October 2, 2014 11:30 A.M., Paris, France
I finally went to bed last night around five a.m., and slept until nine or so. I am already forgetting when, exactly, I woke up but it was already daylight a couple hours ago both ways then and now.
Last night I wrote my second text – about getting into town at last and finding my apartment – my little room I have rented for a month. I left you just as I was about to go off to the supermarket, which I knew from previous study on the internet (this marvelous tool we now have) is only three blocks away, over on the big avenue of the opera. The store is called monoprix, and I hope you will forgive me if I mention their name. They are basically a kind of department store with groceries attached, and I suppose I should have been some kind of purist and gone to the little markets to get bread here and fruit there and supplies over around the corner (if there is such a place around the corner) but I wanted to do everything at once and just get it done, have some food in the house to eat for a day or two and some dishwashing soap.
The food at that particular m.prix is all downstairs, in what is actually a deep basement. I wandered around with a cart, picking out this and that. Milk, cheese, bread, plums, tomatoes, grapes, cheap wine, expensive whiskey, a bag of oranges, dish soap, a scrubber, instant coffee (yeah, instant, so sue me). What I did forget to buy was a toothbrush and now I must get that today. Two days now without brushing my teeth yuck.
I got to the store right before they closed and was lucky for that. Unfortunately, I was too late to visit the tourism office next door, where I had my museum passes on hold (I bought them on the internet several weeks ago), but not to worry I would go back yesterday morning.
It is quite excellent living right here in the center of town and even better being so close to the big museum.
Anyway, night before last, my first night in Paris, I went home with my two big bags of supplies and after manipulating the front door code successfully, was very grateful to take the tiny elevator up five floors to my room.
My landlord called and asked if he might drop by around ten. His mother had checked me in that afternoon, you may remember. Of course I said yes. It was good to see him and put a face to where I sent all the money for this lovely little studio. Good looking guy. Speaks excellent English, better than my French, maybe even better than my Spanish. The only time he stumbled was on the word “fan” for ventilator. Which meant we got to talk about ladies, a hundred, two hundred years ago, with their fans in their hand, flirting at the opera….
I am so sorry to talk about your leaving, already, he said, smiling, but when is your flight that day? It is in the morning. Oh, well, I will come by around six o’clock that morning and check you out, he said. That means he will give me back my deposit.
And then he was gone.
I had taken a nap that afternoon, before waking to go to the store. But now, after a couple hours looking at my airplane video and drinking whiskey, I lay down and slept long and hard.
Woke before dawn yesterday. Sat around looking at my videos from the airplane, again. Took a shower. Got dressed. Had coffee and bread and fruit. Felt very grateful I had gone to the store the evening before. Almost like I was at home. Well, I am.
Yesterday was my first full day in Paris. I knew the tourist office opens at nine, so around then I went out and headed over that way, stopping only at the corner up my street to make a video in front of the Moliere fountain. Later on, after seeing the vlog on VH, Morfeene would tell me he recognized the spot. Such a globe-trotter he is.
- B. Continued. 7:30 pm.
The tourist office was most pleasant, but then, I do speak a little French and the young lady who helped me seemed to speak very good English so we had a wonderful time. I showed her a copy of my email receipt from when I ordered – and paid credit-card for – my museum passes, which are good for regular admission to 60 different museums and monuments (but, alas, not for special temporary exhibitions like the Maya opening next week at the Branly). She nodded and quite politely asked me for my passport as identification, and then gave me my set of three passes I had ordered, each one good for six days. They had been sitting right there in the will-call box, waiting for me to arrive.
Then I walked down the street toward the Louvre and Tuileries. I no sooner entered the gardens when I was beset by lovely young women asking me if I speak English and would I please sign their petition. Having heard about this scam I said in French no I don’t speak English. Several of them continued to come up to me as I walked east toward the arch. One of them actually got into some video I was filming and after that they left me alone. Either I crossed some kind of boundary line, getting too close to the museum entrance, or they spread the word that I was filming and they did not want to be photographed – I believe the latter is true because one actually commanded me NO PHOTOGRAPH – the first time any of them broke their sweet whining attitude and showed the bitter iron that hides underneath their velvet young beauty.
In the museum itself I spent a couple hours looking at Italian and French painting, before heading over to the Mesopotamian section.
Still suffering from jetlag, I left around two o’clock and came back to my little room, where I ate some cheese and bread and worked a bit on my videos and writing, then settled down to a long, long nap – from four p.m. until ten p.m.
When I woke up I was utterly unable to go back to sleep, so I got up, washed my face, had a bit more to eat and drink (some of my delicious whiskey I bought the night before at the supermarket), and settled down to a long night’s work at the computer, first trying to write about my arrival the day before (text 002), and then reviewing all the video I had shot on the plane and in the museum, uploading some of it straight to yutub, but also editing together a little film about the Mona Lisa room – that room is a strange phenomenon of world fame which is both disturbing and exciting.
I have decided to upload all video to yutub and/or vimeo, in case I lose the camera or the computer; that way I will still have everything I shot, maybe, floating in the cloud, as it were. This, however, is a very time consuming process since most video I shoot is in high definition and takes quite a while to upload. Almost fifteen or twenty minutes computer time for every minute of video.
So while the video uploads in the background, I write, or study other shots, or, in the case of the Mona Lisa, spend several hours editing together a collection of shots into a short film, which, alas, yutub told me it wanted to take 300 minutes to upload.
Eventually, in the cold light of morning today, after I finally slept a few hours, I would dumb the film down to less high definition. So when I finally uploaded version two, it only took forty or fifty minutes to get it all up onto yutub. That’s the version I have embedded into this site for you to see, should you care to view it.
At last, around noon o’clock today, I headed out to visit the Louvre again. My second full day in Paris had begun well enough. I could only hope that tonight I might sleep at night, in the regular time, instead of staying up until five a.m.
No. Or rather, yes.
I don’t mind working at night, in fact I enjoy it. But three or four or five o’clock is just ridiculous. Rid-iculous.