near Pigalle, if they knew which bus to take to get to the Louvre.  (Somehow, the Louvre has assumed gigantic importance in self’s mind.  Like, self, if you leave Paris without seeing the Louvre, you are a total basket case!).  The woman said, You have to cross the street, the bus needs to go in the opposite direction.

So self crossed the street,  just in the nick of time, for a bus was just pulling up.  She boarded, stuck out her money, then said, “Louvre?”

And the driver said “No, you have to take the #67 — there it is!  Run, Madame, run!”

“Where?” quoth self.

“Across the street!  Hurry!  Across the street!”

Self ran!  Trying her best to look dignified, as she was toting a number of poetry books (in French) that she thought son might appreciate, as he did take four years of high school French.  She had a Rimbaud, a Jean Genet (Le condamné a mort), and a Pierre Louki (Barcarolles sans Bateau).

Oh my goodness!  Don’t leave me, don’t leave me, Bus # 67!  Because self can never survive the shame of having been to Paris and not having seen the Louvre! 

Self made it!  She actually got on Bus # 67!  And after impetuously flinging herself and her books into a seat, she ended up waiting while the bus driver hummed and looked around, and chewed on something —  for the next 15 minutes!

But, self, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth!  For when she got off at Palais Royale (at least, that’s where she thinks she disembarked), she only took a couple of steps before she saw —

THE MOST AMAZING SIGHT:  THE FRONT ENTRANCE TO THE MONUMENTAL, GIGANTIC BUILDING THAT IS THE WORLD-FAMOUS LOUVRE!

She knew it was the Louvre because there were many, many tourists going in.

Not only that, when she peered through a humongous and very impressive archway, she saw a glass pyramid at the other end.  OMG!  She has been imagining the sight of that glass pyramid for decades!  And now here it is, right in front of her, what a miracle!

And it looked exactly as she had imagined it looking, all these years (Whereas, much to self’s disappointment, the Eiffel Tower is so sadly spindly in actuality).  So she tried to catch her breath —  but no, she was being swept forward by a stream, a regular FLOOD of tourists.  Not only that, someone kept pestering her for a donation to the Society for the Deaf and Dumb.  Self fished out five Euros, but the lady requested 20.  So self picked up the pace a little bit, and said, in her best American accent:  “Sorry, I don’t speak French!”  Which was a strange thing to say, because the lady hadn’t uttered a word:  it turned out she was deaf and dumb, and the only reason self knew she wanted 20 Euros was because she kept pointing to a sheet that said 20 Euros.

Anyway, self made it to freedom, and then she sat down at a café, and was completely lost in contemplation and wonder and congratulation and relief when she heard, right by her left elbow:  Tagalog.  She glanced to her left —  sure enough, a very well-dressed middle-aged couple (the woman in skinny black jeans, trés chic, reminded her of Dearest Mum) had seated themselves and were discussing the fabulous attributes of the whole layout:  the buildings, the fountains, the weather, the carvings, the statues, the monuments, the arches, the Ferris Wheel in the distance . . .

So self resumed her walking, wishing with all her heart that she had bought son’s books on the way home rather than on the way to the Louvre.  But it’s OK!  Because now self doesn’t have to feel guilty that she didn’t bring son anything from Paris!

But, anyhoo, she has achieved her purpose!  She has taken pictures!  She has determined that she is really not as clue-less as people have assumed!

First Glimpse of the I.M. Pei Pyramid

Getting closer . . .

Mission Accomplished!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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