In the morning I successfully found the epicerie (grocery store) I have been looking for, for a long time. I bought milk and orange juice and a mug and other things I needed such as a baguette and cheese (The cheese stinks and I think it will go in the trash!). I also found the BNP Paribas Bank and solved my debit card problem. My pin code, which is 7 digits, would not work in the ATM machines here, which only seemed to accept 6 digits. When I had struggled through that explanation with the lady at the bank (and I assure you I had tried 3 ATMs in different parts of the city) she asked me to try again, and it worked that time! It seems like I’ll have to go to that same branch when I need money next.
I took the METRO to the Tour Eiffel. I am falling more and more in love with the metro, as I continue to master it. I love to see people in the metro, I love reading in the metro, I love how it gets me places, I love how I can blend in and not seem like a tourist at all, I love standing among people when there’s no space and listening to my iPod, I love rushing to get a transfer when I am getting late – it reminds me a little of New York. I guess it has just got to do with my love for a big city with a lot of people.
I got to the much-revered tower and it was as breathtaking as it had been described – I could see that it was old, and had stood there for very long, and that made it seem grander. There were a lot of people and the line was endless. By the time I got to the front the top floor had been closed because of overcrowding. I should have bought a ticket beforehand to avoid waiting for that long, but how could I have done that, there was such a visa problem. I didn’t even know until the day I left that I would be coming here for sure!
I’ll let the photographs speak, but as the elevator rose, curving its way up along the side of the tower, I felt elated, joyful, ecstatic, and I clicked on my camera.
The view of course was spectacular. But I especially appreciated the structure of the tower – the nuts and bolts that hold it together, the stairways, the terraces, the transparency of the steel structure that makes it a “park within a structure,” each turn presenting another aspect of the city below, framed in interesting metallic shapes.
It became really windy which I liked because it felt as if I was flying. In fact the weather was great. It would rain for a few minutes and then the one cloud would clear and let through strong, clear sunlight. It was also interesting to note that even though the view from higher up was generally considered more impressive,
Later in the afternoon (the sun sets here at 10:30pm or 11pm) I sat in the shadow of the Eiffel tower and made some sketches that I will complete in the next few days.
What I love also about Paris is a perfect balance that seems to hold everything in place – a balance between the old and the new (for example historicism and modernism in architecture), the fast- and the slow-paced life (metros and bicycles), the humble little cafes and the grand structures and museums – it’s difficult to explain. Everything exists in harmony here, not a constrained harmony imposed by laws necessarily. I will try to understand it better in the next few days.
Everyone I have come across has been very friendly, whether they speak French or not. I try not to massacre their language by first asking, in my exquisite French accent if they speak English. Then, if they take up the challenge, it’s they who begin to seem dumb, uneducated, silly, and not me! It doesn’t always work though.
At 11pm I wanted to get on the subway again. I met this young photographer/filmmaker who was interested in my work, and we went to walk on the Arc de Triomphe near the
I have been “lost” in this city a few times now, and every time it happens I recall the MasterCard advertisement at the airport – “Getting Lost in