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We'll Always Have Holiday in Paris....A Continuing Journal

We'll Always Have Holiday in Paris....A Continuing Journal

Old Dec 21st, 2004, 01:03 PM
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We'll Always Have Holiday in Paris....A Continuing Journal

Ileft New York on the 19th to spend the holiday in an home exchange which is in the 19th eme.

Refreshingly, my flight was uneventful (which makes flying a lot more fun), However, as I was checking in there was a young collegiate type who was arguing with that he should be permitted to carry on a baseball bat. It was, I assume, an awesome piece of oak, brand new with large fresh Louisville Slugger stamped on it. However, it could be a weapon...remember 9 11 was succesful since they used box cutters.


I left before not knowing what the outcome was. Later, I saw him at a Panini bar with the baseball bat in a long white box, which could have been easilly opened and used. And me who is searched everytime I go through security!

Air France runs an efficient airline, the stewardess (I know,I know) are efficient with a no nonsense attitude. One was chastising a young man who had his feet on the bulkhead. Chastising is too mild, she was yelling at him as my mother and all mothers have done. He did so smartly with head hung low.

The video films worked, but there were not schedules posted as to when the films started, most of which were French with Engllish sub titles and one with French titles, it was "The Princess Diary 2" which I happily missed.

I got to my home exchange easily albeit some trouble with the address. The building looks like a workers project homes, but the apartment itself is, indeed, charming. I will get to the couple shortly but the apartment attracted me by the fact that every space was covered with books, mostly theatrical books (of course all in French) I diid not think so few could read so much in such a short time, since they are in late 30's.

The front room was pepppered with huge plants giving it a rain forest look and fittingly,a display of Arican sculpture and there were roughly a hundred photographs of their young child who, by the way, is really adorable.

Olivia is rather slight, speaks English fluently (her mother is English) and is very efficient but looks tired, the reason I found out quickly is thatthey have a one year old daughter named Lou and the reason for all the photos. Their bedroom is Lou's as well and she sleeps there which makes for difficultlities. They plan to work it out by letting her sleep in a separate room in my apartment.(They have only one bedroom a reason why my daughter could not join me)

I am happy to lend my space to help them. I had the same trouble with my daughter and....

Her husband is Jean Pierre, completly bald, very wired, and speaks little English and is delightful .Both Olivia and Jean work as actors but we did not get a chance to talk shop, just discussions about when the trash is taken out, etc.

We were visited by Olivia's mother and stepfather, french who, also, spoke no English. He was also bald and had a white mustache and we could be brothers. We three bald men were trying to make contact with each other and it ended up looking like a Bobbing Baldie Dolls doing mime.

Pierre also likes knives, he had two drawers filled with every type of knife a chef would relish , one could filet a shark with what his arsenal of blades,

The 19th is supposed to be dangerous and I believe that is why he has a starter's pistol next to the bed.

Paul has also put together model ships which he has pasted on the walls of the toilet which is in a small closet.

One huge clipper with three sails was sitting on the back of the toilet as if floating on a porcelain sea. First time I used the facilities, I knocked it over and broke one sail. I will tell him right before I leave, no need to worry him. He knows how to use those knives and I hid his starter pistol.

More next time.


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FAMOUSUNCLEART is offline  
Old Dec 21st, 2004, 07:03 PM
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Hi Unc,

Let's hear more.

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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 01:28 AM
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Art, this sounds fantastic already! I am dying to hear about the neighborhood. I was wondering where you would be going next. Plese post more soon and add some pictures!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:08 AM
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I will try to add some pictures, i have a new digital and am working how to include it in this new pc, and there will more about this eme as soon as I finish my lunchof cantal jeune, brie de meaux, grapes and a bagette, and a glass of water, yes, I said water but you know never to trust me.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:17 AM
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Famousuncleart:

You make me laugh out loud at the computer. I enjoy your style of writing and look forward to hearing more.

Sandy
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:52 AM
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I am off for much lunch break here in Dublin but yours sounds much more appetising! God I would kill for some strong cammenbert right now. I will have to pop into the cheeseshop at lunch for a pick me up. Have an adventureous day Art.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 07:09 AM
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What a great read! Please write more!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 02:00 PM
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I awoke this moring to a fierce clatter and I ran to the window to see what is the matter and I didn't see Sanata but Dorothy and her daughter setting up a produce stand at my doorstep, At seven in the morning, the street was bustling with different merchants were working to prepare for the Weds crowd. Say what you will about the 19th eme being off the beaten track, but where can you rely on ten or twelve stands springing up along your block every Weds regardless of weather.

It was bitter cold when I went out with my winter sillks, a flannel shirt, a white turtleneck (my daughter's going away gift) and my down jacket which makes me look an aging Micheline Man,
The merchants were dressed very sparse but they could not be encumbered with heavy jacketsm gloves and the like,

They were greeting early steady customers as if they were long lost friends. I bought Cantal Jeune, Brie de Meaux, grapes, bananas and they seem to be delighted with my fractured French.
I asked about the jeune and cheese, and they were laughing since it sounded like I was asking for the hand of Dorothy's daughter.

It was after all, very early for me and their laughter woke me up. The 19th doesn't have many tourists, at least were I was living, and they aren't as nasty with dealing with people who cant speak the language and ask questions about fruits, vegetables, and cheeses they've never seen.
The farmers at the Greenmarket in NYC aren't as friendly as these dozen basically pleasant push cart people.

After my lunch of the cheeses, bagette and water, I went to Porte de la Villette and it is, for wont of a better word, touristy, Restaurants replet with black boards preaching how good their pizzas and sushi are, ( I saw a pizzeria and sushi shop together!!)

However, the Cite Des Sciences et de Lindustrie is worth seeing and being call a tourist. I can not go into detail but it is one of the largest buildings I seen devoted to science for non scientists. The building itself is impressive, open work, you can see the inside structure much like the Pomidou (sp)with bright blues and white pipes stitched through the building as if sewn by some Greek Gorgon. And outside, as if to fit the simile, there is the Geodem a huge silver globe which houses films projected on the hemispherical screen,


It lives up to its name, it is indeed a city of science and would take days to get though, In spite of the drizzling rain laced with snow which looks like cotton balls drifting down which delighted the tens of hundreds of children and parents. It is not just for kids! I hit the Images section which one could make her talk, I leave it up to yor fecund imagination as to what I said, and, of course, I could not make heads or tails out of Man and his Genes even though it was in English. I got children weary quick and plan to come back after Xmas.

I did walk though the Parc attached to grounds which is dissected by the Canal was fairly empty because of the snow which the children loved, Snowball time in Paris, Lots to do there, the place was built with an attitude that it would not be like other parks, Can you imagine a Garden of Childhood Fears (Truth!). The New York Parents would be in an uproar since they never got over their childhood fears.
So dont knock the big 19!

Thatzzzzzzzz all folks

Your Famous Uncle Art
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Uncle Art:

Lovely! I'm looking forward to more and I admire your adventuresome spirit.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 06:16 AM
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Hi unc,

>It was bitter cold when I went out with my winter sillks, a flannel shirt, a white turtleneck (my daughter's going away gift) and my down jacket ...<

You would have been warmer if you had put on trousers.

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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 07:44 AM
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Ira, Ira, Ira:
I wrestled with my pants,that is to include the stoy behind them not being worn in my journal. You have, my boy, touched on a very sore point for the men in our family. All of my male forebearers were, shall I, or do I, say weak, pushovers, wusses, Mr. Milquetoast, and hundreds of fitting (34 waist, 29 length) remarks.
For Centuries the men in my jean pool were told You do not wear the pants in YOUR family, followed by guffaws. My ancestors would cuff them or give them a belt in return,
( Further back in our Greek History, it was YOU dont wear the chitons in your family, hahahaha)
The painful legend was woven into our family crest featuring a Greek Olympic wrestler wearing,,of course no pants and a women behind him with scissors and a grin which makes Mona Lisa look mute,

I assume you must have read the not so proud history of wimps in my lineage and wanted to share it with fodorites.

I do appreciate your pointing it out, I must say, I got a sense of envy in your last line.

Famous but Detroused Uncle Art
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Ira,
Thanks for a great catch! Your comments are always appreciated.

Arts Daughter (who was NOT invited to Paris)
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Uncle Art you are refreshing! More please.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 01:40 PM
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Hey, Unc and yeadonite,

Lovely comebacks.


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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 02:17 AM
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I think I mentioned that my hosts are both actors and the furniture is eclectic and my first guess was that they bought the different pieces at tag sale or auction. The other night, some eerie happened, the furniture took on a different life. I realized they, working actors, might have salvaged the furniture from different plays,

There is a Barcalounger, a very used one, it looks like Archie Bunker sat in it, but there are no All in the Family plays. Next to it is a coffee table made out of a log with a almond shaped hole in it and all I could think is LION KING. The African Masks help a lot,

Also, two cases as large as telephone booths. They have vertical doors which slide down, inside are compartments for accounts, They look as if they were in a Victorian Office and of course I thought of Christmas Carole. However, Pierre could never play Scrooge,
Regardless of my meandering, I feel at home, as if I were livng in a play setting.

Not when I went to Boulevard Belleview. I looked for the Triplets but, alas, I did not find them.
What I did find was also eclectic, if that word applies to an international flavor. It is a bustling, chaotic shopping catering to Chinese, Japanese, Iranian, Trinadian, Algerian, Muslim and I lost track but not interest.

It is not a quiet street, the merchants and their customers do not hold a discourse, they shout at one another but without anger or malice. It must have been the way lower east side was at the turn of the century. Like it, some of the streets are littered and crowded sometimes with homeless men and women,

I loved the Chinese merchandise stores, there was everything you needed to make a complete Chinese meal. I browsed and did not buy any food except for a pound of sugar which I needed. My hosts do not use sugar. Odd, but most of the people working there knew English far more often than theire French counterparts.

However, the smells turned me off. The was a lingering smell of poultry in the air which confused me since there were not that many poultry shops. I noticed that the chicken looked as if they were sprinkled with paprika to make them look fresh.

There were always groups of men, two or threem of different ethic groupings, standing at corners ot the wide steets. They did not talk to each other or the other small groups of men. I thought that they mght be waiting for someone to meet them. I had an epiphany. They were waiting for work, like a line up at a teamsters union.

I sat in a cafe waiting to see if anyone did try to hire them. I was distracted when two or three Algerians came into the shop, asked coustomers if they had any cigarettes, when they got, they went out on to the street, to, I think, wait for a job.

One of the men who gave them cigarettes sat opposite me. He was well dressed, probably Turksh, dark black hair, and a thick, well trimmed mustache (It made me jealous since mine always looked like an unkemp whisk broom). He too was waiting. Finally, his friend arrived, looking like a mirror twin, black hair, well dressed, etc. They exchanged polite in the air not on the cheek French kisses.

It was a dark and stormy day. What better way to spend it than going to cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. No, it is not a theatre, it is a cemetary, an old one dating to the 17th century. I walked amongst the stars like Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, Maria Callas, Oscar Wilde, and, of course, Jim Morrison except I think he was on tour.

It was like walking through a Disneyland of Death, not a well kept park. The motor age etched its mark on most of the mausoleums (sp?) and the marble, once white, was black and dark grey.
I have not figured out whether the caskets were underground or in the darkened houses.
Most if not all were family plots and still being used to this day. That accounts for the Jim Morrison being buried here when he stays buried,

Some of the families did have the vaults sand blasted and the original cast of the marble was beautiful and, at once, sad when compared to the 'always remembered' dirty looking ones,
The modern grave stones are made of alabaster marble with simple crosses or names empbossed in gold. The original ones didn't give date of birth, death, etc, that came in later.

I was moved by the staturary at the tombs, I did not find them maudlin or in bad taste with one exception, there is a major work called the city of de mortem and the figures looked as if they were in hell, tormented, tortured, etc. This in a cemetary. I think not!

Well, since I made you day...adieu

Art


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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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Art you certainly made my day. Your response to Ira on the pants was priceless. Thanks for a great laugh. (Ira keep up the good work

Art, is this your first time in Paris? What are your plans for Noel? I send you greetings from New York. The weather's been bizarre. First cold, then hot, then windy.
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Hi Art,

I can't find Boulevard Belleview.

Is that the right name?
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 07:52 AM
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Hiya Mclaurie
Thanks for the heads up on the weather, here it hasn't changed at all, the cold that seeps into your boness with a sprinkle of snow, it does sound like New York. Actually, there's not much difference.

No,actually, it's my 4th. Hard to believe, huh?

The first was probably early 1946 when I was a sallow young soldier and in the city of romance as an R and R vacation. And as we said no Rest and no Rehabilation.

Of course, the Fremch loved America, and I mean LOVED us. My recollection of those times solace me in reflection and sorrow.

I came back to Paris about five years ago, and stayed at a hotel on Rue de Rivoli. Again I wanted the light and romance of this great wonderful city just to lighten my dreary life, and I came back a second or third time...they do get mixed up, and I did find my true love in the Aviation Club..the love...poker!

My plans are to go to those restaurants which said in haughty french that did not have a table for a single aged gentleman. I will go up to the window, press my nose against it and look sadly at all the gourmonds. I do a great take of Chaplin's last close up in City Lights, It would break the heart of Rumsfield, and I know somebody will invite me for dinner and they will pick up the check,

Forgive me for a lenghty reply but that is my wont,
Joyeux Noel ( I said it to a butcher and he threw a chicken leg at me)
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Ira
I am sorry! No jokes, I meant Rue de Bellville but somehow got into a block on the name, Have you seen Triplets of Bellville, a funny animated cartoon.

I should explain that I write fast and do not edit them since I think I would get florid and long. Of course people think I am already,
Joyuex Noel
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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> I will go up to the window, press my nose against it and look sadly at all the gourmonds. <

You are a man after my own heart, Unc.

Joyeux noël

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