Sunday, May 25, 2014

Life is the Journey

Tomorrow I return to France, avec mon Doux Singe.

This being my 3rd trip to Paris, how could one not feel lucky and blessed to have had the means to return to the City of Lights? But no journey is the same, which is the wonder of travel. This journey will be different – bittersweet, because this will be the 1st time I have visited Paris without my brother. The first Paris of my youth doesn’t even exist as a stamp on my current passport but it holds for me, some of my favorite and most precious memories.

May 10th, 1996
It was springtime in Paris and my hair still had its original color. We were an enthusiastic, loud, southern family full of ourselves, our fortune and our love; my brother, my sister and I. Every day at early morning light, up and attum – we can rest when we get home. It was Tourist Stigmata for us! Thus one fine evening, we found ourselves at the gay tapas bar, full of champagne and ambition parting that friendly place to begin a haphazard wandering thru the streets toward Tour Eiffel. We need no map. “There it is! That way, between the buildings,” we cried.

Slightly inebriated, everything seemed like a good idea that evening in Paris. We spied a Champagne and Caviar shop. Never seen one before, never seen one since! The well lit interior was cool and sparse like the clerks that waited on the very thin and proper patrons. We entered like the Beverly Hillbillies – Wee Doggies! Of course we were ignored. It became apparent that we were not going to leave, one of the staff grudgingly, yet politely asked if they could “help us.” 

I can’t say what kind of champagne we bought, but I remember the caviar. Real Russian Beluga residing in tiny tins. In retrospect, I imagine our hotel room rate per night was similar in dollar amount to those ubiquitous tins of caviar. Chilled champagne and a tin of beluga later, we were given directions to Tour Eiffel, just blocks away.

On the far side of the park, furthest from Tour Eiffel which resides on the edge of the Seine, we found a hillside with a full view of the twinkling lights on the Eiffel. Then, because we could and because we owned the night, the champagne cork was “popped”.

Have you ever drunk champagne from the bottle? Have you ever eaten beluga caviar with your fingers? Or licked the can clean, whilst lolling in the lush grounds of a public park in Paris; lovers and creatures of the night parading around you? Where do you pee, mon petite formage, where do you pee?

Things become really quite hazy from this point, but the feeling of joi de vivre, the love of the family I was with, the place we were all “at” mentally, spiritual and physically together in that particular moment in time, I have always and will always keep in my heart. Mikey, thank you thank you thank you, for memories of Paris twice in your lifetime and I still believe that tree you peed on was never the same.

Mikey with l'homme Singe,
who owed him money. 2nd trip to Paris

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