It was the fourth of our seven days in Paris and after exploring the city mostly on foot both over and under the ground ( the amount you have to walk in tunnels for the metro stations) my wife refused to go out for dinner. Instead she wanted..."A McDonalds burger".. Sacrilege in the heart of the land of gastronomy!!
Being the obedient husband that I am, I went in search of the ‘Golden Arches’ from our hotel in the 8th district on Blvd Haussmann, which incidentally is the best area to stay in, unless you want to stay under the Eiffel tower in the 7th district or you are gay and like the 4th district or the 18th district if you are an artist.
|Le Consulat at Montmarte 18th district...Creative Heaven|
Just as I walked out I saw the same girl sitting on the pavement sobbing softly. She looked just like the Afghan girl on the National Geographic cover a few years ago.. The same haunting eyes.. She was probably Algerian I thought because she spoke French and there were a lot of them around the city. In a moment of pure reflex action probably spurred by the vodka in me, I handed over the bag of food to her saying “ce fut pour ma femme, mais vous en avez besoin plus” or "this was for my wife but you need it more" in French ... And I turned back and re ordered from McD.
She was nowhere to be seen when I walked back and that was the end of it for me. I never mentioned it to my wife I really don't know why, but I didn't really think about it too.
We went about exploring Paris for the next two days taking full advantage of our research and absorbing in most of the museums (at half price of course.. we planned well!!), the lovely gardens and barely using our carnet of 10 metro tickets as the city is soo beautiful that it needs to be seen on foot. Also by virtue of being close to most attractions intentionally we chose to walk over horribly over priced taxis and metro tunnel mazes.
On the last day before we left we went for a walk along the banks of the Seine. Every year from the 21st of July to the 21st of August the banks are transformed into an artificial beach with huge amounts of sand ,beach umbrellas and loungers. It feels that you are really at a seaside resort and oblivious to the busy city just 10 feet above you.
As we were strolling along the girl with the ghost eyes appears again out of nowhere with a small bunch of wild flowers and hands it to my wife saying “je vous remercie et je vous bénis” or "thank you and bless you".. By the time we realized and reacted she just disappeared in the crowd..
My wife looked at me quizzically and the smile in my heart came to my lips..."I think the Parisians really do like you.." I said and just attributed it to maybe a case of mistaken identity.
In all these years since we have been to Paris what I saw was the usual Champs Elysées, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Latin quarter, Gallerie Lafayette, Opera, Eiffel tower etc. but what I experienced was going to stay with me forever.....until http://www.expedia.co.in/ made me come out with it through indiblogger..