My time in the first city of this RTW adventure is coming to a close. Ironically, as I write this, I’m hearing what I write in a French accent in my head. The city has gotten into my brains.
I must be candid. Paris is not my favorite. For me, it was pricey, unfriendly, and overhyped. I’m eagerly anticipating my visit to Copenhagen. I leave later today.
I don’t regret the trip to Paris because it was helpful to get myself acclimated for all that’s to come. It reminded me how “inadequate” I am. For example, at dinner last night at Le Bis Repitita, I heard the same woman speak French to the waiter, Spanish to her friend, and Russian to her boyfriend (they kissed, which is no surprise in this town). In case you were curious, they all ordered Vodka.
The music has been divergent (and very American). Over loud-speakers at one time or another, I heard Jason Mraz singing “Curbside Prophet,” Aretha Franklin (yes that one) singing, “Natural Woman,” Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas,” and Dionne Warwick singing “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” (I do, by the way).
I can understand why our two countries — France and America — are close. We both have a history of revolution. Our capitals are strikingly similar. We have a love of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. We both admire Lafayette and Jefferson. Oh, and there was the American Revolution (where the French bailed us out) and WWII (where we kindly returned the favor).
As expected, the food has been delicious. It seems like everything has been accompanied by fries. There are more french fries in France than in America, which made no sense to me until I realized how much sense it made. In my typical American fashion, I figured that a fried, fatty potato would surely be a gift to the world from America. Alas, you can thank the French! How could I forget the Freedom Fry movement? Or miss the name of the thing.
There were many great meals, but I had a particularly wonderful Croque Madame. It’s a ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top. The Croque Monsieur forsakes the egg. Makes sense if you think about it, doesn’t it? I ate mine with a knife and fork, which brings me to a point. Eating in the European style (i.e., fork, turned down, remaining in left hand and knife in the right) is far superior to the American style (i.e., awkwardly switching the knife and fork all the time). There’s less chance of dropping one’s fork, which is a constant struggle for me. I may adopt it from here on out — even with my takeout plasticware.
There have been struggles for me, too. Those who know me are aware of just how much water I drink. And, if you ask her,my mother will gleefully tell you about how, as a child, I would stake out the nearest bathroom the moment we arrived at a new place. I’d bet she’s laughing even now. Unfortunately, neither quirk is easy in a foreign land. They present problems that I dare not go into publicly.
Even this early, I’m beginning to become more comfortable with traveling alone. It means not particularly caring about the clothes I wear (A goal – To wear the same clothes for a straight week.) or the ridiculous pictures I take of myself. It also means eating slower and taking in more of what I experience. I’m doing my best to disconnect from the world while not losing touch with it. As I said before, I’m taking in the world without taking it on.
See you in Copenhagen!