The apartment I've been living in since Wednesday doesn't have any internet connection. My landlord (who lives in London but is currently in the middle of nowhere in rural Ethiopia) had implied that there would be several 'open' wireless networks that I would be able to tap into with ease. I did find the open networks, but then the signal in the flat is far too weak to open the simplest of websites (even when I was stood precariously atop a stool on Wednesday night, holding my laptop up to the window in a moment of sheer, pathetic, desperation. Don't ask how I thought I'd be able to use the internet from such a bizarre position).
Today, I decided I just had to get online, and so left my flat at 12.30 (bloody early on a Sunday for me) with my Mac in tow. Within the first 5 minutes of my search, I begun to despair as Sunday is apparently a day of true rest here in Paris. Nothing was open! 45 minutes later though, I am now happily installed in a chic restaurant called 'Le Fumoir', which is next door to the Louvre, eating a delicious (but ridiculously expensive) brunch all on my own, whilst choking on thick clouds of cigarette smoke, just so that I can have the pleasure of complimentary internet for at most an hour.
Am I sad or what? (Teehee!)
I have been eating so much food here in Paris, that even my vocal chords have been affected, according to my mother. The first thing she said when I picked up the phone yesterday, was "You sound fat". How she managed to detect this over the 6,000 miles of crackly telephone wire between us, I will never know. But Maman, who knows me like the back of her hand, has a knack for these things, and there was just no use in denying that in the space of one week I have become a walking tub of lard.
I am however a tub of lard with a newfound appreciation for graphic novels. Here they're called Bandes Dessinees or something like that. In FNAC the other day, I randomly stumbled upon an entire floor of the things. The first one that caught my eye, had the picture of an African girl on its cover, which of course meant that I had to open it. And I'm so glad now, that I did, because it is absolutely hysterical. The Aya de Yopougon series is about an almost incestuous little village in Cote d'Ivoire, where young girls who dream of becoming hairdressers chase after old men, or sexy Parisiens, whilst their mothers storm out of their households when children fathered by their husbands turn up. (Sound familiar?) It is just hilarious!
I went to Notre Dame yesterday, which was a teeny bit of a let down. But I insisted on seeing it even though Paolo (more on him later... ) didn't want to because he had been equally let down a couple of years ago. Even though I've been to Paris several times in the past, I've never made it to Notre Dame for some reason, and so it was an absolute must this trip. After 20 minutes in it's dark, depressing interior, we were back out in the Ile de la Cité, on our way to Saint Chappelle. The latter turned out to be gorgeous, and was thankfully worth the metal scanner and impromptu frisk at the hands of two very unfriendly policemen (St Chappelle is in the middle of the Gendarmerie, for some bizarre reason). On to the Conciergerie, to see where Marie Antoinette was beheaded, and then to the Latin Quarter for the most divine crepe I have had in my entire life - chocolate sauce, cocoa liquor, whipped cream and coconuts. (Can't you just hear the lard swishing as I type?)
Paris is absolutely fabulous! We went on the Bateaux Mouches on Friday (another highlight in Paris that I had never before taken advantage of), and even though it got so cold that I wanted to bite my fingers off just to stop the pain, I still felt all swoony and inspired and poetic and cheesy riding along the Seine and looking at all the gorgeous gorgeous architecture. Ever the bimbo, I was forced to act as though I'd always known that Paris was in possession of its own Statue of Liberty. I knew the French gave one to America okay, it just never really occurred to me that they kept one for themselves! Christ, perhaps I shouldn't be admitting this in public?
I also have to report that I received my first "holler" in Paris. Finally! If you're wondering what the hell I'm on about, basically I left New York thinking I was the most gorgeous thing on the planet because everywhere I went, somebody "hollered" at me. They'd walk towards me in the street, and then just when they were within earshot, would go, "Mmm...mmm... God bless ya sister!" "Have a good day now, you pretty thing!" I even got the occasional business card, and a couple of hollers from umm... women. And it wasn't just the unemployed layabouts in Misan's ghetto doing the hollering by the way, it was also chic sophisticated folk. The height of it was when I had a shop assistant in Macy's (a beautiful, beautiful specimen of the male species) follow me around for 3 hours. By the end of the 2nd hour, he was modelling clothes for me (obviously not female ones, these were for my brother), and showing me item after item, just so I wouldn't leave. When I finally checked out at his till, he subtly implied that he would be "clocking out" too in a few minutes, to which I replied, "Uh... Have a nice day.
But anyway... in Paris I have been somewhat astounded by the Frenchman's unwillingness to acknowledge my hotness factor. And it has been a rather painful climb back down to Planet Earth. Thankfully though my floundering ego has been salvaged this weekend (Woohoo!) The first of my hollers came, unfortunately though, from a street-side Tektonik maestro! I suppose I should have been flattered, but umm... I just wan't. If you have no clue what Tektonik is (probably because you are lucky enough to reside in another more normal part of the world), have a look at the video below. Le Tektonik has taken Paris by storm. I'm not kidding! French people are usually so chic, that this new stage in their sociocultural development is just bizarre... it's beyond bizarre, it's absurd!