mardi 28 septembre 2010


Last Week-End, i was free.


Oh that's a bad omen for me!

I'll share the reminiscing bit with you...

College and High-School: unexpected free time in my timetable -> i'd fall ill straight away, not matter how exciting the improvised shopping session with a few classmates would sound.

University: day of freedom because of a strike -> headache.

Holidays: conjunctivitis

Free from any sort of moral or physical obligation: i fall ill, ill, ill!

And last week-end, guess what?

Fernando said 'free', i decided it could apply to the whole week-end and thought i'd be writing my post on Sunday, sipping a tea somewhere after having visited an exhibition or a museum, walking peacefully hands in my pockets as any free woman would have.

Sunday morning, 9.3o, i wake up, as any free woman, but -> Sore throat, running nose, weak from head-ache to toe-ache and just one single desire: watch each and every Harry Potter movie with chocolate and sweets and maybe a pencil and a sketchbook.

And basically, that's all i did as it was impossible for me to keep my eyes on a too bright screen for too long -lucky that the Harry Potter movies are quite dark and the matt paper of my sketchbook does not reflect ligth, or i'd have had to bury my head in my pillow and wait for Death to come and take me with Her.
I've been able to draw a few more pages for my other blog, empty mug upon mug of hot tea, but that was it.

Ever since Sunday, it has been a daily struggle to pull myself to write something here when i perfectly know i have nothing to say (unless you'd find some interest in knowing that i'm wearing pink and fluffy Tinker Bell socks at home to keep my feet warm, which i highly doubt (and NO, you won't get any picture of them)).

Anyway, as thinking was not totally painful nor exhausting, i've then had some time to start thinking about a few places wich i'd never visited and/or would find interesting to see (again). I suggested last week to Fernando that we could each come up with a list of a few places and ask our co-blogger to pick for us the one we would have to go to.

Here is my list:

Musée des Arts Décoratifs
(new collections and exhibitions i haven't seen yet)

Musée Gustave Moreau
(i feel highly ashamed to say that i've never been there in five whole years)

Mémorial de la Shoah
(i haven't visited the bookshop yet and would be extremely interested to)

Palais de la Découverte
(can i hide behind my hankerchief as i mumble 'never been there' ?)

No matter where you'll send me my dear Friend, i'll make sure i have dinner in a nice and quiet place afterwards so that i can write a long and detailed summary of what i've seen.

And while you choose, i'll have a spoon full of sugar (it helps the medicine go down, they say...)

dimanche 26 septembre 2010

Music: the other bridge

New York, Saturday, September 25, 2010.

It's laissez-faire Saturday, which means we, Sophie and I, can do whatever we want. We're on our own. But doing whatever we want still means we are going to do something. And this is good. Like doing a post or maybe two: one today, because Fernando, who is me, feels like it, and another one perhaps another day.

It was good that we decided it this way because today I feel like garbage or maybe it is not good because when we feel bad we get better if we have to do something in spite of our crappy feelings.

Headache, backache; the question I ask to myself: is the head where it's supposed to be? I don't know.

Temperature changes up/down/up in the recent days plus some poor/bad habits that can't be discarded could have been the triggers behind feeling like trash. It's in days like this that you need to be well armed against all those thoughts and questions that come to your mind about the purpose of life.

Immediately the dichotomy between body and mind comes to your mind and you can't help but feeling hostage inside your own body.

It's true, in moments like this you realize you can't escape from those ties. Your wellbeing, all, depend on how well you feel about yourself and things get a little contradictory here because a Doctor told Daniel (my dear brother), when things are fine with us we are not suppose to feel our bodies: we're not supposed to feel anything.

In fact, by the moment you feel something, some things in you are not good. Good Gracious!

A big part of being prepared or well armed for when you feel trashy is knowing what to do under the circumstances: like getting yourself a break, buying some stuff that should alleviate your physical pains and for the other pains -soul/existential-, music could be the perfect balm who'd alleviate all ills.... And here I should tell you a secret. Shh! Music, but not any music,  the good one, is the sole responsible for the connection, the bridge that today exists between Sophie and Me.

And for that I'm very grateful...

And the best way for me to show the gratitude to her and to the music is sharing both in the bridge but not like we usually do in Facebook. Today with no surprise I (gods willing) will be helped by planes and mailmen from two countries who'd carry the big task to bring pleasure to the ears of my nice co-blogger on the other side of the Atlantic.

However, not to be a bad guy I won't leave my dear Sophie nor our readers totally in the dark. Let me show you a little bit of  what she's supposed to receive..., here Hilary Hahn and below the introduction to Alondra de la Parra and her Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (sorry for the quality of the video) ... I like to please too, so, enjoy!

vendredi 24 septembre 2010

Some Jazz and 4 words can make your New York day worthy

New York, Saturday September 18, 2010.

Can I start this post talking about how tricky it is that someone else, not you, be the one who chooses when you have to do something but you don’t know, you’re uncertain when exactly that call will come? Evil, and I’m not kidding, it’s the most appropriate word that’d describe the situation you’re placed in when you are left with no clues of the time such call is coming... But it’s much worse if it is a self inflicted wound, if you Fernando and not other are the only one responsible in a certain way for having created such a scenario.

I didn’t know how powerful that context could be until I read the post Sophie wrote last week. Do you remember it? Let’s refresh your memory reading here. If you are a person respectful of the commitments you've made you don’t take lightly those you’ve agreed upon before and more if the other person has done her part of the deal. Had Sophie decided to send the ‘sign’ at 3:00 or 4:00 AM in NY time it’d had been perfectly valid and I’d had waken up to start my post for that day describing what I was doing at that precise moment I was receiving the message.

Thank god Sophie didn’t do that last Saturday but anyway, it really bothered me the whole week. Can you just imagine how powerful an idea is! Ideas are expressed or translated into words but there must be something hidden, something more profound that is beneath their surface and connect our beings in such ways that our lives could be shaken or turned upside down (or the opposite hopefully) as a result of the meanings implicit in them. I couldn’t help but start thinking how important it is the choosing of our words, the importance of them to express our world, our feelings and the way we experience it or perhaps change both if that were the case, just for altering the dynamic (some physics here) how we present them...

Let me say that I had decided not to do anything until I got a message from Sophie (that doesn't count as cheating) because I was sort of paralyzed and I couldn’t make up my mind of what I should be doing. But then I thought the best that I could do, maybe, would be to make plans that I’d develop as soon as I receive the ‘signal’. Well, actually I took a shower and put some clothes on to be ready and execute what later I could come up with.

At 3:09 local time I don't know if I have said it out loud (no, no, of course I didn’t): my moleskine!, my moleskine: where is my moleskine? Because I just received the SMS from Sophie...Ah, finally!!! And the message caught me lying on the couch with my notebook on my lap minutes after watching an amazing performance live via Internet thanks to (you have to register but it's worth the effort) and the Vienna Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the last appearance of the summer in the Lucerne Festival.

You see the power of words! Only four in this case ("now is the time") and suddenly everything had been cleared all of a sudden. All the paralysis, the black clouds dissipated like the works of a magician. What a devastating effect (good in this case) words have! It was time then to make a strong black coffee because probably I was going to need it later on.

Two things I had in mind: the Neue Galerie exhibition of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt and finally going to see Cyrille Aimée at the Cupping Room in Soho.
That exhibition of Mr Messerschmidt looked very promising (I love to read faces or expressions) and I immediately directed myself towards that location. But the gods not always work in our favor and I got late..., I thought it would be open until 9, and also took the train and didn’t stop where I was supposed to.

Nevertheless Cafe Sabarsky is right next to the Neue Galerie as part of the complex and I know how to entertain myself and convert such errors in calculation to my advantage... In cafe Sabarsky they honor their Austrian and German heritage. You can never go wrong with Classical music, more coffee and a very surprising and more than delicious glass of hot spiced Red Wine unsweetened. On the side an orange slice with cloves.

It was very tempting to stay more time at the Cafe. That wine was superb and all the items in the menu that were offered; dishes and appetizers not to be neglected. I resisted though all my urges; I know I’m not Dorian Gray nor Oscar Wilde, and another Cafe was waiting.


So, I decided to go ahead with my original plans and headed to see instead what became the real treat of the night: Cyrille Aimée.


And let me tell you she’s great, Jazz is great and all the Bordeaux I took there were worth all the money I paid for ...and while listening her velvet voice (Ella F. would envy her) and the effect the instruments, the battery, the guitar, the trumpet play in us I had some hypnotic trance going... Hey, what a strange thing the rhythm of the music that transport us to realms where time has no existence!

mardi 21 septembre 2010

Architectural theory and implementations.

Not Paris, September, Saturday 18th 2o1o

All those who know what it feels like to build something, from crafted cardboard puppets or Swedish furniture to skyscrapers, are very well aware of the risks implied by neglecting one single piece, even unsignificant, either by choosing the wrong material, or putting it upside down, or bolting the lot up together too tightly or not tightly enough. The consequences are not too dramatic when it stays in the domestic circle: you might end up with a two left-legged paper pink gorilla, or a pile of broken plates but your household will recover from the tragedies, eventually. But when you're trying to build something bigger, something you wish to show to others and / or want them to use, it's a whole different issue and you just can't allow yourself to do stupid things.

Especially when you're building a Bridge, because the problem becomes multiple, accordingly to the very nature of such a construction.

Bridges are not objects made only to distract the builder and its surrounding public (like a paper gorilla), nor ones made to 'contain' other objects, as a cupboard would contain marmelade jars or a bed would hold people in its warm and still depths.


Bridges have a point of origin and a destination, they are entrusted with the mission to become a path, and the clearer the better if the builders intend to make a nice and strong one, from right there to over here, without a profusion of unrequired silly elbows, spirals, dead ends and roundabouts.

Please then tell me what a bridge between Paris and New-York City would have looked like if Paris had suddenly swollen like a balloon, streched much further Northwards and reached Lille where i was spending the week-end? As far as i'm aware (and as The Bridge's first-assistant junior engineer, i'm aware of a lot of things, thank you very much!), it's not a delta that we are building, nor some kind of sorting-slide meant to scatter bits of NYc all over the North-half of France!

This is precisely why i think it would be absolutely unnecessary (and perhaps even wrong) to tell you anything about my very nice week-end with Elodie in Lille. I will therefore not mention the dim-lit Italian restaurant from which i sent my text message to Fernando to tell him that 'now was the time', just after a sip of Martini Bianco, nor the cosy Leaking-Cauldron-like little bar in which we took refuge to warm up around a cup of hot chocolate. Had i been in Paris, i would have described in details the old creaking wooden stairs, the highly coloured paintings hanging on the walls and the thickness of the whipped cream on top of the beverage, but no.

What, again, would be the use to describe the paradoxical warmth of this evening stroll in the old and chilly paved streets, looking so much like London, the magic of the narrow alleys surrounding an austere church, the rumour and glitter of a distant fair?

And it would not be necessary either for me to tell you that qualifying this evening as 'nice' was a lie, far below reality.

There would be no point in all this, really, because i was not in Paris.

On Saturday 18th, i did not add any brick to The Bridge, but chose to refill my muscles with energy while emptying my head from all sorts ofparisian pollutions, so that the next bricks would not be laid upside-down by an exhausted and strained builder.

So... see you next week, in Paris, Fernando.

Flattr this

vendredi 17 septembre 2010

Brooklyn Bridge: second and final part

Second parts are not always good. And this one has not the pretension to challenge the assumption. But you have to do this part because you have to finish what you've started just to close it, not to leave it open, so later it can't come to hunt/haunt you (as Sophie would put it) even if the results are not great.

If I'm not mistaken I was supposed to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from one end to the other.
And if my memory doesn't mislead me, I did walk over it. That same day of August 28th, 2010. Oh yes, I still have my notes. And other evidence that I did.
For more than a year I used to pass by car over the BB 2 times a day 5 days a week. Now, the schedule has changed to 2 times per week and from the car, one level up, we always can/could see the people walking over us on a platform located on the center of the bridge day in and day out.

The feeling was/is always the same: wanting to trade places with those people but looking like it'd never take place. Going to or coming from work in the mornings and afternoons was not the perfect time to really do it. You save a lot of inconveniences having your own means of transportation but you miss a lot of things for not taking public transportation and this was one of them.

Life and their paradoxes! You want things when you can't have them or having them is always at the expense of something else. You can not have everything!... Or maybe you can but not at the same time. And that's why I left the car behind, so I wouldn't be tempted to withdraw until I had completed the intended task.

I remember I was there then exiting the train 4 in the first stop on the Brooklyn side after leaving Manhattan a couple of minutes before. I didn't know yet how to take the Bridge if the purpose was to try to cross-walk-over-it.  But who was I going to ask?

Well, you know, it's much harder than it seems to find a friendly face who can give you directions about how to take the BB on foot. Because you should know that the key to whom we have to ask is in people's faces. It's surprising the amount of information that humans (but not only humans) can hold there. All emotions or lack there of are there in people's expressions for us to read. And you don't have to be an expert like Paul Ekman to interpret them. Have you seen the new series based on his work: lie to me?
And some people use them like shields. They can look bad or mad as a way to protect themselves against being approached. What a misery of a life! Like that one that just passed me by...
On occasions like this what works is to go with our gut feelings because it rarely fails.

Finally after some trial and error (Oh no: Russians!) and with the help of a friendly female (some women are great willing to give directions) I got my way to start cruising the Brooklyn Bridge.
                                                                                                                      And you know what? It's not that bad! After doing it, now I think that if you really and truly believe or feel like you are a New Yorker you shouldn't leave this just to tourists.
In fact you should do it more often...It's very good for people's health and for lazy people it could help to have some work-out at the same time they enjoy the most beautiful views of lower Manhattan, the other bridges (Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg bridge Triboro bridge) the statue of liberty (very far away, indeed) and as a bonus on the horizon, the Atlantic Ocean and the sky, where they just get confounded in such a vague and imprecise line....       (Here I'm going to stop, I don't want to say how thirsty that walk left me and not precisely the kind that is quenched with water)...

lundi 13 septembre 2010


Saturday, September 11th 2o1o, Paris, 1o:o7 P.M. Local Time

'Erwann! What did i tell you! Check the text message that i just got while i was taking off my shoes!' is the exact translation of what i said a few minutes ago, giggling and waving my Blackberry towards my flatmate. I hopped back to my room and pulled a pen from my bag to write these few lines, threw away my second shoe while doing so and suddenly fell down on my chair as the thought of my exhausting day came back to my mind.

I usually am looking forward to my 'appointments' with Fernando and it seems that today i am going to have to look backwards if i want to write something interesting, if i want to write anything at all!
I'll have to wait until tomorrow, because it has been an extraordinarily long ordinary day and i am now so exhausted that i don't think i could even go to the Starbucks (two minutes from here, maximum) and get myself a coffee.

Fernando suggested the idea of a surprise time for the building of The Bridge today and i knew that his text message (the 'signal') could arrive any time in the afternoon, evening or night. Two solutions then: making sure i would be doing something thrilling when it would arrive, or just let things happen and have the most average Saturday ever.

You start to know me now, and i like to let things happen. A lot.

My alarm was set at 7:3o today, and as i had climbed up to my bed at 4:3o, maybe five, i was a bit 'à côté de mes pompes' when i emptied my first coffee-and-cinnamon (1) mug. I then had a shower, got dressed, grabbed my bag and left the flat to meet a friend for her birthday. I knew that i would not get any message so early in the day but thought it would be very funny to be caught playing Mikado with mini-sticks (painted toothpicks in fact) on a low table, in a Starbucks. Louise-Marie and i (oh Lord! She is going to kill me if i call her Louise-hyphen-Marie, she prefers 'Louma' you see... but at least, i'll know if she is on The Bridge with us that way), Louise-hyphen-Marie and i, then, are 'Starbucks-pals'. From time to time, i go and pick her up at the North-Station when she comes back from Brussels where she's been living for a few months now, and on the way we stop and have a coffee and a little chat. Or we do it the other way, meet in front of the Starbucks, have coffee (2), a chat and head for the station, like we did yesterday.
As we both are huge Doctor Who fans, when i saw a pair of the red and blue 3D cardboard glasses The Doctor wears in the last two episodes of Series 2, i bought them because i knew she would not hesitate to wear them in public even if it meant she would have to look momentarily stupid. And she did wear them. My friends are great.

At 1o:3o, i dropped Louise-hyphen-Marie in her train and the Bridge-Maker inside me told me that i had no right to go home now, because Fernando could wake up in the middle of the night and text me straight away (funny how time-stupid you become when you're waiting for something!), so i decided to head towards my friends' pasta restaurant near St-Lazare Station. I walked, because i would not have fancied taking a picture in the Metro or have to squeeze my Moleskine against a window while dozens of passengers were staring. The air was fresh, the sunbeams very gentle and a Saturday walk in Paris is always nice as long as you avoid the frantic shoppers.

One hour later, i arrived in front of Samuel and Emmanuel's restaurant where i helped myself with a strong expresso (3) and a Kinder Surprise Egg (no collectible Smurf in it, but a great spinning-top with hypnotic paper wings). My friend and collegue from the Hotel Marc was there too, his forehead burning mostly because of a flu and a little bit because he didn't know where to go for his holidays. When i left, a blue neon lamp purchased in the shop across the road under my arm, he still didn't know where he would go but as we had been talking about Morocco and Tunisia, he was more determined than ever to leave, no matter how ill he was.

I could not keep that huge neon tube with me all day long, so i decided to go home and prayed all the way Fernando would not text me. It was still quite early for him so i told myself that i would even be allowed a coffee (4) and a second shower (i needed to wash my hair). I was laughing and swearing at the same time with shampoo all over my face, trying to imagine what it would be like for my reputation if i had to write something at that very moment. Fortunately, Fernando was probably still asleep. My flatmate was there, so i asked him if he would fancy a restaurant in my company later.

3:3o, i left the flat once more and went for a walk. St Lazare Station once again, La Madeleine, Le Louvre, Châtelet, Notre-Dame (please, please, now Fernando!), Saint-Michel, L'Abbaye de Cluny (now, now!), Les Jardins du Luxembourg, Odéon, Châtelet, Le Louvre (oh no, here, here, now, please!), Le Jardin des Tuileries, Starbucks (5), L'Opéra Garnier, St Lazare, Home.

7:oo, back home and dead! but Erwann and i would be leaving soon for a little walk and a nice meal somewhere so i had to wake up and prepared myself a coffee (6), i ate some chocolate (no time for chocolate) and we left. We live in such a nice Arrondissement! There are so many narrow streets, so calm that you could easily imagine that you're not in Paris but in some small town... And so many restaurants! Pizza? No. Lebanese? Not tonight. Mmmh, let's -randomly- try that one: 'Tea Folies', place Gustave Toudouze (who the hell Gustave Toudouze is, we have no idea). 'Random' is always a good choice: stone walls, appetizing smell, tantalizing vegetables on the clients' plates... Everything looks healthy and that's good for me, because you might have guessed with the repetitive occurrences of 'coffe', and the apparition of 'Kinder Surprise Eggs' and chocolate (though dark) that i don't often have healthy food! (quick: pictures, just in case Fernando texts me while i'm eating, so that i don't have to be impolite!)

A glass of squeezed lime and a plate of delicious vegetables later (salmon for the gentleman), and at the great despair of my shoes, we left the restaurant for a digestive walk.

As we passed by one of the splendid little churches of Paris, place St Estienne d'Orves (please, please, please now!), i took a last picture, starting to think that it would be very difficult for me to find the energy to write anything when the Hour would come, but it did not matter: how could it! I had done and seen more than i would have if we had chosen a specific time.
Erwann and i stopped in a Starbucks on the way back, where i had chocolate, and arrived home at 1o:o2 PM. Exactly.

So...sorry Fernando for having been such a lazy young lady when you texted me... i should have accepted Axelle's request to join her and have a late last drink (don't mention coffee in front of me, ever again!) but thank you for this great long and nicely-exhausting 'average Saturday' in your company!

(see? i've had these co***es at last!)

Flattr this

dimanche 12 septembre 2010

Sushi Afternoon in Queens? Not really!

Saturday in New York, September 11, 2010.

I watch the clock in New York and I ask myself: why not? Immediately I take my phone and write a short message to Sophie in Paris that reads: It’s 4:02 PM local time, 10:02 PM your time. Let’s build this bridge!

Today becomes some kind of a surprise day choosing the time for me and at this specific hour of the day (or night) as in previous occasions we shall stop what we’re doing, take our Moleskines (my Dear Sophie and I) and tell in writing what’s going on right now, at this very moment I’m sending this message. Thanks Sophie for insisting to give me the honor of picking the time!

It was supposed to be a Sushi Afternoon in Queens, New York, (paraphrasing Sophie’s Sushi's nights in Paris - I know: I’m not original at all) if it were not because my beloved friend Sonia with whom I have agreed yesterday to meet at TOMO, texted me earlier, at midday, to ask me to bring her favorite soup, cancelling indirectly our encounter there, because she was not feeling well and only slept for an hour or so the night before. 

We haven’t had Sushi  together in like 2 months (nor any other type of meal), but I can claim the afternoon’s Sushi in Queens NY without any discomfort because even though I’m not crazy about Japanese food, Sonia like Sophie and Pichiplayas loves Sushi too and weren’t we fighting like it's the norm between the two of us, I’m sure no desires for that dish would have arisen from the knowledge my Parisian friend was enjoying her exotic fish dinner the other night.

Oh, I said it! And now it’s too late to go back and fix it. Yes, Sonia who is also a very dear friend of mine (interesting the origins and meaning of her name), and I, we argue a lot. I don’t know if we spend more time not talking to each other than the time we really do talk, but when we do, we share a lot. We share almost everything: life’s troubles, all the pains, betrayals, deceptions, sadness but the little joys of life as well, like when she passed her Latin test at the university, the movies we watch in the big screen, the TV or the PC and even enjoy Claire Lefilliâtre when she came to NY. And here I remember I have almost to steal her from a date she had booked the same night of such a wonderful performance of Claire’s and Le Poème Harmonique.

Why we fight? I can’t name all the instances where we have disagreements, because there are so many. We fight for everything: little and not so little things. Sometimes we have opposing views about stuff. Not to go too far, I’m going to the pharmacy to buy some prescription for her: where do you want to go? For me it doesn’t matter. I could go to any of the two options I have. For her is like I’m indecisive and in reality I really don’t care wich one I go as long as I bring what I’m asked to bring. I could go anywhere. When we go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner she always knows what she wants. I don’t. And I don't feel ashamed at all for that. Most of the time I want to try new things. I know it's harder for her than it is for me because she has to wait until I make my choice but I feel a little constrained if I rush to make a decision. And we can always share if one of us has picked something more appetizing than the other. And the list of issues doesn't stop there: it goes on and on...but, who cares?

But even though our differences sometimes hit a big wall, time makes all the resentments go away and like today, they disappear and we don't hold any grievances, not bad feelings until a new round of arguments will sure come but another day. For now, for this Saturday, we're pausing and enjoying each other's company like we usually do in the best of our times.

So, for once I’m not alone, I’m in Sonia’s place and I’m with her and her mother and remember that she’s a little sick. 
                          Sorry!  I like this curtain! It's like watching reality through color lens...

Sometimes I’m very good at pampering and entertaining people specially if they are good friends, and Sonia is a very special one to me. I can’t tell you everything we talked; it'd fill one hundred pages if you don't get totally bored before quitting, but to sums it up we did speak a lot and about almost everything. It was like decompressing two months of repressed talk in more than a couple of hours.

I know one thing though. I'm sure we are going to continue having misunderstandings with each other but I’m almost sure we’re going to recover from those fights, like they had never happened before because the things that unite us are stronger than those that make us fall apart.    

(this one was not too long, right Pichiplayas?)

mercredi 8 septembre 2010

Wine, a kiss and some crying

New York, September 4, 2010

The sunlight is disappearing finally to give way to the millions of artificial lights flooding the air and everything: coming from buildings, streets, parks to fight the shadows that little by little take control over the city.  They are so bright and there are so many, they look like fireflies in the middle of the dark and it's their turn and they are ready to illuminate the concrete jungle of the NY night. Who remembers there are stars in the sky? In any case nobody needs them! At least not here and certainly not today!
I’m excited because yesterday I suggested to Sophie that instead of “meeting” her at the same time GMT we could instead share our experiences at the same hour but of our own times.

So, it’s 9:01 PM and probably I’m late, but I still can use ‘le quart d’heure Parisien’ as a valid excuse for my tardiness. I’m writing in a blog that has not clear jurisdiction, so I can use what is more convenient for me, right?... Not bad!

I’m interested in walking a little bit for the Lincoln center, The Metropolitan Opera or just go directly to a wine bar that is close by at 80th St., and Amsterdam Ave., in the Upper West Side where a friend of a friend works as a waitress. The whole purpose of proposing to Sophie changing the way of doing things is because I need the perfect alibi to go out and have some drinks. Recently I have changed my drinking patterns and I don’t drink as much as I used to do it but my body the last couple of days is craving for sensations that I know for sure is a cry call for alcohol.

Public transportation is the option then. I know for sure what’s going to be in my veins for a while and that doesn’t mix well with the police in case they caught me driving. And not that I’m a bad driver with a couple of cocktails, glasses of wine or 5 or 6 beers. It’s just because is better not to tempt the devil. Taking the train or a cab not a bus is the most advisable thing. Okay, the cab looks! not so fast.. After boarding one without negotiating the price first “le chauffeur” wants to rip me off.

If people pay the amount of money he is asking without complaining for such a short ride I should become a cab driver.

- I’m sorry Mr Chauffeur, tell me how much I owe you and leave me where ever you can!

And not other option left but the train is what I have to take.

And not time to wandering around and from my train stop I go directly to a Cave? No, to Cava  (if you follow the link you'll know what music they play) where I feel a little shy to take pictures.


No signs of my friend's friend here, I go to the counter because I like counters and I choose a corner because I like corners. Plenty of space in this tiny place. From the menu I ask for a glass of red wine from Spain: Cabernet-Sauvignon tempranillo.

Before finishing the first glass, I’m ordering some French cheese and while I’m there people come and go. Some are very friendly and others not so. The first group was the most interesting. It was a cheerful girl in her thirties, very attractive and two other guys. Looks like this was like the second or third stop in their tour... Without much introductions we soon started talking and laughing. When I was sending an SMS to Sophie she ordered me to stop using the phone and I have to do a little explanation. The cheese arrives and her expression changes. She is very impressed and delighted after I feed her a couple of pieces with my fork... Good things don’t last forever and she has to go...The night is just starting for her.. Oh, those dreadful phone calls!

She leaves but before leaving she kiss my lips. A soft kiss with such tenderness that I’m sure is going to hunt me the remaining of the night.
One or two more glasses of wine and I decide to go home. My sisters are having a barbecue next day which means I don’t have to satisfy all my cravings in one night.

On my way back to the train at one corner and protected by a telephone cabin I heard the cryings of a woman. It seems as if she were talking with someone by phone: her phone or the phone of the cabin. For me there’s nothing more troubling and disturbing than hear a woman cry.  I didn’t know what to do. I continued walking but stopped at the entry of the subway... It was impossible to leave. I went back and passed along the cabin where I could see only her legs: she was like encrusted inside there... I realized there was no way for me to be of any help without scaring her more than the tribulations she must have been enduring. And because I had to go back if I wanted to take the train I just realized by passing near the cabin that she was not there anymore: she suddenly disappeared as if she were swallowed by the strange forces playing in the night.

For some people life in NY is hard, real hard and it could be a little bit of everything but by any means not glamorous at all!

mardi 7 septembre 2010

Soho nights were their favourite?

Paris, B. O. Hotel, 1.33 a.m. GMT

What is the point of Soho nights, when you can have Sushi nights in Paris instead?

Yes, it's 2.33 a.m. here, and yes-again: i'm not alone in the Hotel lobby. Axelle is with me and as we were both experiencing an unbearable craving for sushi, sashimi and a nice hot bowl of misò soup, we decided to order some.

I remember the time when i was a teenager and would have died for an occasion to try the highly mystified sushis. Where i grew up, it was impossible to find japanese restaurants and the first time i got the chance to try some, i was 18 years old and terrified by the idea of chewing and swallowing a piece of fish that would not have been first cooked, boiled or fried. Actually, when i first set foot in a Japanese restaurant, i cowardly chose to try teryaki salmon instead; but i had a bite on a red tuna sushi and immediatly fell in love with them. It was too late to order something else, but a few months later, when i had my second Japanese (luxury food, for a student), i asked for sushis and sealed the union.

What i wanted to say, by posting this (absolutely uninteresting) story, was that: how could one be possibly happier than i am now? 25 and full of Japanese-food-related experiences, in good company at my night job, the only living souls in the Hotel, monarchs of a silent kingdom, and because we are in Paris and well equipped with an internet connection, just having to fill a form and click three times to get an almost instant delivery of delicious treats at 2 in the morning...

And for those who are aware of my obsession with the number 28: 12 sushis, 12 makis, two misò soups, two heart-shaped lollipops (28 pieces, if i'm not too bad at maths, mmmh...) for...28€. Creepy! (good-'creepy' though!)

I love Paris sometimes...

Flattr this

dimanche 5 septembre 2010

New Formula, with real Chardonnay inside

Saturday, September 4th 2o1o

Paris, 8:47 PM, local time

'New Formula' is what would be carved on today's brick if The Bridge was a bottle of shampoo, but if The Bridge was a bottle of Shampoo i wonder how it could have become any addictive unless i had started to inject its contents directly into my veins, which would have been extremely unhealthy and dangerous. Furthermore, in that case, what about the effects of a 'New Formula'? Would it be as addictive as the former? I wonder... Anyway! Enough with that nonsense. Neither The Bridge nor any of its bricks are or intend to become cosmetics...
Still, today's brick will follow a 'new formula' for Fernando and i decided to write our posts at 9p.m. local time, so that we could live the experience of a Saturday evening in both cities. I'm writing mine six hours before Fernando and i have the curious sensation that i will still be writing it when he'll start his. We'll see.

I wanted to write a few more posts this week, but have been so busy that they would have been written in a rush and would have looked awfully poor. Even though i'm not very confident about the quality of my posts so far, i would not want to add an inferior contribution knowing that it could have been better.

Tonight, i wanted to be in a place where they play loud music, because i've felt empty all day long. There is nothing to worry about when i mention this emptiness: emptiness has everything to do with my typically French melancholic nature (is it French, or is it just me? i don't know for sure, but i'd rather imagine that i suffer from a glamorous illness usually attributed to french poets!). Emptiness is something i go through quite often and it is a good thing, because when it is not linked to a state of total weakness, it awakens a hunger which almost always leads to great discoveries or astonishing peaks of creativity. Unless you are in the threatening company of a full fridge, you have to find something to make the cravings stop. White wine! It's what i wanted tonight. White wine and loud music. As i am (for once) all alone, i needed to find a place a bit earlier to make sure i would be able to get myself a nice table and seat. I found many seats actually: five high chairs plus the one i occupy, and a second table, all crammed in a corner against the stone wall and the bar. The barmaid just brought me the glass of Chardonnay i ordered when i arrived and it looks great on the wooden table, with my opened Moleskine.

No company tonight, neither real or virtual, except for the hypothetic text messages i might get on my Blackberry (i got rid of the Motorola: touch screen phones are evil!), which means that for the first time i'm going to have all the time i need to write, think and observe and THIS is dangerous because paradoxically, this emptiness i feel, once it's been filled by a few sips of white wine, will probably make me very talkative. In other circumstances, i would not have mentioned the awkward thing i experienced on my way to the bar, but as i have nothing better to do i might as well share it with you. It took me fifty minutes from my place to this little street in the 4th arrondissement (la Rue des Ecouffes) and as i was walking by the Louvre Museum, standing so tall and elegant in the evening air, i suddenly saw the light change.

In Dogville, Lars Von Trier mentions and illustrates these sudden changes of light that make you see the world completely different from one second to the other and i already knew how it felt but for once i had allowed it in as it took me by surprise so strongly without any logical or recognizable reason, at all. Now that i'm sitting here, safely hidden behind my glass of wine and in the noisy and soft cocoon provided by the hi-fi system, i can take the time to think back on that and try to describe the two, let us say three different ways of seizing Paris accordingly to your mood. Seizing, or being seized...

The first of these three ways is not significant because you don't even notice it and it's the whole point: neither good nor bad, certainly not intense in any way, you basically just let your little self and Paris live around that little self of yours without even seeing the correlation between both. Passive. 'Daily'.

The second way is the 'good' way through the magnifying lens. Whether 'good' and 'bad' are correctly used here will only rely on your very own perception of it. To me, 'good' in that context is not 'better than bad'. I just split the second way in two because thus labelled, both effects (both sides of the same medal in fact) will be more easily remembered and it is very important that you remember them if you visit Paris one day, as they are the symptoms you will have to identify at some point if you don't want to be frightened by their sometimes unbearable strenght. Good then. Why good? Good because at these moments you see Paris just as if you were in a happy musical. Everything looks bright, light and easy, deep and magnified. Everything seems possible, self-confidence fills your lungs and head up to the brim and you fill like you could fly to the Moon and come back within the hour happy as a King. Upwards.

The third state, the 'bad' one is identical in strenght and intensity, but goes downwards. You are at the bottom of a deep well and every drop of light pouring down from the sky weights a ton. The light itself is crude and cold, sharp as the edge of a shell and seems to reveal every imperfection around and within you. The buildings you once were looking at in amazement and used to find so reassuring now look threatening, all the doors are shut, all the sidewalks are the edges of immense cliffs and the cars, you thought as exciting as busy ants running all over the place are now a cold stream sucking you down to dive in its tumultuous depths.

Today, as i was walking by the Louvre, i went 'up' and 'down', five or six times in a row, without any reason, for the first time since i've settled in Paris and the cadence seemed to increase as i was trying unsuccessfully to understand what i was going through.

Enough with the lyrical digression and back to where i am now...

Fernando, my dear friend, you are tonight having a drink in a place where i used to work during my first Summer in Paris, and so that you can start choosing something else from the menu, i have to tell you that the malediction hit again: there's no coffee here either. I used to complain about that, the absence of coffee: when you're working in a bar from 6p.m. to 2a.m., you'd fancy a cup of strong coffee. Instead, you have a gin & tonic, because of the promising sight of the word 'tonic', but you eventually end up more tired than anything else. I used to work here as a barmaid and was mostly ordered pints of white beer in which i was expected not to add a slice of lemon, which was really an horrifying sight.

It's funny how human beings seem to need to go back to where they've spent time in the past, even though they did not enjoy it, as if it were so very important to 'go back to the scene of the crime', to witness once more what happens in the location in which they've been so very much strangers to themselves. Not by choice, maybe, but does it matter? Once you've done something, the experience, the taste of it, the things that have been moved in you remain, why then the fact that you did not choose it would make it any less noticeable or any less important?
When you're only just a client though, It's a nice place, where they play very loud music. In Paris (everywhere really), it often means 'bad music', but here, more than 7o% of the playlist is actually pretty good. Jazz now, and Luis Armstrong. Sting and The Police a couple of minutes ago as i was ordering my third glass of Chardonnay...

Funny, 4th Cafe with Fernando and it feels like it is the first time i really think about what it feels like to have the luck to share this with someone living so far from here. I should do it more often: be alone. Not that i don't like the moments i've spent with Axelle: they were, they are fantastic and i hope, and feel and know that there'll be more of them, but tonight, i'm glad to be here alone.
Paris is a strange city. In my imagination, New York city is located somewhere in the future, some place in the present while Paris is lying in the past: every day new, but every day freshly old, so very old that you would be allowed to wonder whether it has been young one day, and the answer is: No, Paris has never been young.

In French, when you are caught deeply lost in your thoughts, your are 'une personne grave', 'grave' (serious) is spelled exactly like the english word for 'tomb': Paris is an old and 'grave' city, rising from its tomb every day just like a vampire would, and enjoys sucking your blood until you die of draught: emotional, artistic, human draught.

In fact, and it's the first time i realize that, Paris is exactly like me tonight, exactly like any of its citizens: it's a leaky jar, dry, empty and dying to be filled...

Flattr this

mercredi 1 septembre 2010

Rite of Passage?

Saturday, August 28th 2010.

It's 7:46 PM (GMT) and I'm in New York. That everybody knows; exactly where, will help us more to understand.

Where are we, it's the proper question I should answer then, because I'm surrounded not by the sound, even though we can make that case too (sound of voices, noises) but rather by a lot of people of all colors and nationalities like the melting pot New York is, and it's not strange that I don't recognize any face amongst (that's British) them, nor there's any hint they know who am I either. 

The question is if they could really do it, the recognition, because nobody looks at you straight into your face (could be perceived as offensive as well). And that's an interesting thing in how people in these environments try to avoid making eye contact with other people, situation that if you are curious enough like me you can use in your favor for just looking at them unscathed. In their effort to not confront you or somebody else they get defenseless against scrutinizing eyes like mine who study each and every one of their movements before they could even realize they have been watched or they could catch the watcher.

Nevertheless, it's not very safe to get too confident; looks like there's some sort of truth in the assertion 'the weight of the gaze' and it's probably why people seem to perceive when they are looked at and you have to be fast and stay one second ahead of them in changing deliberately the object/subject of your study to another subject for they don't discover the trespasser and the invader in you. Because the feeling of being caught is always so embarrassing and don't ask me why, I just know it doesn't feel any good and for me that's more than enough to try not being surprised in the act of doing it.

Probably you have guessed right that I am in one of those collective means of transportation that are so peculiar of the urban life in the big cities. I'm in the Subway or one of the cars of the fourth train to be more specific and my journey started at the stop of 167th St. and River avenue in the Bronx, one stop before the New stadium of the baseball club, The NY Yankees.

I left my car intentionally because how can you speak properly about life in NY or any other city if you don't/never describe what it is or how it feels to commute in the subway. But you don't have to be a hero either and it's better if you take it on a Saturday or a Sunday because to know what a pie tastes like, is enough if you eat just a piece and not necessarily the whole thing.

I'm heading downtown Manhattan (you should always want to go downtown) and if you pay close attention is quite amazing how the demographics inside the car changes from one stop to the next. The colors of the people change too, depending on, if you are in Harlem, Chinatown or close to Wall Street. Education (as always) plays a key role in how people behave, how they are dressed and how friendly their appearance is. You can also make an inverse correlation between the level of education some people exhibit and the street number where they make their regular stop. The lower the street where their stop is, the higher their level of education and the manners they possess. On the contrary, the higher the street number where the stop is, the lower...

Of course there are exceptions to every rule and that's not a bad say, and maybe there are many exceptions applicable to this one, but you get the idea how things are..

A couple of months ago I was visiting the Rubin Museum of Art who specializes in Buddhism and culture of the Himalayas. In one exposition they were comparing the meaning of death in the Buddhist and the Christian traditions and there was a vanitas painting with an written observation about how the ears could have been the work of demons because they are orifices that were left open on purpose in stark contrast with the eyes that we can shut them down at will like when in the presence of an horrible vision. We can't shut the ears when horrifying sounds threatens us and in the train unless we're using a device to counteract the noise around us, we can't help but listening to the conversation that is happening between a couple of young guys in their late teens or early twentieths. And they're talking fashion. Just imagine, there's a taste for everything: pants down showing their underwear and one of them is trying to cover his head with some sort of clothing band on top of another fabric, nylon perhaps, covering already his hair and half of his head.

In midtown Manhattan the scenario changes for the better and in this case is a young lady who gives us a good spectacle of what it takes to live in the city. She enters the doors of our subway car with her bike, a big bag on one of her shoulders and standing close to the doors -there's no empty seat available for her, she tries with her empty hand to hold on and read a book. At the same time she grasps of the bike with the other hand: just add the rocking of the train and you get a pretty good picture of what's going on....

At the 68th St stop in Manhattan it's 3:03 local time (8:03PM GMT) and I haven't spoken yet about the purpose of this trip. The thing is that this blog is about bridges, trying to build one and it's a shame I know nothing about them. I've been experiencing feelings of fraud for not knowing enough about bridges. At least Sophie built one in the front/home page of the blog. But What about me? So I decided I shouldn't allow this to be bothering me anymore. I took a bold decision -not that I'd want to know how it feels to jump off from one, but instead to have some kind of a 'rite of passage' with bridges.

The idea is to do something I have never done in NY. I made up my mind to cross/walk a bridge and the only one possible to do it is just one of the most memorable and historic bridges of New York City: The Brooklyn Bridge. This one connects downtown Brooklyn with downtown Manhattan and I'm going to do it from East to West, in other words, from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
I just passed Fulton St., Wall St., and the last stop in Manhattan that is Bowling Green and here we go to Brooklyn.

Let's go and let's see what this adventure with the Brooklyn Bridge (another BB) brings!