Things in the mirror are closer than they appear.
Things on the Parisian landscape are further away than they appear. I know this now without a doubt. You see, someone thought it would be a good idea to walk to the Eiffel tower. It looks so big, how far away could it be, right?
Oh, I'd say almost an hours walk.
We walked and we walked and we walked some more and we still weren't there. It just didn't get any closer.
I walked off all of my lunch wine and wasworking on my morning criossant before we got close. I mean, the durn thing was so far, we stopped in a park to rest.
I stalled the kids. They were excited about the prospect of more stairs. I told them of the Parisian grass police and how it was illegal to walk on the grass in here. if you did, a silent alarm was set off at grass headquarters and the paddy wagon (or whatever its called here) would be on its way to swoop you up and spirit you away to the Bastille.
"Will they behead you there, Mommy?" they asked.
"Absolutely. But ifyou have money, you can pay to stay in a swankier cell while you wait."
While I spun my tale, I kept my eye on the tree overhead, the birds had left their mark everywhere and although it is supposed to be good luck if a bird poops on your head, I was already feeling lucky enough.
We spied the top of the tower over the top of a groove of trees and they were very eager to get there, but they didn't run across the grass. We waited until i could finally fel my fet again.
I thought I'd chosen my shoes wisely. Smart, French looking golden ballet slippers, but we hadn't gotten anywhere yet and my feet already hurt like hell AND the shoes looked like boats. I could've been hurtign and wearing cute shoes, but noooo.
Why didn't I take the train instead of walking? You remember, me, natural water and underground transportation.. We don't mix.
Anyway, viola! We had tower.
We stood in front of the monstonsity and you know what? It was bigger than I'd thought. The original plan was to walk up as far as they'd let us, then ride to the top.
The wind was blowing around us, making it feel like it was december, not nearly June, and suddenly, that didn't feel like a great plan.
I mean, until the Empire State building was built, this thing had been the tallest structure in the world.
Suddenly, the funny looking sideways traveling elevator/train things that took you to the second level, well they looked interesting, even fun to ride.
We stood at the bottom, dead center, looking up and a major realiation hit me. The Arc de Triomphe had taken my breath away. This thing, it would kill me and dammit, I just wasn't ready to die.
It even looked daunting to the kids, so we got into the amusement park-esque spaghetti looking line with the toutists and th epickpockets and we waited.
The lenaing elevator/train to the second level was fine, but when we transferred to the elevator that woudl take us to the top, past the point where the stairs take you, the air seemed to leave and the further I got from the ground and my little one started to cry while the big one hyperventlated, I had one of those moments. This was a dumbass moment. You've had them. This was a moment whenyou say, "You dumbass, you could die here."
Once again, thankfully, we did not.
But it wa so cold on top of that thing, we felt like we were dying on the spot. And yes, the view was absolutely worth it.
We stopped at a cafe on the way back. A good thing too because after you've had a dumbass moment you most certainly are famished.
The waiter greeted us very simply. "Hey you American People" he said, "You sit over there."
Alrighty then. We gladly did, because this bistro had french fries.
At home, the little stick of lard and grease are taboo, but here, this was a welcome thing to both big and little. We'd discovered the pommes frites aren't really french at all and after eating italian food in france for five days so the kids could come as close as possible to macaroni and cheese (albeit at 18 bucks a plate), I was gld to see some good old, american french fries and grilled chicken. And they still had wine by the carafe. How good could things get?
You see, I was getting used to the french way of eating. It was simple. Wine and water with every meal. A little foo din themiddle, followed by an aperitif and then a Gran Creme to wake you up. (That's a big ol coffee and milk, but it sounds better when you say gran creme, and be sure to make that wretchign sound in the back of your throat whenyu say it.) After you eat and drink in that order, you had to talk a long butt walk back to wherever you'd come from.
We ate, drank and started out the door when it started to downpour.
We had umbrellas, but guess what, my boat like shoes had a talent. They turned into slippery submarines on the french stone paved streets. They scopped up water with every step, welcoming it in, so I skated and skiied while trying to keep my knees about water. Nope, these shoes were not made for walking. I would've been drier in 4 inch strappy stillettos.
I was done for the day, too wet to even shop (gasp).