Paris Diaries - Day 5
Rain, St. Germain, and friends again.
It’s day 5 and the unseasonal rain is bringing us down. Not willing to let another day go by with us trapped in our surrounding neighborhood we decided to venture to St. Germain and hit up the Musee D’Orsay. If we were going to be trapped indoors we should at least be surrounded with fine works of art, right? Right.
We did our best to compile a rainy-day ensemble which basically meant wear the same jeans we’ve been wearing for four days, pile on sweaters, and kiss our spring dresses au-revoir, for they are never to see the light of day outside the closet in which they hang.
Out the door we went. We set our destination to the Café du Marché as it was pretty central within St. Germain and what we wanted to see. We got the usual Café Aulaits and peered as sopping American tourists walked by in their garish red ponchos and New Balance sneakers. Good grief. We were starting to have level 5 crankiness and it was all due to this unrelenting rain!
Me. In the Rain. The Usual.
I’m sure you’re thinking “Oh what’s the big deal?” And if you are then you are probably a boy, or were blessed with good straight hair. Am I right? My friend and I have been cursed with high-maintenance curls. The hair equivalent of the Wicked Witch of the West or a Chia Pet. Add water and all Hell breaks loose. So as the baguette pounds pile we basically only have our hair and faces to work with as far as our self-esteem is concerned, so, our hair matters, hence the disappointment in having to deal with this bullshit weather. Plus this is not how we fantasized Paris to be for the last 6 months, and we’re just trying to adjust accordingly.
Apparently, Monday the 20th is a Holiday in Paris and pretty much everything was closed. Musse D’Orsay? Closed. Karl Lagerfeld’s bookstore the we tried to find? Closed. Ferme Ferme Ferme! This day was just looking real grim from the get. We decided to drag our depressed asses to the Eiffel Tower, so we walked for while in the freezing cold rain, and wind and there it was. I took a sweet picture of it at this point.
By the time we got up close we met this glorious structure with a resounding mutual “meh.” The grounds were filled with Asian tourists and we could barely see the top due to the mist and rain. We kicked a few rocks around like sullen school girls and decided we’d revisit the Tower, maybe, on a day when we could really appreciate it.
We walked around some more in silence, minus the chattering of our teeth, my fucking bone marrow was cold. We passed by this church which was pretty gorgeous. Apparently St. Germain is old money. Kind of like the Upper West Side in NY.
LOTS of money as you can see here
This day called for some retail therapy. Some people that my friend worked with recommended a famous department store called Bon Marché, so we checked if IT was open (it was) and headed there tout suite! My friend was starving to death so first we needed to fuel up before the “Hanger Games” started and one of us lost our lives. We ended up at some joint and seeing as we had dinner plans that included Risotto we settled on the Ceasar Salad. On the menu it said: lettuce, chicken, parmesan, croutons. What arrived at our table was: Frisee, curry chicken, tomatoes, shaved carrot, 8lbs of shaved parmesan and vinaigrette dressing. NOTE: Paris doesn’t know shit about salads. Don’t order them. Our “salad” also cost us each about $20. Cool.
We got out of there and went across the street to Bon Marché. First of all whoever recommended this to my friend must’ve been a fucking Arab Prince from Dubai. I’d never seen price tags with that many digits on them before. A black jersey dress for $1295 EUROS? We decided we’d have to treat this place like a Fashion Musuem, beautiful things that you weren’t allowed to touch, for we were the equivalent of Eliza Doolittle in this place, before the rain in spain…We continued to walk around like the peasants that we were and found ourselves in the lingerie section. Finally! Something we could afford…SOCKS! We picked out a few pair of stockings and made our triumphant purchase! Unwilling to head out into the cold we wandered around for a bit longer and then headed home to change and get prettified for our dinner party at our new friends’ apartment.
The minute we got in we plopped like hippos onto the floor and couch respectively. We were exhausted. Paris is a lot harder than New York, we’ve decided. See, New York runs like a well-oiled machine. People follow a sense of order when maneuvering through the city, you walk on the right, pass on the left and give people their personal space. Not in Paris, oh no. People will b-line to you in your personal space so hard that it’s almost like a game of chicken. Not wanting to bump chests with strangers I’m the one that moves most of the time but, sweet jesus. it’s nuts. And umbrella etiquette? There is none. Period. We took a power nap, got ready and headed out to buy a bottle of wine on the way to the party.
As we walked up to the Carrafour, a supermarket chain in Paris, they kindly shut the door in our face since we got there 30 seconds past 7:30 and clearly that’s when most things close here. Being that it was a holiday nothing else around us was open, really. WHAT THE FUCK DO WE DO NOW? Showing up empty handed was not an option for either of us since we’re not animals raised by inbred goat-people, so we had to improvise. First we tried to buy a bottle of wine from a bar—that’s illegal apparently who knew? Next we walked to a turkish deli in the hopes there were some baklava we could arrive with. Nope! Sold out! Baklava is so gross, sold out? Really? OK. Moving on…we found a pizza joint that was open, and in the rotating fridge we spotted an apple tart with all the pieces remaining. SUCCESS!!! We bought the hole thing and showed up with a pizza box full of day-old (probably) cold apple tart. It was literally the least we could do.
Elisabetta’s apartment is awesome and you can see the Sacre Coeur perched on high from her living room window. The motley crew of guests started to arrive.
The view throughout the night.
First was Lou - a lovely petite blonde makeup/hair stylists for the Paris Opera. Her English wasn’t that great and our French kind of sucks but we managed to get by on Spanish and translation.
Then came Claire - a truly delightful spitfire of a woman with bright red hair that was dull in comparison to her giant personality. An actress who speaks and teaches (used to) 5 languages and impersonates famous French singers clumsily falling down the stairs on her spare time.
Claire + Lisette
Joakim - A tall dark stranger walked in full of life and personality. Joakim Latzko is a famous actor here in France and currently in the French equivalent of “Grey’s Anatomy” called “Plu Belle la Vie” where he plays a gay doctor. His wedding to a man on the show is a first for Paris, go Joakim! He was our translator for the night and thinks Julia Ormond’s French on Mad Men is fucking atrocious.
Me + Joakim
Elisabetta + Joakim
Then came Domenique - A bearded, hairy, slim Italian who gets mistaken for Russell Brand. He had no idea who that was until he traveled around in Europe. I don’t think they look alike. Quiet, interesting and polite. We chatted about tattoos.
Aldo and Victor arrived and the gang was all there.
Aldo + Victor
We ate delicious guacamole, mushroom risotto, chocolate mousse, and oodles of wine. We all talked a ton, got loud, and we told them about our stay at Goutte D’or. Outraged. Claire would like a word with our hostess, in fact. God, I love her so. As Elisabetta was bringing out the pizza boxed tart we brought she accidentally dropped it in the dishwasher. Joakim heroically picked out the edible pieces and we had Apple Tart Crumble a la Goutte D’or. So Gauche!
We ended the night with Victor, Lisette and I having Ti Panche (like a mojito without the mint and though made of rum tastes just like tequila) at the bar we had originally met at. They dropped me off at the apartment while they went to continue their evening….My only request to her was not to come back a virgin.
Not remembering if I had fully shut the door to the building of the apartment complex I decided to sleep with a butcher knife next to my bed :) (Not unusual, at home in NY i sleep with a hammer on the windowsill)
All in all though the day started out grim it really couldn’t have ended better. And we have our new Parisian friends to thank for that.
Paris Diaries - Day 4
Rain, Rain, go AWAY.
After last night’s drunken debauchery our day started way late. This dark cave-like interior isn’t doing anyone any favors either. Once we finally arose like vampires from our gluttonous slumber we had a slow go. I wrote Day 3’s post for about, what seemed like 12 hours, while Lisette finally gave in and washed her hair and did that whole routine.
We picked out a few places we should go and decided on a place that was a ways away, but then our torrential cigarette break altered those plans pretty quickly. Looked like we were staying local yet again. We texted our new friend, Elisabetta, to give us some suggestions as my friend was dead set on having some beef bourguignon. Sadly the place she suggested was closed on Sundays, turns out A LOT of places in Paris are closed on Sundays for some reason. We chose a place recommended by one of the Paris blogs we follow, Paris by Mouth, called Au Clocher de Montmartre, I called and made a reservation. We got ready by layering everything we had to fend off the rain (not much as I’ve mentioned in my previous posts) and headed out for a charming walk in a torrential downpour. Thanks, Paris, you’re not making this easy but we still like you.
On our way there we were confronted with this charming obstacle:
No big deal.
And it had a sign made just for me:
We arrived to an absolutely empty restaurant. Literally not a soul in the place besides the waiter and probably a chef. The interior was really cute but there was one grating element of the atmosphere that we both noticed immediately: Fucking country music. Why? Why would anyone play that in a French restaurant in France? Or ever? It was so out of place it was jarring. But the weather had trapped us so we were here to stay, and since neither of us had the guts to ask them to change it to Serge Gainsbourg as we would’ve liked, we figured we’d just grin and bear it. We ordered from the Pre Fixe menu. I ordered a Cesar salad, The Fillet of Beef—Medium Well, and a chocolate something or other.
The cesar salad had a barely cooked egg in it—weird. The steak arrived and it was bleeding like a cut artery all over my plate, which was peculiar not only because I had asked for medium well but also because it was tougher than a motherfucker. I mean this thing was like the sole of a shoe, the table shook when I tried to cut it. Isn’t Paris known for it’s Steak Frites? I was starving from not eating anything all day so I asked for ketchup—sacrilege, I know—and just got through it. I’m not even sure what part of the cow it was from, I’m guessing the calf muscle.
Elisabetta texted us and we told her to come rescue us, so she did. She met us and then the whole day turned around. She took us on a tour of the outside of the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur and the surrounding little neighborhoods. Even in the rain this place is divine and idyllic. My heart swelled with how gorgeous it was, even better than I had pictured it. As we walked around she pointed out all the tourist traps and where we should and shouldn’t go. Truly the greatest tour guide. Then she took us to the localsie part of Montmartre to have a drink, as we were walking by I spotted Les Deux Moulins where Amelie was filmed, and like a nerd insisted we drink there. We had our drinks and enjoyed the evening with great company.
Here are some photos of our walk:
Le Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
A street in Montmartre
Le Moulin de la Galette - One of 3 windmills in Montmartre.
The only remaining tiny little vineyard. (Did you know you could have wine from Montmartre?)
Real talk graffiti
A pretty pink building.
It was a rather uneventful night as far as my posts have been, but none-the-less, it was a real joy to get an inside look of this gorgeous little part of Paris with great company.
Now I’m off to bed to get some sleep so we can wake up at a normal hour and hit St. Germaine tomorrow.
Paris Diaries - Day 3
“A beautiful chameleon”
Day 3 started out late and lazy. My friend woke up obsessed with finding a market, getting some fresh food and making us breakfast, the options in restaurant in Paris are all kind of the same and we wanted a healthier home made option, plus it would be cheaper. I was all for this idea so she set off on her solo mission. If she did not return within an hour’s time I was to set the search party in motion. Got it! I checked Facebook, like a crack addict and there it was. Somehow I had not unfriended on of my ex’s musical pages and in my face was a link to his kickstarter. OF COURSE! Of course you need to beg for money to make a record. I hate kickstarter in general, I think it’s the equivalent of a bum with his hand out on the steps of the subway only we’ve decided it’s more civilized and viable because it’s on the internet and it’s shiny. I want to start a kickstarter to end kickstarter. I think it’s the lamest thing ever and here he was on the steps of my Facebook with his greedy little hand out. Gross. It was an album “About us for us” (The greater US not me and him US, obviously.)
When she arrived she cooked a lovely breakfast fully equipped with mimosas, egg scramble, sauteed spinach, and, of course, baguette. No coffee though, apparently you can’t get coffee to go in Paris. Bricks of bread? Yes. Coffee? No way. It’s so unusual to see the New Yorker’s usual coffee cup in hand replaced with a large stick of bread instead. And they’re skinny, these people are thin and I’m just convinced that their genetic makeup turns white bread flour and dough into negative calories that eat away at the butter/cheese/fat they may also be consuming. THAT HAS TO BE IT RIGHT? For fuck’s sake it’s so annoying. My whole life I’ve been told bread is the devil and here we are and the devil is no where in sight according to their 24 inch waists and sharp protruding hip bones. And, btw, there is not a slice of multigrain in sight. Multigrain? HA! All the bread is white, unlike the people in our neighborhood. I digress…
Anyway, she was so excited to find a market and area near us that was gorgeous and the opposite of our little neighborhood. “Always turn left out of this place and just keep making lefts and then it’s fine,” she said. “It’s a whole other world.” Cool. I decided to tell her about the kickstarter I found and she said we should watch it. OK, why not? HOLY FUCKING A. I won’t even really remark, I’ll just leave it right here and you make your own opinions, and shit if it moves you to give him money than that’s fine too.
KICKSTARTER LINK <—- click it.
After that comedic interlude we ate. Scoped our options for the evening via internet and planned to go to a really cool party in Pigalle this evening. But here’s the rub: It’s freezing in Paris right now, cold and rainy and we packed like we’d be traipsing through tulips in 70 degrees—all dresses and cute shoes. We would’ve been better off with a parka and galoshes. If we had any hope of wearing our dresses we’d need some goddamn stockings at least, so that was our new mission. We’d heard about the “Target equivalent of Paris” called Monoprix so I looked up the nearest one to our neighborhood. There was one close by-ish but it meant we’d have to make rights. We decided to brave it and off we went on a quick errand with minimal effort to look attractive, which is probably for the best if you’re making rights, know what I mean?
We exited. We made a right…”Look straight ahead, keep focused, and hold on to your pointy umbrella tight and none of these dudes will fuck with you”, I said to myself (they didn’t but I have a heightened paranoia about such possibilities and like to take the utmost of precautions). Not a block away we came across a make-shift hobo mattress shanty town with actual hobos laying around, situated only slightly south of a “park” with a public toilet in the center with urine streaming from it which we had to navigate past. What the fuck was this place and how dare our hostess not warn us that just a few feet from her apartment was the goddamn Gaza strip? The rage toward her negligence fueled the rest of our walk through Hell just to get a pair of overpriced stockings.
We arrived at Monoprix and it was gross. Target? What an insult to the beloved institution of Tarjay. This place was an eye sore that smelled of rotting fruit and piss. A baby’s onesie that would’ve cost $6 in the states cost $20 here. What? We got some bath wash and lotion, since our hostess has neither like the animal that she is, some stockings and got the hell up out of there. Back to Gaza. It’s like when we booked our trip we got to visit two countries instead of one. Beautiful picturesque Paris and a slum in Morocco. Génial!
Here are some photos of our walk back. It doesn’t do the slum dog hobo-square and the shanty town isn’t featured, mainly because I was scared to death to snap a photo of that sitch:
My photographic skills are so awesome that they make this place look rather delightful, I assure you if you could smell and look around they show you the real horror. Anyway, you kinda get it.
Whatever, the ordeal required me to drink a coffee which I still had not had. By now it was 7pm (still light out—it gets dark here around 930) and raining, so we headed to the Narnia my friend had found earlier for a little afternoon coffee fix. We found a nice spot, sat down, and looked across the street at the bar in front. And there they were, four new husbands for my friend. I can now tell her type a mile away—bearded, dark, salt & peppery, strong noses, thick hair or bald. And these attributes were present in all of them. We stared across at the cool bar wondering why we always made the wrong choice. Whatever, perhaps it was that kind of day. Another twig with her baguette and motorcycle helmet walked in. And I made it a point to sneakily snap a photo to show you people that I’m not kidding. Here, proof!
We decided to go home get ready and come back out, the rain had thwarted our original plan of dressing up like fabulous ladies and going to a party, we had a baser plan: Get drunk and have Parisians talk to us, more specifically we wanted to use the first phrase we ever learned “J’m’appelle Ivonne + J’m’appelle Lisette” which up until now had been unnecessary since no one had asked or cared. Well, tonight was gonna change that. We got ourselves together, threw on some bright lipstick and headed out to get our drink on. We settled at the cafe´ Le Soleil de la Butte which we’d been to day one and sits at the bottom of the stairs toward Sacre Couer. There seemed to be a lively scene outside and open tables. Done. We ordered some vodso’s—fuck wine tonight—and got comfy. Two older men sat next to us and started talking in phlegmy language which my friend later confirmed was Arabic. Didn’t bother me much except that they were blocking the view from the table of hipper Parisians we had hoped would haze us in to their gang. Fine.
Suddenly the bald heavier man offered my friend a Marlboro and this sparked a rather interesting conversation/experience that I will dilute for you into highlights:
- His name is Haitham Rashid Wihaib. First he introduced himself as “A very well known author” Oh yeah? Never heard of ya, bud. Must be International Narcissist Day between this guy and this morning’s kickstarter I’d had enough of self aggrandizing dudes. But we carried on the conversation.
- He made us Google him, repeatedly. And it turns out he was Suddam Hussein’s minister of protocol from 1980 - 1993 and has had several assassination attempts on his life. A fascinating life, really. You can google click his name above to find out more.
- After finding out that my friend and I were in advertising he kept pushing his amazon book on us and wanted us to help him find a publisher in America. But why if you’re so popular and your film is in Cannes for the 5th time and it’s so amazing and you’ve told us how fucking amazing it is 37 times by now. Why would you need us?
- I gave him my card to shut him up, and he said I was “A sweet angel on the outside but inside you’re a revolution.” Suddenly he was my new favorite person. For about 10 minutes and then he kept selling his book to us even though we tried to talk about other things to no avail.
- I finally had to break it down for him cuz he was starting to ruin my buzz, I very kindly but pointedly said “Listen, Haitham, I get it. I like you, I like your story, and I believe in your book, I will do what I can with the contacts I have when I get back to New York, Ok? Just stop selling me on your book already it’s enough.” Too much? I didn’t think so, I mean I was a sweet angel revolutionary. This was the kind of shit you’d expect from me. And then he said it. The phrase that has haunted me and indicted my personality since I was old enough for it to hit home. He said “Haha, you are very ambitious woman, this is why you’re always alone.”
(Let it sit)
(Read it again)
(You with me? Here we go…)
THIS IS WHY YOU’RE ALWAYS ALONE?! OHHHHHHH REALLLLY??!?!???? First of all, how do you know I’m alone, you didn’t ask me! He continued on the subject a bit and from what I could make out through the hot burning rage in my ears at the moment I heard “Men don’t like women who are so independent and opinionated, they are too much work.” RED. ALL I SEE IS RED DEAR GOD WHAT IS COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH STOP TALKING.
I remained composed and I smiled and swallowed the bile that crept up in my throat and made a joke about his dagger into my achilles tendon and then he said, oh and there is more. OH FUCKING GOODIE! WHAT NOW? He said “you are a beautiful chameleon” Huh? What does that mean? I still don’t know, I adapt? I’m fake? I decided I’d just pay attention to the beautiful part, and bid him adieu. We got our check, said our goodbyes and headed to another bar to MOTHERFUCKING DRINK THE RAGE AWAY! ALONE? ALWAYS ALONE? how daaaaaaare you, sir?
We went to the cool people bar from earlier ordered two shots and discussed what happened and ultimately decided that Arab men are the oppressors of women so of course he’d feel that way about a woman with the balls to tell him he was being a blow-hard, albeit nicely and in a joking tone. We went outside to finish our beers and I slammed my glass down. Fine this seems rude, BUT it got us to the best part of our night. My friend stayed back as I walked off toward the next bar to apologize for my gauche behavior to a couple of people sitting at the table. Turns out they had invited us to hang out with them. I guess they like strong (literally strong I almost broke the glass and the table) women. So we did. They were delightful, Alderick, Victor, Blondine, Luigi and our favorite, Elisabetta.
We had some more beers with them and as they closed the bar Elisabetta invited us to join them at Victor’s apartment to continue the night. OK! Off we went through the streets of Montmartre, this was it, our first Paris apt invite. Alderick, Victor, Elisabetta, my friend and I headed over. It was a bachelor pad for sure, but there was rum and beer and weed, so yay!
Aldo is gay Victor is “not” here are a few things they said that we loved:
Aldo: “For me cocks are for eating and women are for breathing.” (while in the background Victor is playing “What’s love got to do with it” on YouTube.)
Aldo: “It’s not the size of the dick it’s the taste of the dick” (which could pertain to many things in life, I think)
(About Pigalle which is close to our neighborhood)
Aldo: “Fast sex for tourists and arabics”
Victor: “You know, like McDonalds.”
(Between Lisette and Victor)
Victor: “are you german?”
Lisette: “Me, German?”
Victor: “Let me put it this way, 70 years ago I’d be asking you if you knew a good place to hide.”
According to Lisette this is the funniest thing anyone has said to her in 4 years, but I think she laughed harder at ‘fart in a ziploc’ so who knows? Coulda been the weed.
(We played them Niggas in Paris)
Elisabetta: How do you spell Connnye? Who is he?
Me: You don’t know Kanye West?
Aldo: Kind of
Me: Well he’s moving here with Kim Kardashian
(Giant question marks above all their heads)
Aldo: Who is this Kim Kardash…
These hipster Parisians have no clue who Kim Kardashian is and all seems right with the world again. Just like that.
Then they showed us THESE VIDEOS to one up our Niggas in Paris. And boy did they.
HERE ARE THE CRAZIEST THINGS ON THE INTERNET:
You’re welcome America. Someone get Buzzfeed on the phone.
As the night went on the non gay guy played “I want to break free” by Freddie Mercury while the gay guy and I talked about the American judicial system and innate human behavior. It was perfect. They were great. It was now 4am and time to go.
Elisabetta walked us halfway to our place, we said our goodbyes and she said she’d have us over for dinner on Monday. Yay! First Parisian friend!
We stumbled home in a the euphoria of meeting our goals with such fervor. Drunk? Check! People talked to us? Super Check!
Today was a series of ups and downs and we adapted and adjusted accordingly just like a pair of beautiful chameleons.
I passed out. The end.
The Paris Diaries - Day 2
Today was a whole lot of different. We woke our lazy asses up at 12:30pm—I must say this isn’t our fault however, our apartment has electronic shutters covering the windows that let in the light thanks to the charming neighborhood in which its located (these kinds of precautions are necessary, I guess) and so I activated them last night so they wouldn’t disturb me too early seeing as I’m sleeping in the hobbit loft.
Anyhow we got up, ate some crackers, took showers, made a makeshift vanity out of some books and a tchotcke mirror found in my dwarf quarters, put on our hip outfits and decided to head to Haute-Marais, said to be the hippest part of Paris at the moment. We decided to start out at Café Charlot a trendy cafe in the center of the Haute. When we first entered the cafe we were affronted by possibly the most gorgeous blue eyes ever set into the skull of a dark bearded Mediterranean man in a LA Angels cap, once I picked my friend up off the floor we took our seat, outside (always outside, it’s what you do here) The view in Marais was already QUITE different than that at Gare du Nord, I mean blue eyes wasn’t crippled or drooling on his Croque Monsieur so the day was already looking WAY up. We ordered our Cafe au laits, in French, and of course were responded to in English, “Do we look that American, dammit? Is our French that bad?” Whatever, after our coffee we ordered some lunch stuff and then for dessert a giant pitcher of a St. Germaine based cocktail. We sat and watched as the skinny, gorgeous, perfect Parisian women walked by us picking at their baguettes.
Seriously there are 4 must-have accessories for man or woman in Paris—pay attention—they are as follows: 1) A baguette in a paper bag that you pick at like a park pigeon all day. 2) A scarf, everyone here wears a scarf doesn’t matter the outfit, fuck it, own and wear a scarf at all times. The children have scarves. Scarf it up. 3) A motorcycle helmet. I saw a woman get out of a cab holding a motorcycle helmet it’s, just a thing, don’t ask, just do. And finally 4) Unwashed hair. People here must stay home on days nature finally forces them to wash it fearing that they might get taxed or something. By the end of the day I was cursing my clean brushed hair. “Why can’t you just be crinkled and perfectly messy but not frizzy like you’ve been having hot Parisian sex while wearing a braid and then tousled free to careless perfection, you stupid dumb hair!!” No wonder they keep speaking to me in English.
Post lunch we hit some shops and wandered around. I bought the fucking hottest pair of sunglasses you’ll ever see in your lives, I mean they’re just too much. When I put them on I almost convince myself I’m the coolest thing since Lou Dillon, but then I’m thwarted back to reality by a twig eating bread with bed head. I’m sure you’ll see these beauts in a picture later since I’m never taking them off. Ever.
After our tra-la-la shopping we stumbled upon Le Progres and it was hustling and bustling with very hip and attractive people, my friend noticed a table full of dark bearded turkish looking men and decided she’d have to marry all of them. Not ready to eat or drink yet we kept walking, but agreed we’d return so she could work on organizing her nuptials. They weren’t my type but I’m a good friend so I was Ok with that plan. We walked a bit and were totally captivated by a courtyard we spotted within a building. Just so happens that courtyard belonged to the pretty well-known Gallerie Perrotin. We went upstairs and were immersed in an installation of dollar bills hanging from several ceilings in white rooms—lame. But it made for a cool photo here:
and this was the courtyard that did it:
WHAAAAT? SO GREAT RIGHT?
We went upstairs and stumbled into what appeared to be a private gallery party where hors d’oeuvres and champagne were being served and hip Parisian art goers were being Parisian and hip and whatever. It was hot in there. We left. Back to Le Progres.
Still packed. We stood in front of the outdoor tables and smoked a cigarette eye-fucking every person that looked like they might pay the bill within this century. Like hungry vultures on Road Kill Alley we awaited the opening to the cool club. Boom two people got up and as we made our way a Fat old guy in a “Something Big Is Coming” sweatshirt thwarted our plan by sitting his fat ass in the seat. Something big did come and it sat in our spot. But if yesterday taught us anything at all it’s that we will not be defeated, dammit. No way. We managed to mangle some French words and hand motions into something that got the attention of a waiter who pointed to another table with people that were getting up. Finally! We sat.
Here’s the deal people, I know I’m exaggerated and have a penchant for the dramatic but listen to me when I tell you that pound per pound there are more gorgeous people in this bar/this corner than anywhere in the world. It was as if a fashion magazine shook itself and all the models fell out and landed on the corner of Rue de Turenne et Rue du Bretagne. And, I have to say, it was more beautiful men than women. Never happens ever, trust me. Sweet JESUS. My friend’s husbands turned out to be gay, but whatever, I can appreciate Adonis-like features on anyone whether they are willing and able to have sex with my female bits or not. My future husband rolled up in his perfect blazer, hair, scarf, beard and swagger and sat with his back to me a few tables back, but he was unwilling to realize the future love and children we’d have together. So sad. And then his twig blonde girlfriend showed up way later, rubbed his head and headed off to await her perfect man to have perfect sex and therefore perfect hair yet again.
After many beers, cigarettes and eye-candy cavities later we went across the street to have a lite dinner of bread with bread and a side order of bread with some wine and headed back to the abode.
All in all it was a good day, a really really good day. Anyway, I’m off to put dirt in my hair, braid it, and go to bed.
P.S. here’s an awesome picture of graphic graffiti that my stupid Instagram app won’t let me upload without crashing, for your viewing pleasure.
I love this city :)
The Paris Diaries - Day 1
Our flight was smooth sailing. Air France comes fully equipped with TVs and the latest movies to be viewed (for free), the wine is also free, so is the dark gray chicken entree. Don’t eat the chicken. Anyway. I watched Oz the Great and Powerful–MEH, it was ok. Then I opted for Les Miserables and I can’t remember a time before I started watching that movie, a good choice if you have 8 hours to kill. That’s how long it is, right? I digress. We landed smoothly all was well.
We were welcomed with flailing arms by our cabbie who became surly and disgruntled when we told him our apartment’s destination a few “Putains!” and “c’est mal!!” flew out of his mouth and we took this as a rather bad sign. We carried on. We realized that per our Air BnB’s hostess’ request we were to stow our luggage at a nearby cafe at the Cafe Gare du Nord until our approved arrival time of 1pm where her “friends” would keep our luggage and we’d be free to wander the neighborhood and get acquainted until the apartment was ready. We told our cabbie the new destination and he seemed relieved.
A mere $100 later we were at our destination. Our cabbie motioned toward the train station and told us the Cafe would be there. Side note: My friend/travel mate and I have packed our entire wardrobe for this trip, certain that the sartorialists of Paris would await to snap pictures of our Parisian fashions the second we stepped outside, our bags are fucking heavy. Huge and heavy. Anyway we forged toward the questionable train station to find our mirage of a sweet cafe straight from the scenes of Amelie as our fantasies had suggested it would be. FYI Gare du Nord cafe doesn’t exist, though it is present in the directory inside the station, no one has heard of it, and directions to get to it were a series of broken french “directions” that consisted of waving arms in swirly motions and one clerk managed to tell me it was “Up Down” After about 40 minutes of a search with dragged bags we decided to exit the train station and head across the street to a bevy of cafe’s—surely ONE of them was our scheduled destination.
We decided “Cafe Du Nord” facing the train station was it, it had to be. We plopped our collective 3 suitcases, 2 carry-ons, and 1 purse beside us, ordered a cafe au lait, and texted our hostess to verify that we were at the right place. Let me paint the scene for you: Gare du Nord is the equivalent of Penn Station if Penn Station were located in a conglomerate of Roosevelt/Ellis/Staten Islands. As we sat at that cafe awaiting our answer from Natascha, our delightful hostess, that realization became more and more obvious. There were so many mangled, crippled, old and shady people passing by we were sure the set of A&E’s American Horror Story: Asylum II was near by.
Finally she texted—first admonishing us for thinking we could meet her before the allotted time of 1pm, it was 10am, and then telling us that when she said we could stow our suitcases at the cafe, she meant in luggage lockers within the train station. Was she kidding? Did she think we were a pair of meth-addled transient prostitutes on a 2 week whoring tour of the Crown Heights of Paris? A locker? Did she think were traveling with nothing more than a ziploc filled with meth and a dream? “Plus 2 Cafe Au Lait et omelet sil vous plait!” we said to the waiter. This was gonna be a while.
We tried to decipher all the ways we could’ve misjudged this correspondence but it was no use, clearly as the “stupid americains” we were wrong and she was $1550 richer so why should she give a fuck. I was then sent on the mission to scope this “luggage locker” situation out. Unwilling to be defeated, I blew my nose for the 43rd time, put on my jacket and headed back into the Den of Urine known as “Gare du Nord” to survey the situation. I managed to finagle my way through broken French down to the bowels of the station where the lockers were situated. Seriously, this place smells of pure pungent buttery piss, and I’m from New York so… anyway, there was a customs-style line to get into the lockers and by the looks of it only one of our bags had a prayer of making it to one of these. I headed back to my friend to report the news, “NO WAY IN FUCK are our bags fitting into those matchbooks they call lockers”—we waited.
We got comfy seeing as that entire ordeal had only taken but an hour and we still had 2 more to wait. We relaxed, propped our feet up at the outside cafe and scoped the surroundings. A managerie of folks strolled by, all dressed as if they had shopped at the Jnco Graveyard Wholesaler. “Was this really Paris?,” we thought to ourselves. Yup, just not the Paris anyone had ever pinned photos of. Clearly.
The surly waiter walked by and gave my friend a disgusted look for putting her foot on the neighboring chair even though my half eaten egg-only omelette (that i hadn’t ordered by the way) sat on the table for it’s second hour in a row, “perhaps I’d have it for dinner” he thought to himself.
Not being able to withstand the scenery any longer my friend suggested that we schlep our shit back into the Train Station and make our way to the taxis. I dreaded this notion since my bags were just too heavy to bear. She won, and we headed in. Once inside I made her switch her giant bag with my medium bag since I couldn’t understand why she was dragging hers with such ease. “HOLY FUCK WHAT A DELIGHT!” It was like carrying a fart in a ziploc compared to mine. Turns out I have a broken googly wheel on mine and that’s why it was like carrying a water-logged dead body across the sandy desert.
8 mangled, 3 crippled, 24 old people, and 7 murderers later we made our way to the taxi line, and made it to the apartment. FINALLY. Yeah there are mosquitos the size of golf balls in the courtyard, along with a latrine (for hobos?) and the neighborhood is like the corner of Fulton and Nostrand in the late 80’s but who cares, it’s solace at this point. Once inside it’s cute as a button, yet cold and damp like an attic after a hurricane, in December. Our pregnant surly hostess was miffed we arrived 3 minutes early, but she condescended to greet us regardless. Blah blah blah this that rules yadda yadda, turns out we only have one set of keys which she thought was okie dokie since i guess she figured we were a lesbian couple and wouldn’t mind. (Shocked that we weren’t when we clarified the matter, btw) We could spend another $200 for an extra set but our independence isn’t worth the cash, we’ll carry on and figure it out.
Finally she leaves. We’re here! PARIS AT LAST. Like crack addicts we hit the electrical sockets with our adaptors and plugged in our lifelines (iphones). Not two minutes into this smooth sailing the power goes out. In the whole building. Scratch that—the whole block. FINE, WE’LL NAP THEN.
Once awakened and reborn we collected ourselves, cleaned up and headed out. Determined not to let the first day of this seemingly National Lampoon-like vacation to get the best of us and it didn’t. We made it to Montmartre in the late afternoon, drank wine, smoked cigarettes, had some dinner and decided tomorrow will be our welcome into Paris. So bring it Day 2. We’re waiting…
East Coast Learnings and other things.
ABOUT FIRST CLASS
(it was a free upgrade)
I don’t understand it.
The snack table comes out from the middle console for your tiny peanut dish. The eating table is hidden in your arm rest, will get stuck, and make you look like a moron to your frequent-flying disgruntled co-passenger on his 30th flight this month and your annoyed flight attendant.
If you don’t know what to use the warm towel for, wait for other passengers to use it and then apply it to your face-hands?
The food is free—put away your wallet.
Don’t read Cosmopolitan’s sex advice section next to the disgruntled co-passenger that hasn’t had sex since the Reagan administration.
It gets hot as fuck there.
There are quite a few midwestern-bred, tall, good-looking white boys.
It’s where the funny people go to be funny.
Good friends—who are really your friends despite time and distance—will welcome you with open arms and make you feel beyond loved.
The gays love me.
Señoras (spirtualists/psychics/fortune tellers) can turn your world upside down and sideways if they’re the real deal. They can also put things into a perspective that can relieve you of a lot of pain and sadness, filling you with a hope you thought you’d lost.
Strange Cargo rules.
If Lollapalooza gets rained out they put all the festival attendees in parking garages like cattle until the storm passes.
eCigarettes are pretty good.
The weather is as swampy as ever. It makes people annoyed, angry, and rude.
Dade is filled with entitled hispanics who refuse to learn English.
Most girls have weaves.
The cuban food is goddamn delicious and unparalleled anywhere else in this Nation.
People who value you will make an effort to see you when you’re in town. People who don’t won’t. And it’s good to catch up with lovely old friends.
The Corner bar in downtown is new-ish, and serves Magic Hat no.9 beer which is surprisingly delicious.
My mother has the pain threshold of a POW navy seal, is a champ, and the strongest person I’ve ever known.
Doesn’t matter how old you are, and how long ago you left the nest—when you’re back under your parent’s roof you’re under their control and will even get your curfew back.
ABOUT OTHER THINGS
I adore the ever-loving shit out of New York City. This place really does feel like home.
Weight Watchers isn’t so bad.
‘Angels’ by The XX off the new album ‘Coexist’ is still the best song.
Going to Church bugs me. I think it’s hypocritical to spend an entire mass telling us that we have to let God in, in order to be saved and lead a good life, and how much God loves us, and then when it comes time to take communion they tell us (on the monitors—yes, monitors) that if we haven’t been to confession or have impure thoughts we’re not allowed to partake. So you just sit there feeling like a sinning heathen while the rest of the congregation feasts, self-righteously, on the body of Christ. Also, I get headaches trying to keep cynical and/or impure thoughts at bay while at Church. And yet, I still consider myself a spiritual person. Not religious though. Not that.
I must force myself to write more. (The Señora told me so)
It wasn’t all for nothing. My debt is paid.
Forgiveness is the only way to move on.
I never really knew or truly understood what “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind’ was about, until I watched it again, tonight. It is only when you’ve gone through something so beautiful, yet so flawed, something that may have never really existed outside of your mind, something that you want to forget but mourn the thought of its absence, that you can, without question, truly identify.
And the Whole Foods on 57th is the most glorious place on this planet, or at least in my neighborhood.
An ode to Paul Rudd.
I FUCKING LOVE PAUL RUDD.
You don’t understand, truly.
It’s not even a sexual thing even though I would totally have sex with Paul Rudd, multiple times and often. But it’s not like that. It’s deeper than that. It’s a deep deep gladness in my soul when I think about Paul Rudd. When I watch his movies or appearances. When he happens to pop up in some internet something-or-other. And yeah, he always plays himself in movies, for the most part, but that’s because his general sense of self is awesome and great to watch, so why not?
You have to feel it too. Who has ever watched anything that Paul Rudd has done in his career and thought to themselves “Fuck, I hate this guy. What a douche?” NO ONE. And if they did, THAT guy is the douche. A soul-less bag of vinegar to be inserted in a smelly vagina for the purposes of—who knows what? Douches elude me. I digress—point is; Paul Rudd is the personification of joy. If happy had an ambassador, he would be it, with his smile and his wink and his gooey safe feeling. I want to clone Paul Rudd.
I wish there were 1000 Paul Rudds that I may distribute to those most deserving.
“Here you go, mom, I got you a Paul Rudd for your birthday, just to make you smile.”
“Hey McKayla Moran, don’t look so fucking disappointed all the time, here’s a Paul Rudd.”
“Sad lady in the grocery store with the saggy tits and the diminishing will to live, HERE’S A PAUL RUDD, YOU’RE WELCOME!”
Paul Rudd gets me so excited and I want to yell, but like a happy yell, an overly enthusiastic “FUCK YEAH PAUL RUDD” kind of yell. From the very pit of my guts, kind of yell.
I want to adopt a slow loris and I want to name him Paul Rudd. That’s where I’M at.
Just because. Because he’s awesome. Because he doesn’t suck. Because he gives me hope that a man can be kind and funny and easy on the eyes all at once. Because he makes me laugh. Because he exists.
Paul Rudd, I love you. Period.
The Ex Ex Factor and Break Up Songs.
Things I Learned Today
My ex ex sent me a podcast today. It’s about break ups. He sent this in relation to my break up with my most recent ex. It’s been 9 months and i’m doing pretty effing well, I must say. And his intentions are sweet and concerned because he’s a very good friend and I adore him. So, I listened to it.
Two parts hit home.
In the prologue Ira Glass walks around with a girl who had her heart broken only 2 months earlier. 2 months is nothing in the healing process after a particularly gut wrenching break up. You’re still a wreck. She goes on to talk about how walking around the city sucks as every bench and empty parking spot where his car would reside, and every inch of sidewalk reminds her of her ex. “I don’t walk down that street, I just don’t.” I’ve been there. I’m no longer there. I walk freely. And the spots in the city that still stir a pang in my chest have become less and less. Which. Is. Awesome.
Act one - Break up songs
This woman, Starlee, has a break up and becomes obsessed with sad songs. Her voice is annoying, so I’ll spare you having to listen to the entire podcast, but I’ve taken the time to transcribe, what I find to be, the most important human truth.
“They were break up songs, and hearing them was the only thing that made me feel better, and by better, I mean worse. There’s something so satisfying about listening to sad songs, they’re like how you would be actually spending your day, if you were allowed to just break down and sob and grab hold of everyone you met. They make you feel less alone with your crazy thoughts. They don’t judge you, in fact, they understand you. A break up song won’t ever suggest you start online dating, or that you’re better off without him. They tell you that you’re worse without him, which is exactly what you want to hear because it’s how you feel. I didn’t want to be cheered up. I didn’t want to bounce back. I didn’t want to meet someone new. I wanted to wallow, big time, deeply, and with the least amount of perspective possible. And the only way to do that was by turning off my phone and turning up the sad sad music.”
She sets off to write her own break up song after consulting Phil Collins and other singer/songwriters, in the hopes that “Anthony” will hear it. There’s this part that rings true. “Because loving you doesn’t do me any good, in fact it does me bad. And you’re oh so gone and I’m oh, so, sad.” That’s pretty much what it boils down to, right?
So here are a few of the break up songs that “got me through”
I guess I should take Prozac, right/ And just smile all night/At somebody new/Somebody not too bright/But sweet and kind/Who would try to get you off my mind/I could leave this agony behind/Which is just what I’d do/If I wanted to/But I don’t want to get over you.
Why it rules:
It’s the Magnetic Fields. They’re witty and great and they just “get it.”
I’m not gonna live for you/ or die for you/ or do anything anymore for you/ cause you just keep me here on the other side/you keep me here on the other side.
Why it rules:
No one sings about pain better than Rachael Yamagata, she’s the poet laureate of heartbreak for our generation. I ugly cried at her concert. True story. It was embarrassing, but whatever.
The whole fucking thing makes you want to kill yourself.
Why it rules:
Sometimes you need to hear the truth over and over again until you’ve cried so hard your outside looks like what you imagine your insides look like at that moment—A mushy fleshy pile of hot rotting garbage.
I wish you had a favorite beauty spot/That you loved secretly/Cause it was on a hidden bit/That nobody else could see/Basically, I wish that you loved me/I wish that you needed me.
I wish that without me your heart would break/I wish that without me you’d be spending the rest of your nights awake/I wish that without me you couldn’t eat/I wish I was the last thing on your mind before you went to sleep.
Why it rules:
She says what you’re thinking/feeling/reeling, word for word. You want them to love you like you loved them and you’re always hoping they’re off miserable and drowning in Vodka, or the like, in order to get over the pain of you not being in their life. Mine couldn’t drown in vodka because he couldn’t drink. He was probably drowning somewhere in stranger vagina while wearing a snorkel and a smile. Cool.
There are five billion others, in fact here’s the spotify link to the audible liquid pain that I listened to for months:
And HERE * is the song that my ex wrote about our break up.
*Not sure the link will work. It will probably download onto your computer and then you have to open it in Quicktime or something. Feel free to skip this part or delete it immediately afterwards. Sorry, he’s not famous enough to have a YouTube clip of it.
Why it sucks?
Think about it.
TILT(S) : It’s good to be back.
Things I’ve Learned This (Sabbatical)
- I really miss writing.
- I share too much and most people can’t handle it.
- I don’t miss working out.
- Walking home from work is a splendid perk of living in this city. 40+ blocks in good weather should be considered “working out”
- Raines Law Room is a really fun speak easy, but feels a bit masculine.
- The Book 50 Shades of Grey is brain toxin. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good erotic tale, “good” being the operative word. I wish I could just accept that absurd amount of fiction* and unnecessary use of synonyms but, I really can’t.
*Men feeding mouthfuls of wine to their “lovers/subs” like a momma bird will never ever be considered sexy in my book.
- Hemingway is the man.
- If you’re not going to answer my questions or be a shady fuck, I will figure out the answers on my own. (Psst Instagram can unlock clues to things too.)
- Curiosity and the ever-lasting spiral of assumption makes me nuts. I prefer bold hard honesty.
- Picnics in Central Park are not to be missed or taken for granted. Ever.
- If he’s not trying, he’s just not that into you.
- Just because they SAY they’re into you doesn’t mean shit. Actions Actions Actions.
- Just because his actions show you he’s interested in you today, doesn’t mean he will be tomorrow.
- The restaurant August in the West Village is delightful. Try the foie gras and pair it with a nice little glass of Saturn (wine not planet)
- Alcohol on dates can induce premature sex and crying. Don’t get wasted on dates, dummy. (note to self)
- Sometimes people cry after sex. It happens. Emotions are all intense and your body is pumping hormones and adrenaline and things can get all messy and blurry in there. It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t mean you’re a nutjob. It just means you can feel. Embrace it. You could be a drone like 90% of the people out there. Just try not to get caught! ::wink::
- Bad cocktail of illicit drugs can make you into a raging face-eating psychopath. Don’t do drugs.
- Playing “the game” is exhausting to the point of atrophy.
- I like to push people’s boundaries.
- I rarely think of the EX anymore (this moment excluded). Except when certain songs poke at the memory, but it’s tolerable now.
- Laughter in the company of someone who understands exactly what the fuck is going on is the greatest laughter in the world.
-The ride on the tram to Roosevelt Island takes a few minutes, costs the same as a subway ride and should be ventured for the view alone. Once on the other side, get an ice cream, relax and watch the crazies go by.
- I have a few love affairs/crushes/flirtations going on with men that don’t live in this city. I believe the geographical distance is precisely the reason those even exist. There’s safety in distance.
- SCREW BRUSSEL SPROUTS.
- FUCK TOFU.
- ZESTY SALSA WHEAT THINS FTW.
- I’m God awful at Math.
- I shouldn’t have to do math at work. Period.
- Being a Miami Heat fan is healthy. The games go on when they say they will, they’re a reliable form of entertainment. And even if they’re disappointing one day, you can bet they’ll redeem themselves soon enough. The Heat is my boyfriend.
- Just once I want a man to look at me like their world would cease to hold any joy and completely fall apart if I weren’t in it. Just once.
- “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know”* are the truest words I’ve ever known. *quote by Ernest Hemingway