Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Two Years Ago in Paris

I find that my thoughts are frequently taking me back to my Paris sabbatical that I took 2 years ago. I left in the beginning of September and was gone for 3 months, much like I am about to do now. Here is an exerpt from my journal about one of my early days there. I had been on my own for two weeks at this point and was very glad to have my friend Martha join up with me.

September 14, 2003


Martha arrived today! Yeah! I cleaned the apartment and made room for her things. Then I mostly sat around and read Le Marriage and looked out the window for her. I was afraid that I might miss her if I went to church so I skipped it today. She arrived at 12:15. I was leaning out the window when she rounded the corner, huge suitcase in tow. I waved and called out that I would be right down.

She had to walk through the farmer’s market from the metro to get to my place. She apparently ran over a few toes as she tried to maneuver her way along the crowded sidewalks and make- shift stands for the produce and the hot rotisseries in front of the boucheries. She was laughing and already full of stories about her adventure so far. I helped her lug her suitcase and bag up the four flights of stairs.

Martha got settled a bit and told me about her experience in the metro and then we went out to get produce and lunch at the farmers market below. We strolled through the bustling sidewalk market and bought a melon, peaches, grapes, pastries and gyros sandwichs. We walked over to my lovely neighborhood park and sat on a bench for our pique-nique. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day; blue skies, warm sun and cool breeze. The sunlight filtered down through the branches of the elm trees and little leaves fluttered down lightly carpeting the raked dirt and green benches of the park.

Afterwards, we walked back to the apartment to drop off the rest of the groceries. Martha went to hang up her jacket in my flimsy IKEA armoire and I yelled out to her to be careful because it wasn’t very stable. A second later I heard a big crash as the top shelf loaded with a lot of my things came crashing down. Martha claimed that she didn’t even touch it. She was horrified and tried to fix it and managed to knock down the bar with all of my hanging clothes on it. Now everything was on the floor and the armoire was listing to one side and Martha was doubled over with laughter, protesting that she had barely even got close to it. Laughing as well, I said that I would fix it. (I had already had some experiences with it myself). I got it back together but Martha never tried to use it again. As I was putting it together I heard a crash in the kitchen and ran over to see her picking up a glass that she had either squeezed to hard or that just slipped out of her hand. I began to wonder what my apartment would look like by the time she left. Luckily I was amused by it all.

We walked up to the Montmartrobus stop and rode it through Montmartre up to Sacre Coeur where we got out and looked around and then took it down to Pigalle. This is my favorite bus ride in Paris because it winds its way quickly up and down the tiny village streets; it is important to hold on so that you don’t go flying out of your seat. We got off (at Pigalle at the end of the route) and walked through the red-light district with its seedy sex shops over to the Moulin Rouge. Martha and I had both very much enjoyed the recent movie Moulin Rouge, but were disappointed in the exterior of the windmill itself. It looked a bit run-down and was kind of depressing. I won’t need to do this part of town again.

We wandered our way back up to the Abbesses metro and down Rue Lepic to the Cemetiere Montmartre then down Rue Coulaincourt to Mont-Cenis and followed that back to the apartment. We passed lots of wonderful traiteurs and boulangeries so we picked up some snacks and items for dinner.

Martha decided to take a nap so we tried to pull out the futon couch to lay it flat. It got stuck in a v shape and since it was covered in a yellow slip cover it resembled a huge hot dog bun. We laughed until we almost wet our pants and finally got it folded out flat. Much laughing today. Martha is so tired that everything seems funny and it is great for me to have someone to laugh with. Now I am sitting at my desk, writing and eating some of the delicious grapes (though I am spitting out the seeds and skins) and feeling the lovely breeze and looking at the beautiful sycamore trees outside my window. One of those “Life is good “ times.

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