Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Week (or so) in review

Monday: I didn't do much, but I did go to the movies.

Tuesday: a much more eventful day.

: I ate lunch at a "canteen." Normally, canteens are employee-only restaurants but I stumbled upon this place in my neighborhood and it had a sign that said "open to the public" (in French). The hours were limited (11:30-13:30), but I got there early enough to have lunch. When I entered, the chef explained that they only took cash, it was 8 euros (a real bargain), and I got what was on the menu--written on a chalk board on the wall: entrée: pamplemousse avec crevettes (grapefruit with shrimp), plat: escalope de veau, pommes dauphines (veal and potatoes), dessert: tartare aux herbes, yaourt aux fruit ou peche (cheese with herbs, fruit yoghurt or a peach). I said ok and also managed to ask if I should pay now or later--he said "après" (after). I sat down and when I took a look around, I noticed that most of the other lunchers weren't talking. The one exception was the table to my right. I also noticed that in a room with no more than fifty seats and no menu choices, there were eight servers. It occurred to me that the staff was probably developmentally disabled and that, perhaps, most of the customers were too. No one but me actually paid!

The staff person who waited on me was very polite and attentive. She asked if I wanted each course (I said yes every time) and she served me ably. Her disability, if there were one, was undetectable.

All together it was a good lunch at a good price and not a bad experience. The atmosphere wasn't great though and, well, the place smelled sort of sour. Otherwise, I'd definitely go back. Heck, I might go back anyway if I want a decent hot meal at a relatively reasonable price.

Classical concert in the Marais. Old pretty church. Me and about 20 other tourist types. Piano and violin. Not great musicians but not bad. A pleasant way to spend an hour.

Expat happy hour (already covered).

Wednesday: honestly, I can't remember what I did. Oh, I know: laundry! Wait, maybe that was Thursday.

Thursday: More nothing much until the evening when I met up with my new French friend for the picnic where more social contacts were made.

Friday: Another happy hour! Good fun because I met an interesting American guy, John, who has lived in Paris for five years but is originally from Seattle. We had a good time talking about our mutual hometown. Before he left he offered to give pointers on how to navigate life in France. What a sweetheart! I mentioned my concern about getting my birth certificate translated. I have an appointment to get my "carte de sejour" on Thursday and I'm supposed to have all my documents translated. My new friend said that I'd actually only need my birth certificate translated--and he told me that the City of Paris would do it for free!

John sent me the address of the place where to go for the translation on Monday--but I had some serious doubts so I ended up paying for the translation (though I did get it done for 40 euros instead of the 50 I was originally quoted). Today, I dropped by the address John gave me and they seemed quite willing to do the translation (I didn't have the BC with me--it was still at the translator's). Hrm. Well, what's another 40 euros more or less?

Saturday: Sent lots of emails, read, knitted and then ran out to see a museum (Musee Bourdell) before meeting my new Canadian friend for the movies. The movie was decent and interesting. We had a couple of beers and lots of conversation afterwards but I'm not sure if we'll hang out again. We get along ok but not great. But it was a good evening.

Sunday: I went for a quick Vietnamese lunch and then to the Parc Floral (part of the Bois de Vincennes) to see a concert with a couple of other people (via meetin). The string orchestra played two Brahms pieces--they were fantastic. After, we walked around the Parc--gorgeous! All the wildflowers are in full bloom now and it was lovely.

After that, I was pretty worn out from a full day of walking around. I got in touch with A. and we had another little chat--the upshot was dinner together. Nice. Hopefully I'll see him again before I go. We said goodbye a little after midnight but I could not sleep. Yet, I still got up early the next day.

Monday: dealt with the translation business. Lunch in a park. Reading on the same bench. A movie. Home and to bed early--to make up for the lost sleep.

Tuesday: hey, that's today! Had an excellent modestly-priced-for-Paris lunch. Called in on the City's potential translation service. Walked a whole bunch. Sat on a bench and read for a while. Walked a bunch more. Went to see a crappy movie (they can't all be winners!). Picked up my BC translation. Home, dinner, etc.

More and better posts to come...

Grateful for: lots to write about.

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