Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dispatch from Paris: A Rainy Day in Paris, But Not Like the Day Ilsa Left Rick Standing on the Platform at Gare de Lyon

I always wonder how many takes it took Rick Blaine, with buckets of rain pouring over his fedora, to get the getting-stood-up-by-Ilsa-at-the-Paris-railroad-station-platform scene right. I've always hoped it was one. Well, me and Dolly-girl awoke to rain this morning, but nothing like that, so my fedora didn't get soaked through, and she didn't stand me up, neither.

We tied on the feedbag, courtesy of Conrad Hilton, and I'm in Paris to tell you it was a dandy. All the usual hot sort of breakfast grub, although I don't recall seeing any grits, but then all sorts of cold meats and cheeses, and then to beat the band, a whole separate room for the bread and other bread-like items. You know, your croissants, your petite pains, your baguettes, your petite baguettes, your...well you get the picture. I didn't have the Kodak with me so I don't have one to show you.

After a coupla-cuppas, we headed out to see just what all this fuss is about when people get the idea of Paris floating around in their heads. First we came across was a whole bunch of bike racks. When I walked past them yesterday, there were bikes parked at all of them. I mentioned to Dolly-girl how this might be the sort of caper we'd come here for. That got me one through the wave. "Jack, they're rental bikes. People use them to go to work and other places they want to go. It's a hell of an idea." Oh.

Next I spotted a car that was all painted up and had a fruit perched on its roof. "Dolly-girl, maybe this is the caper. People painting on cars--you know, graffiti. "Jack, whoever painted this car put one of those intertubes address on it--I think it's called advertising." Turns out it was Mangue Debol's car. We ran into his buddy, Ramon Ta Fraise on our way to the Tour Effiel and one of Ramon's handlers explained to us that he (although I'm guessing that strawberry was a she) was involved in a contest with 8 other fruits to be fruit of the year. Check it out here.

After that we headed on over to the Tour Eiffel. Now what is it with that, anyway? First I think a tour is you know, like a tour, like in that Tour de France. Then someone tells me it's a place, Tour, you know, the town in the Loire valley that Charles IX rode through back in 1564. Or was it 1566. Now Dolly-girl is telling me it means tower! Maybe that's the caper--these Frenchies can't keep their language straight. "Jack." Oh-oh, Jack-period, not Jack-comma meant there was trouble on the way. "First, it's Tours. Now, have you ever heard of a) homonyms, like bow or fluke, or b) L'Académie française?" "Bow, yeah, I get you. But with regard to the second part of your question, pretty obviously not." I shook my head. She started, "It was started by Cardinal Richelieu in, oh, when was that, 1635, if memory serves. There was about a 10 year period when it was out of favor--during the French Revolution--but Napoleon brought it back." "Is that the same guy that's got the brandy company? He makes some good stuff." If a un coup d'oeil grâce à une vague de cheveux could have been plus exaspérée, I don't know how it could have been. Anyway, we poked around this particular tour which was pretty cool, alright, but decided to come back on a day with no rain to go on up in it. No caper here today.

Dolly-girl had done some reading on what to see and do here in Paris, so we decided to take the #69 bus to the end of the line which just happens to match up with the location of Cimetière du Père Lachaise, which I was to find out over a cuppa, is a pretty famous place when it comes to planting folks. Seemed to me like a good place to go on a day that was raining. Besides, lots of capers happen on buses or in cemeteries.

We stopped for a bite and then headed on into the cemetery. Dolly-girl's reading on this one was right on target. I have to hand it to them--they sure know how to cram a lot of people into a small place. They are still taking newcomers, though, even if you didn't have anything in particular French going for you other than deciding to die in Paris after living there for a couple months, like that Jim Morrison guy. Here's his where-I'll-be-forever. Some punk-rocker--are there still punk-rockers--was getting interviewed. His blue spiked Mohawk and piercings would make Jim, well, who knows what his reaction would be.

Other cool things include stained glass windows inside the little sepulchres and ceramic flower arrangements that get left on tombs. I mentioned as how I thought the ceramic flowers were a pretty good idea. Dolly-girl agreed.

Dolly-girl had me take a Kodak of her at Marcel Proust's grave. She and Javier are always talking about him when we get together to listen to that Bard guy. I heard them talking one time about him writing The Fugitive and when I mentioned that Harrison Ford was in the movie, they just looked at each other through their waves and laughed. I guess they didn't like the movie that much. I guess The Fugitive wasn't a caper either, although it seemed like a possibility to me.

Well, that was about a day, so we looked for the Paris version of the Golden Arches which it turns out is where you get on one of the cleanest subways I've ever had the pleasure to ride, and we headed on back to our hotel. Day 1. No capers yet.


Ronna said...

Keep 'em coming, Jack!

Karen said...

Beautiful happy picture of Dolly-Girl. I want to travel with you guys; you have such fun!