Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

Le Petite Paris – Part Two: Boxing Day 2002

Woke up 12-hours later to thick snot canals and bloated eyes. Took a bath to banish the green loogies in my lungs and discovered that airplane pressure had knocked the lid off my QUEEN HELENE hair gel, making a jelly mess in my toiletries fanny pack. I initially blamed the accident on SBX as revenge for not working my XY-charm on the British Airways Bitch and scoring that earlier flight, but she was wise and I the dote. Hot tea soothed the plucked raw chicken skin that lined the back of my throat and we congregated for breakfast in the dining room. Vegetable soup w/cheese, cold pork links, salad and bread w/mustard were served, and I declined the pickles and beets, which are UK standards. We talked about 9/11 and went for a brisk walk into the town of Shrewsbury. I took some family snapshots and SBX tested out her new digital camera. We walked up hilly streets and through sneaky cul de sacs. Some of the beautiful buildings were over 500-years old. Hospitals, churches, town & fire houses were never knocked down and modernized, but instead converted into malls, shops, and restaurants. Peter and I took a shortcut by a castle and took in a beautiful view of England. Peter pointed out a prison, which stood directly next to the post office where a parking lot filled with red postal trucks laid claim. I made a mental note about the supposed coincidence, or was it convenience? We went back to Helen’s and said our ‘goodbyes’ and split for Waterloo in the rental car to catch the Eurostar to Paris.

We drove and talked about SBX’s career strategies in publishing. Got lost in London [which is okay by me since it’s all new], and said ‘hello’ to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, and dropped off the rental at the Avis center across the street from the Eurostar station in Waterloo. SBX secured our tickets and I ate a sausage roll. We caught naps on the Eurostar and I bought us some snacks to satiate our scattered internal clocks. I listened to that ELVIS album on my new CD player and realized that I had maybe never listened to music on the subways and streets in NYC and that, I’ve always kept my radar sharp for deviants and danger. More importantly, besides the excellent song “Suspicious Minds,” it was odd to discover ELVIS for the first time at age 35, from a Blonde Brit on my way to Paris. SBX and I made initial plans for our trip in Paris via the handy Top 10 book/gift and outlined a course.

And then we were there. Paris.

We arrived in Gare Du Nord @11:15PM and rushed to the subway to catch an RER [subway] to Maisons Lefitte, where we would be staying at her good friend Caroline’s home [w/husband Torston and son, Max] while they were spending the holidays in Germany. They would be back home come the next evening. I sat exhilarated to be in a Parisian subway, studying the abundance of dark skinned Frenchmen and sallow women. Smokers and vagrants loitered and hustled in obvious fashion. And then my eyes drifted and waned. Two-days travel and a family pit stop started to wear on me and my head cold was throwing darts at my temple. We got out at Maisons Lefitte and walked 20-minutes to Caroline’s home w/our cumbersome bags. I stared at the night sky and noticed that a lot of the homes looked like cottages in Miami, Florida. Every home was proud and individual yet shared little space. Borders were often made with natural decorations; trees, vines, small beds of grass or stone. Paris was dryer than the wet marshes of Soggy Blighty yet no less quaint. We entered the freezing house and spent 2-hours trying to figure out the boiler. SBX went the extra mile and found the boiler manual, deciphering the French instructions, sparking heat and getting us comfortable. By 3AM we were knackered and out cold.

Tomorrow, I would be holding hands w/SBX in the most romantic city in the world.

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