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Paris, Sunday morning

A big fight going on by phone at the check-in desk of this little hotel, as I sit stealing the McDonald’s internet in the lobby – a woman lost a deposit for five nights here because she couldn’t make it in on her flight. She is talking about calling the police, but the clerk can’t do anything – she didn’t come, she loses her deposit. These scenes are playing themselves out all over Europe, people stuck everywhere going mad. I cannot believe my good luck with that bus; an article in the paper talked about a couple of French tourists stuck in Budapest, standing for hours for train tickets and bus tickets, trying step by painful step to make their way home.

My daughter, who is supposed to fly in from Toronto Tuesday morning, has instructed all her Facebook friends – all 400 of them – to blow the cloud away from Europe. Let’s see what they can do.

In the meantime, it’s still heavenly here, though rain and cloud predicted for tomorrow and Tuesday. Yesterday’s chores were to walk around looking at Paris, to find a café facing the sunshine, which I did on the rue Monge, and had two beers, reading and circling interesting things in “Pariscope.” More walking, dinner in the little Indian restaurant next door, bed. After my 3 hour bus-bumpy sleep the night before, I slept wonderfully in that tiny room. This morning’s chore was to find a café facing the sunshine – the opposite direction – which I did, right on the Place Mouffetard, read the paper while eating a croissant and drinking un grand creme.
There is no pleasure like that. I think you could fly to Paris (well, no, get the bus or train now, at least within Europe) just for that – to sit on a Sunday morning in the sun, while the medieval church across the square rings its bells, an ancient fountain cascades nearby, the trees explode with colour, the little market is full of patrons buying – yes, remember from last year? special gariguette strawberries and thick white asparagus – and all around are single people, couples, friends, families, sitting in the sun drinking their coffee and reading their Sunday newspapers.
Last year, I kept saying, “I’m here!” It was hard to believe. This year, I know I’m here, I know my way around and feel much more at home. Now I have to figure out why I’m here. But I learned something this very morning, about simply sitting at a table in the sunshine, relishing the coffee, the sounds of splashing water and French conversation, the smell of gasoline and spring, the taste of a feathery croissant, being here, being alive and taking it all in. Maybe that’s all I need to know.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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