Sunday, July 18, 2004


Vous avez des tickets? the woman asked.

We were at the Richlieu entrance of the Louvre reserved for people who buy their tickets beforehand.

Trudy reached into her bag.

She has all the papers (always), and this time was no exception. In fact, she had some personal pride invested in the tickets, since she had herself gone and bought them while Ben and I remained at the cafe on the Champs-Elysees watching the people walk by. (She was determined throughout our trip not to be daunted by her newness to French, and this was her first run at it.)

But she couldn't find the tickets. She set her bag down on the ground and looked in a side pocket. She still couldn't find them. She picket the bag up with an apologetic look on her face and started looking again. She was beginning to get flustered.

The woman waved us on.

Allez-y, allez-y, she said, smiling to let us know that it was no big deal.

But Trudy didn't seem to hear her, now being quite absorbed in finding those tickets which she herself had bought. I touched her arm gently.

She said we can go, I said.

We walked thru the turnstiles and got on the escalators that took us down into lobby of the Louvre. As we descended Trudy turned to me.

Now that is really unsatisfying.

She had really wanted to use those tickets.[*]

[*] In the end, she did find them, and we did in fact need them to get the rest of the way into the museum, which explains, I suppose, the discretion that was afforded to the woman at the top of the escalators.

Trip to France - Day 3

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Sitting in the Tuilleries

Here we are, sitting in the shade of the Tuilleries with a cool breeze blowing across the pond, rustling the leaves overhead. It feels good to sit. We've been walking a lot, already.

We woke up after 13 hours of sleep a little before noon and set out on foot, starting out (of course) with breakfast. Mercifully, there was a place near the hotel that served "Petit Dejeuner Americain". We each had one -- ham, an egg over easy, croissants and butter and jelly, and dip-it-in bread.

The Metro took us to the Arc de Triomphe, although not without us mistakenly riding the line much further, to the Grande Arche, a modern echo of the former at the other end of another long boulevard but in the opposite direction from Les Champs-Elysees, which was our ultimate destination.

We climbed the stone spiral stairs to the top of the Arc, much larger close up than it seems from even a few blocks away. We viewed the land -- the Grande Arche in one direction, the Champs-Elysees leading to the green Tuilleries in the other, Sacre-Coeur shining white on the heights of Montmartre, and the dark green of the Bois de Bologne far in the distance.

After that we walked the Champs-Elysees from one end to the other, stopping at a cafe on the sidewalk for lunch along the way where we took our time and watched the rest of the world walk by for a long time after we had finished our meal. (This is one of the immense pleasures of dining in France: it is common to keep your table for a long time after you are done; there is never a sense that you're expected to leave.)

Eventually we came to the gilded gates of the Tuilleries, and the white crushed stone walkways shining dazzlingly (no blindingly) in the sun, and the pond, and the box-trimmed trees making shade where there were plenty of benches to sit.

And that is where we are right now, sitting in the shade of the Tuilleries with a cool breeze blowing and the leaves of the trees rustling.

Tonight we'll climb the Eiffel Tower. But now it is time to continue our walk thru the Tuilleries to the Louvre where we plan to take a whirlwind tour, not pretending to see it all (of course) but just to hit a few goodies. There are a few goodies there, I hear.

Trip to France - Day 3

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Blissful Oblivion

When we got to our room, we collapsed into blissful oblivion.

That's what I wrote, but it isn't quite true. They collapsed. I sat up in bed and dutifully put pencil to paper. (What my mind won't hold, my journal will.)

Actually, as I look over it now that is about all I can claim. I put pencil to paper alright, but the results are entertaining.

On two pages, I managed to pull together a handful of bulleted items. Things we had done during the day condensed down to the barest of details, such as A guard telling us not to sit on the grass. Compelling stuff.

And at the end of that list, the writing started falling apart. It's as if the computer has lost control of the robot arm and the arm slowed and the writing fell into meaningless, undecipherable jibberish.

A couple just-mecldistlkjlkj

We walked from the hotel to Les Inislivelkjlkj

Eventually I gave it up. By the time we all fell into the beds, we had been awake 36 hours or more. I wrote, I can't continue and something about sunlight still coming in thru the window.

I put my pencil down. And then I also collapsed into blissful oblivion.

We didn't wake up for 13 hours.

Trip to France - Day 2

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