mardi 31 août 2010

Coffee shortage and Tamagotchis.

Saturday, August 28th, 7 p.m. GMT

Moleskine'n'pen out, brand new Motorola Dext on its side aaaaaaaaaaaand: coffee! At long last! A nice hot cup of deep black coff... hang on... there's no coffee on the menu! Giant salads with exotic names (as long as 'poulette' and 'cochonne' could sound exotic to anyone), cocktails, mashed potatoes with ham, beers, all sorts of appetizers, but no sign of coffee... Ok, i know what i have to do, i have to start writing a guide book about how to fight caffeine addiction in Paris, because i have to admit that my 'coffees' with Fernando have been a lot more caffeine-free than expected... Never mind: as i've just decided to increase the blogging rythm (YES), coffee there will be, at some point!

7 p.m. GMT SHARP i might have added with a proud and triumphant smile, but there's no point showing off, because our appointment is not before 8, on my request, kindly accepted by my dear friend. I start writing now, because i know i'll be busy later and will just have the time to take a picture or two, but i like things that way: suddenly stopping whatever i'm doing to take a picture and make a quick mental note of what i will write down later.

No coffee then, i'll have to have wine instead (poor me), Sauvignon, or a glass of Bourgogne Alligoté. It's a shame i'm not hungry because the food they offer here is absolutely delicious, though extremely simple. I've had many occasions to try it in good company the last few years.

Le Troisième Lieu could as well have been named La Quatrième Dimension: unlike most bars in Paris, it's not a place looking expensive or impressive or glittering. Le Troisième Lieu (located in the glamorous Rue Quincampoix, famous thanks to Jeunet and 'Amelie from Montmartre') is all about feeling good, about taking things easy. Benches, long wooden tables covered in glossy pink or blue paint, mismatched furniture and elements of decoration, David Bowie, Abba and The Bangles filling the air on week nights, flashy and/or ancient-looking wallpapers, knickers and thongs (yes, really) of all sorts hanging from the ceiling above the bar. Affordable food, affordable drinks, affordable fun, that's a change, because Paris is NOT affordable.

I'm waiting for a friend, Delphine, i won't introduce her now because i hope she will accept to post a little something here some day and i'll have plenty of time to do so then. For once, it's not Axelle i'm going to be with and that's why i cannot promise i'll be able to write a few lines at 8 p.m. GMT sharp as i would have done with her. I already knew it when i suggested the hour to Fernando and the reason why it did not bother me is because i knew i would be posting something else during the week.


Here we are then, the truth is out: it seems that i'm now addicted to 'The Bridge'! It's not completely absurd to literally 'get high' on a bridge, but it still feels odd to see how easy it is to create a need. One day, you just start thinking of doing something, the idea grows in your head, and then without even taking time to ponder on what you are doing, the idea springs into a cute blog-bud, you pour absent-mindedly some water-posts on it and suddenly it hits you that you now have something, something palpabe that you have to feed, and take care of. And you enjoy doing it. And more: you enjoy HAVING TO do it.

It's just like owning a Tamagotchi (please, don't laugh, Tamagotchis are great) and watching it evolve while pushing small buttons, with the difference that a blog is supposed to be an interesting Tamagotchi. Complicated, and useful as well, in more than one way but really it works on the same principle...

To raise a Tamagotchi, three tiny buttons only: with A, you move from one option to the other and choose what you want to do, pushing B you confirm and with C you delete or cancel your choice.

How to grow a blog-bud now:

A: You choose what you want to say, write it down, add a picture or two.

B: Pour the water on the seed, send everything and inch'Allah.

C: You have second thoughts, decide to cancel what you were about to post because you're afraid that the comparison blog/Tamagotchi will induce the loss of some of your credibility (for example :D ).

and now?

Ah damn it, i'll find a way to look smart later, i just want the bridge-bud to grow fast!

-*. B .*-

Oh what an ugly picture! I miss my Blackberry now...

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mardi 24 août 2010

Young McFleury had a farm, E I E I O

Saturday, August 21st 2o1o

12:25 GMT

I'm cheating.
We agreed on 3 GMT and i'm already here in my notebook, writing with a great delight the first lines of introduction to this summary of the second 'coffee' with Fernando. I can already foresee that the beverage won't be coffee once again. Not because i would not fancy a coffee, but because i really don't know where around here i could possibly find a bar that could provide me some.
The reason why i'm cheating is simply that i'm not convinced i might be able to pull notebook and pen out of my bag at 4 o'clock sharp for you see, i might be busy, as 4 o'clock is when they milk the cows here...

Where exactly is 'here'? For now, 'here' is a large carpet of grass, overgrown and dry on patches, right under my feet for instance, and i have to wave my legs in the air to avoid the disastrous effects of a spiky grass on my bare and impossibly fragile skin. Fortunately it's green and soft on other locations, just as the patch on which my arm is lying. And it smells so good for my tainted parisian nostrils that i could almost faint of joy.
Axelle is with me again, fast asleep, a lazy elbow threatening the water-filled bottle cap she was using for her watercolour drawing before unexpectedly joining Morpheus in his kingdom. The water is still clean but looks opaque just as the lake it was taken from. If you ask me, i'd call this a pond, but having grown up next to the largest european lake explains why a cute greenish puddle does not enter my eyes with the glorious label of 'lake' on top of it.

If you are attentive, you might have guessed that 'here' is not Paris.
Yes, i have to admit it, i'm cheating for that too. I would gladly write an apology and explain in twenty different ways and languages how sorry i am to take you with me in such deserted lands when you were expecting to discover the wonders of the unquiet parisian life. I really would. But right now, i have to wake Axelle up, because a herd of geese is heading towards us and i'm afraid she would die of a heart attack if she found herself awoken by a mad goose sticking its peak in one of her ears.

If i'm brave enough, i'll take a picture.

(Obviously, i am!)

It's 2 o'clock here and La Bergerie Nationale of Rambouillet is now opened. We are still alive thanks to a little boy called Arthur who took care of frightening the geese and cause them to retreat to the lake. Bless Tiny-King Arthur! i must leave you now but will come back later. I was promised goats. And i am very fond of goats.

3:3o p.m. GMT Cows milked.

Cheers Fernando! I'm absolutely positive you did not expect this one, draining a glass of fresh milk with your parisian friend! But i think: maybe you don't like milk? We know so little of one another. And yet, we share a blog, we share more actually than i do share with most of my friends! Odd.

7:3o p.m. GMT

Cuddly goats, pearly bunnies smaller than my palm, Chanel (the pig) and a blackcurrant and apple juice later, it's already time to leave. I should have bought one of these rabbits! We stop for a while on a bench in a park overviewing the Castle of Rambouillet, sigh a lot, take a few pictures, drink some more juice and reluctantly head for the station.

Exhausted but happy, with a bottle of cider that we intend to share later, Axelle and i are in the train taking us back to where we belong... but do we? Yes, we do... still... Maybe i didn't need to be sorry for taking you so far from Paris after all, because there has always been a point to all of this. Let me explain.
I live in a beautiful, amazing city people tend to fall in love with quite easily. The whole idea of this blog is precisely to show that there are no limits to the beauty of Paris. Absolutely none. Paris has a mystical charm of its own that makes dirt look like gold, misery look glamourous and turns the most common things into rare treasures, simply because Paris is not a city. It's an idea. A glittering happy one, but only an idea.
If you stay here for more than a month though, especially during the Summer (-a Winter in Paris is a whole different story you'll have to wait a few months to be told), the city will take over the idea and you'll quickly run out of air. The heat, noise and pollution, the sticky and sweaty touch of exhausted passengers crammed in the suburban network, their lack of patience and of manners, all these parameters will make you crave for a quick escape from time to time, unless you were born here and don't know anything about what it means to come from the countryside. In fact, if you want to love Paris with all your heart and soul, you have to leave it, so that the idea can come again and seduce your mind once more (it always succeeds in the end), so that you can forget the grey concrete, the heavy heat, the lack of air, so that the physical city will not overpower the myth.

If you feel like you can't stand the neverending motion anymore, remember Rambouillet, take a nap on the shores of a (pond-)lake and pay a visit to the goats on a sunny and cool day. If you follow my plan, you'll get closer than anyone else to understanding what it takes to live in Paris.

Being happy in Paris implies knowing its emergency exits.

See you next week, Fernando? (I'll make an effort and have a coffee for real this time...)

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samedi 21 août 2010

Capturing the Moment

It’s 9:59 AM local time (+5 = GMT). One minute before, one minute after 10:00 AM or 3:00 PM GMT  ­­­­­̶ depending on your preferences and location ­­­­­̶  , doesn’t make much of a difference to stop thinking about other things and sharing a moment of our time with Sophie and our dear comrades. I don’t have to be in any specific place to “capture the moment”. Liberating my thoughts from the restraints of my head and putting them down in this little notebook is all that I need to do specially if I get some red lights. They really help on this kind of situations.

What about the red lights? Very easy! Since I’m driving and heading Downtown via Broadway, I don’t hate them (I rarely use the word hate), au contraire, I like when the green/yellow turns red. It helps free my hands from the steering wheel and allows me to grab a pen and write very rapidly tiny notations of where I am, amongst other things. Let’s say that right now I’m at the intersection of Broadway and West 110th Street. But not for long.
In the meantime I’m listening to WQXR, the classical music radio station of NYC. They’re airing “Some enchanting evening” an excellent piece from the musical play South Pacific.

You can see on top what a nice place to drive is Manhattan on a Saturday morning. Yeah, everybody must be sleeping the Friday hangover and the city doesn’t look crazy at all, even though at 89 St. & Broadway is not known for being the worst spot to get into a traffic jam.

I turn right to take Columbus Ave., because even if it’s early, one should avoid the theater district that it’s further down Broadway where theaters are just only a few of the many attractions in the area that includes Times Square at 42nd St (madness) and extends various blocks on both sides of this very important avenue.
Columbus becomes 9th Avenue at 59th St. I think this is a nice place to park. Looks perfect at the corner of 58 and 9. Oh!, music of Turandot now on the radio: the Overture and March but I have to cut it off because I have to go and buy some parking time units for street parking at a rate of 12 minutes for 50 cents. You do the math. One hour should be enough?!

There are places here at this corner where I could go in but I don’t like them. Let’s have a walk to see what we can find. One of the things about NY (meaning downtown Manhattan) is that walking around is a real pleasure for the senses and this morning looks specially attractive with no crowds, nice weather (75°) and everything quiet: nothing is out of control. Not having a plan could be the best plan of all sometimes. Let life happen to me without preset schemes or limits on the horizon!

It’s 10:20 AM. Remember to add five if you want GMT or 6 if you want the time in Paris. I’m going East of 57th Street and right in the middle between avenues 9 and 8 I discover the ‘Istanbul Cafe’.
This is the place! Take a look at how it looks. Too early for people to come here, I imagine, but it’s exactly what I’m looking for. What a contrast with these colors: very nice to the eyes! I don’t have to think it twice and I’m going to seat at one corner. I like corners.  It’s the best way to see everything in perspective. In a few minutes a man with a strange accent approaches me. He’s the waiter. He sees my phone and gets excited. Immediately he starts talking/praising the phone without asking me first what do I want.  
- Did you download the new app to see videos?  Blah blah blah! About the strange accent, well, it seems that nobody is from here. Everybody comes from somewhere else. Another state (the United States), another country, another planet. Seriously, you encounter people so weird, so bizarre that you never know where do they really come from.
I ask for the menu but I want suggestions: Turkish coffee? ; Turkish tea? OK, let’s try the Turkish tea. He says it's very good and ...indeed it’s nothing but a delicious truth. Let’s take a look at the menu.
I brought with me a book. If I’m not working, in my spare time I like to have a book in my hands. It gives me some kind of comfort. It’s a habit that still remains in me for when I was a good reader. Having one within reach doesn’t mean that I’m going to read but it makes me feel good to think I can because I have one on hand. Like money on your pockets. It feels good to have some even though that doesn’t mean you’re going or you want to spend it. And probably works as a charm, it works as son kind of amulet. Today my amulet is ‘Assorted Poems’ of Susan Wheeler.

From the menu I choose a mix Panini (russian salad, pepperoni and cheese). With that I can survive the rest of my morning and more.
Wow! It’s so peaceful here, I don’t want to leave right now. What a nuisance when our lives, our desires are at odds with those mundane regulations. I want to stay longer here and I can’t because I left my car behind and if I don’t buy more time it’s almost sure I’d pay a hefty price. The art of predicting is real hard! And predicting feelings is a much harder thing to do. Had I known I was going to feel this good in this place I’d have bought more time for sure... Well, next time! But before leaving let's see how is inside (there's a back door that connects to an interior patio, as well):
For now let’s enjoy this mouth watering panini..., that is full of flavors from, let me guess: Turkey?, Russia? Italy? No, NY?...Oh, it doesn’t matter. As long as it tastes good nothing else really ....

samedi 14 août 2010

Un Café avec Sophie

Time: 9:00 AM EST. Mm-mm! Bells don’t lie.

I (Fernando), my Moleskine (one of the perks of having a French friend), a Patrick Modiano's book, my Nexus One, coffee and croissant conveniently ordered and served before seating outside of the Hungarian Cafe located at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 111Th St in Manhattan.

I got to the Cafe 5 minutes earlier and there was only one table available with two chairs right on the sidewalk in front of the cafe. Who’d want to sit down inside? Come on! It’s a Summer day on a Saturday morning! Of course everybody would prefer to be outside taking advantage of the beautiful day. I asked the lovely waitress (she deserves the credit for taking two of the pictures showing here) what do I have to do if I wanted to be on that exclusive area and she told me I only have to order inside and she or another one will bring the service back to the table. What to do then if there was a line of customers in front of me and I was sure at least one of then would prefer that one, the same table as me. In milliseconds an idea came to my mind. I grabbed my book and Moleskine and put them on top of it (what a big risk I took but so is life!), so my reservation had been made. When I came back to the line I heard a tall and strong old guy saying to the person taking the orders: “service outside”. And immediately he went to the outside right to the table he thought was waiting for him just to discover with disconcert, it had been taken away. I was so embarrassed to look at the guy's face through the corner of my eyes!. He then came right back and I could hear telling the same person again in his disheartened tone of voice “now service inside”. Oh god! I was so sorry for the poor guy. But I was not ready to be ashamed at all of myself. This is the land of opportunities. But if you don’t take them fast somebody else will.

A couple of blocks away at 116Th  the big an immense Columbia University’s campus formed by a complex of buildings interconnected with each other and spanning various streets and avenues. I’m amazed at how I’m capable of describing what is around this area because one of the things that happen to you or at least has happened to me once I blended in with the city was the fact that I became blind to everything visitors were interested in.

On the other side of Amsterdam, between 110Th and 113Th Streets to be precise, the Cathedral of Saint John the divine.

And speaking of the devil, right there, a bus just arrived full of tourists discharging its content in front of the stairs of Saint John. Looks like the church just opened their doors because they’re flocking like birds and running up those steps like there’s not tomorrow, and maybe they’re right: there’s not time to waste...

Oh boy!, But I’m sorry.., I’m forgetting to say why I’m here and haven’t introduced yet the precious invitee that is with me this lovely morning.
–You see across the table an empty chair? Yes, exactly, right there!. In reality if you observe closely that chair is not empty. It may look at first though, but the truth is that it’s occupied for a young lady. If you think hard you can easily see who’s there. Maybe you have to close your eyes and that’d help a lot. If I’m not mistaken and that is not uncommon I read long time ago (that’s the reason of my forgetfulness and not yet the dreaded Alzheimer), in order to see some things you have to use your heart instead of your eyes. That’s right. And because I’m not using my eyes I can see clearly that the young lady I’m referring to is not other than Sophie. And she’s my guest or I’m hers! Who knows who’s whose...

But wait, what’s going on? I forgot to tell you that the whole purpose of being here was to share a coffee together: me with her/she with me.  I know it sounds crazy but yes. We both agreed on having this meeting today at this time even if the Atlantic ocean was still in the middle, between NY and Paris. But why did I mention the word ‘crazy’ if the other day I paid 10 Dollars to watch a movie in which people was just dreaming that they were dreaming another person's dream. And the things they were doing on those dreams. You want something more absurd? Why can’t I or can’t we do something more useful, credible and original if we want? And we don’t have to be sleeping. Only using the might of our gray cells fueled by some caffeine and some purposely - direct - imagination.

Perfect weather today makes things easier. 72° F, sunny and blue skies mixed with some clouds and there’s wonderful people around here. Not because they’re beautiful and some really are but because they are in such good moods and they look very educated, no wonder we’re in Columbia territory...and I need another refill of black coffee. To get the trance going!...

This morning I woke up at 7:15 AM. That was late considering that after a change of my work schedule I’m usually up at around 6:00 or 6:30 on weekdays. I had to rush with the shower: Hey! You know you have to be presentable if you are going to meet with a lady. Much more if that lady is Ms Sophie. But the Demons never stop working. Even on a Saturday. My god! I had to resist the temptation to go and see what was going on after a big sound, a BOOM, following screeching tires just a block and a half away. Sirens, did I hear people crying?

How come! Time really flies. I have already an hour here? The bells from the church don’t lie again. They now say it’s 10:00 AM already (3:00 PM UTC or 4:00 PM in Paris) and Sophie is such a good girl! What a delight to have her at the other end of the tunnel! Because that chair where she’s seated at elongates the same like in those mirrors that reflects on themselves forming some kind of a tunnel. At the other end there she is: It’s afternoon on the other side. It’s puzzling that the mornings, the afternoons and the nights are all happening at the same time. Somewhere and now. Just do your pick and you can experience it. Remember not to watch with your eyes or you can do it but looking inside not outside and you can see the same as I...

Oh no! It’s time to wake up... this imagination of mine! Either I feed the meter to avoid the ticket or it is time to go somewhere else. Don’t forget, this is NY. These cops don’t play games!

Streets deliciously empty, a delight to cross those green lights and thanks to the gods, I could make it on time for my first coffee with Sophie (and nobody was badly hurt in that freaking and scary accident).

Oh now, I’m looking forward to the next one!

Aux Folies de Belleville

August Saturday 14th - 2 :oo p.m. GMT

...2:12 p.m. GMT if i want to be precise -and i do, for it is the first thing you have to learn if you plan to have a coffee with a friend in Paris. Parisians have developed an interesting tradition, known as 'Le quart d'heure parisien', allowing you to be fifteen minutes late WITHOUT making your friend angry (actually, he or she would not even notice your lateness: the odds are good that he or she will be even later than you). But please note that, in fact, the famous 'quart d'heure parisien' is very well known throughout the entire country and changes its citizenship accordingly to where you are, as long as it is a city with a complicated urban network. Inhabitants of smaller towns are never late: they would feel rude, or ashamed, or sorry. Parisians don't. They are allowed. It's probably even written in some dusty thick law book, because lateness is systematic and if you need someone to be present at a very specific time, you'd better take this into account.

2:12 p.m. then.

At last! ¡ Un café con Fernando! And without the complication of having to find something interesting to say! And without having to vocalize it in an understandable English! What a treat!

After hours during which i had been searching my memory for a nice place to share a nice coffee with my nice co-writer, i finally chose...not to choose at all, and to let things happen.
Destiny sent me in the shape of a friendly red-haired young woman all the elements i would need to make this post a nice one. The perfect location, the perfect itinerary to get there and the perfect drink to choose.

As i am writing in my notebook, a neon sign saying 'Aux Folies de Belleville' is glittering above my head and facing me, and Axelle is busy drawing something gorgeous in my tiny Moleskine.
Axelle and i spent the morning helping a friend to get a few ikea items up on their feet (Fernando knows her, it will ring a bell if i say 'Claire'). As soon as all the books freshly moved to a new flat were able to find their way on brand new swedish shelves, we left, heading for Axelle's place where we fed Helios (the cat). And then, we went out once more, as it was nearly the time for my long awaited appointment.

A street named 'Rue Denoyez' gave us an incredible sight: its walls were entirely covered in huge drawings. That's how i found out that this very street was probably one of the few (if not the only one) in Paris in which street art was allowed.

Fernando and i have decided to take a picture of the bar, but i thought i could maybe extend the borders a bit and let my Blackberry enjoy being out of my pocket.

Isn't it funny, that the place Destiny and Axelle had chosen felt so 'New-Yorkish' to me?

After having filled our eyes with some of the finest pieces of street art, the cold raindrops which started to fall reminded us that it was time to fill our stomachs with a nice hot beverage and stepped into the bar. It's not the neon sign that first caught my eye, but the walls and tables, entirely covered in old scraps of newspapers, posters, playing cards, postcards, metro tickets and other flat and illustrated things of all sorts. I chose the table with an ace of spades right in the middle and we sat, smiling, but silent.
2:12, thirsty, tired, and happy to be here, i saw 'Chardonnay' written on a board above Axelle's head and thought i might cheat on the coffee and have a glass of wine instead (C'est tellement Paris!), but she reminded me that we have had nothing to eat yet and that wine would be potentially dangerous if we wanted to walk with dignity when leaving the bar. I had to admit that she was right and was about to order an innocent coffee when she told me 'Ils font un thé à la menthe marocain qui déchire'. Moroccan mint-tea! Now it had hit my head, it was as if i would never have allowed any other drink in my throat at this precise moment, so i ordered two of them.

I then pulled my notebook out of my bag, gave another one to Axelle, and as the bartender brought us a pair of steaming golden glasses, i solemnly started covering a lined page... Here i was then, my first 'coffee with Fernando'. I was looking forward to it, because i knew that i would be happy to sit alone in a bar knowing that somewhere in NYc, someone would be doing the exact same thing as me, thinking the exact same way, and that he would probably be enjoying it as much as i did. I was not alone, it's true, but this is something that has to be known about me: i choose my friends carefully and make sure that i feel comfortable enough with them to be 'alone' in their company if i want to. Alone, but not lonely. Once you've met someone you trust enough for that, your entire life becomes incredibly easy, incredibly soft and pleasant, and i am lucky enough to have a pleasant and soft life thanks to my friends. While i was writing, while i AM writing, i may not be 'with' Fernando, but i definitely am sharing a moment in a friendly company. What is the difference then?!

I wonder what Fernando is doing now? Is he having a coffee? He must be, yes: it's morning for him, and a coffee is the perfect thing to have in the morning.
Is there music in the place he has chosen? What is the weather today in NYc? Is he trying to figure out what i'm doing? Is he wondering if i'm wondering what he's doing?
I don't know. Yet.

Axelle's drawing is nearly finished, our glasses are empty, and i am happy because so far ( 4:oo GMT) this day has been more than perfect.

I'm going out tonight and i have to clean my flat for my parents' arrival tomorrow. They'll be staying for the week and i'm looking forward to visit a few new places with them, not for the pure pleasure of visiting places, but because i know i'll share every valuable discovery here.

I hope i'll have the time to type all this before leaving. If not, never mind, i will finish tomorrow. Who cares?!
The most important part of the job is done: i've had my first coffee with Fernando!

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Be aware!

Oh dear readers or should I say dear travelers instead? Because it sounds just a little presumptuous to assume that there'd be people who'd dare to read our ramblings, right Sophie?
In any case, readers (with a grain of salt), travelers, companions, you should be alerted that our visions -impressions if you prefer, about the cities that we intend to guide you through and describe are quite far from accurate and may differ enormously of those that you find in regular booklets dedicated to show regular visitors the best known attractions of our metropolis.

I'd say, and I think I can interpret Sophie as well, that our accounts are going to be heavily influenced by our emotions and feelings of the moment and even though I'm some kind of an expert masking what I feel and only in rare occasions the correspondence between what I show and what's really happening inside of me is very direct, for the purposes of this collaborative work I'm going to cut the ties from the impediments that hold me back and I'd permit to have a sort of license to express myself as freely as it could possibly be. Besides, in my case (and Sophie's too), I'd be writing in English that is not my first language and it makes it easier to say things that I'd hesitate/have more doubts to tell in my first spoken one.

So dear friends, be aware and consider yourselves sufficiently warned that all of our descriptions are going to be impregnated with our original and extremely subjective way to see things and more than a trip to know the cities that we in a certain way represent, this is more of a voyage in which you're going to be carried out and away by our emotional states as they are unleashed by the power of our routines and events as they happen in our very ordinary ways of life.

In addition, you may already know that necessity is the mother of all inventions. For example, accidents don't stop people for being creative. To the contrary they work as the drivers to create new things. It's well known those piano compositions created for the left hand: an accident that left the right hand useless was the reason for coming up with such a strange thing. Great composers have created piano compositions for two people and in this case we're talking about four hands, even six hands... And Sophie and I joked about our blog at four hands..., because this is a big task to build such a blog-bridge and eventually we'd need six or eight, who knows? Also, she lives in Paris, I live in NY but that doesn't stop us from creating our extremely original way to share things like the ones we'll be talking about in our new posts.

Still want to join us?

vendredi 13 août 2010

Paris - August Friday 13th - 8:48 a.m. GMT

I can already picture myself: i'll suddenly stop thinking GMT+1 and grab my faithful Blackberry, take a picture of whatever is in front of me, even if it is paroxystically uninteresting, then take a pen, free my Moleskine from the tight front pocket of my shoulder bag, sit or kneel down on the spot and let the flow of GMT-thoughts out, starting by 'this is me, now, i'm here, doing this, thinking that, and i feel so very strongly that you ought to know it that i'm not going to let you leave without having written all i possibly could about it'. It better be interesting though...

This is how it will work then. 'Capture the Instant', make it become sensible. Use all the might of pixels to stick a little bit of an average Parisian life into your imagination.

If you want to travel with us for a while, you might as well know who you're going to be travelling with.

'Tell me what you do, and i'll tell you who you are' is a false statement, at least i hope so for what i do for a living is quite boring. Very boring indeed but the funny bit is that my 'profession' (saying it is a 'profession' gives some status, though 'job' would be far less pompous and much more appropriate) has more or less everything in common with this Bridge thing.
'More' because i actually am paid to help visitors feel comfortable in Paris, find their way through the a-mazing corridors of the metro, buy tickets for DisneyLand and find the moisturizing lotion in the drawers of their bedrooms. And 'less' because i definitely don't take the opportunity given by the job and remain shut as an oyster whenever i'm expected to tell them what 'has to be seen' in Paris. It's quite painful really, when you know that they're waiting for answers they could find in any brochure but still insist on you having to give them every single detail in an english they don't even understand (japanese and brazilian customers mostly, unfortunately for me, i master none of these languages)!
What are you supposed to say when they're asking you how to best enjoy the Eiffel Tower: '-which is best: elevator, or stairs?' '-well Sir, i haven't got the slightest idea, but if you want to do something nice this afternoon, may i suggest that you go to this little tea room in th...' '-sorry, no understand' '-ok... stairs then, it's free.'

That's why i would love you to accept to join me (to join us both, Fernando and i) in this little tea room nobody else cares about: precisely because i'm in the 'Tourism Business' and feel so terribly frustrated, so terribly cold when i'm expected to find something attractive in the boring averageness of the postcard-style of most of the places suggested to those who want to 'visit' a city within a day (an hour for the braves).

Only a fortunate few have been allowed to visit my 'den' so far, and you will be the first ones to see my working place as i would like any person curious to KNOW Paris to see it.

Here above is my 'reception'. Empty, for i was at the time at the other end of the Blackberry, but i'm here for you, the ghostly receptionist who is going to make you BECOME Paris.

It's not a pen i should grab, but a syringe full of this very special serum, and start pushing little drops of Paris inside your veins!

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mercredi 11 août 2010

First, or second thoughts?

Building a bridge? Ok. I can be good at building things. A bridge is a thing, huh? Of the big kind, alright, but it's only a thing, really.

Building a bridge between Paris and NYC? Easy! If you ask Paul Atreides in Dune, it's only just a matter of how much Spice you eat, then you can start bending Space, time-travelling and so on. No big deal.

Writing entirely in English? Well, let's keep things simple and if i'm lucky people will understand what i say. Everybody understands English today. I'll just have to bear in mind that i have to keep - things - simple.

Not doing it alone and therefore having the responsability to NOT give up on the first occasion? Oh... Oh! Ok. :D

Oh dear!

How much madder could i be to undertake such a thing!?

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dimanche 8 août 2010

Let there be "The Bridge"

And without much further ado she said:
Let there be Blogs!
He said, she said:
Let there be "The Bridge"!
Without much delay
They started it their way
They liked how it looked like
After walking it over
And each one in their end
have declared with fanfare
Let the crossing commence!