Actual Date: March 16th, 2012
Today was scheduled to meet the much anticipated journalist John Morris. We rode the metro and stopped by one of the most beautiful parks I’d ever seen. It was surrounded by beautifully historic buildings and looked like another scene straight out of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. There were little sand boxes and a woman with two of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen were playing in it.
We walked to John Morris’ flat, which was located in a beautiful neighborhood within streets among streets of endless condos, all beautifully aged and classy. This area is supposedly I pretty wealthy neighborhood. I yearned to be able to stay there for even one night.
Mr. Morris’ place was very nicely decorated. It was very laid-back and the coffee table had copies of famous photography from WWII arranged in an organized matter, including his own autobiography. He had people cleaning his roof while we visited, which made water splash into his presentation at one point. He was a very sweet old man and spoke of intriguing stories of how he escaped gunfire as a photojournalist for Life magazine decades ago.
At noon he had to rush off to Berlin with his girlfriend, who we later saw was a gracefully aged woman who had long grey hair in a braid. When we were released, we decided to eat at a restaurant that was right outside of his flat. The waiter was a very tall and fit attractive black man with thick rimmed chic glasses and expensive-looking slacks. He was very charming and spoke great English. None of us could understand anything on the menu but we were not disappointed by anything we ordered. The only problem we encountered was that the French seem to assume you have all the time in the world to order, and we had to urge them several times to bring out our bill as our call time was 1:45pm. We rushed and were fortunately able to sprint to the hotel by 1:50pm.
(^The humble flat where Monet and Picasso once stayed.)
Our guide for the half-day tour of Paris was a very stylish woman with an orange themed outfit and thick black hair curled outwards. She was very humorous and approachable and we all agreed was the best guide we’d had so far. She took us to what seemed like the art center of Paris, as we passed by where Monet and Picasso once stayed and a square where local independent artists tried to sell their artwork. There were street performers singing with accordions and dancers that had the ancient city as their background as they entertained people in front of the Sacre Coeur, which was another amazing building (just does not compare to St. Paul’s or Mount-Saint Michel). The difference of Sacre Coeur was that there was actual service going on inside, and music played as people lined up for the flesh and blood of Christ.
The coach then took us to the Eiffel Tower and that concluded our tour. We decided to pick one of the cafes so abundant in Paris and have some coffee and pastries. We sat next to a Texas couple who seemed to immediately notice that we were American and were friendly to us. They joked about how they’d been married over forty years but still cannot quite understand each other. We discussed about where to go in Paris and Normandy, since they were visiting the WWII sights the following day. Before we departed, we found out that the wonderful couple covered our tab without us even noticing. Our hearts were lifted to the sky and my faith in humanity was restored. People are just so wonderful when they are in Paris!
We then moved on to the Louvre, determined to see the Mona Lisa. The building of the Louvre itself was enough to make our jaws drop. It wasn’t its size, but it was how long it stretched around the park that impressed us. It surrounded a grass field that was full of young French people having picnics and just spending time together. How wonderful would it be to live in Paris and spend my spare time in such a beautiful place with my best friends! I once again wished for more time, but we were determined to see the world’s most famous painting and strolled inside.
I felt absolutely ashamed that I had to quickly walk by some of the most beautiful centuries-old paintings in history, but there was just so much to see with so little time. Some of the paintings were so large they stretched all the way to the ceiling, which was very high up there. Even as a studio art minor, I have absolutely no idea how they were capable of accomplishing this.
The Mona Lisa was surrounded by a massive crowd gated off by a distance and watched by security guards. I wondered if the other paintings were jealous of this tiny one that received so much attention.
Unfortunately the night was getting late and we had to go. How much I wished I could pause time and spent an eternity there. We returned back to our hotel and looked into possible places to experience the nightlife of Paris, considering our call time for the next day wasn’t until the afternoon.
We had asked the tour guide earlier that day, and she recommended the Bastille metro stop and said there’s dance clubs and bars all around that area. We got there around 11pm and immediately stumbled upon a bar decorated in an amazonian theme, with its walls covered in palm trees and its seats styled like pieces of log. We got some drinks there, then moved on to dancing. We playfully argued with a bouncer at a club and he waived the ten-dollar entrance fee just for us. It was a very small located in the basement of a bar, but it was very packed with people and they played well-known American music. When Michael Jackson songs came on, an African man did a spot-on impersonation as everyone else watched.
Time flew by, and the next thing we knew, we’d missed the last metro train. We finally got to hail a taxi after several tries and it took us home. The starting rate for taxis was only around two Euros, much more affordable compared to London or even Bloomington.