We made it. The flight was long and uncomfortable, as you’d expect, but one thing I’ll say for Air France: The in-flight movie selection isn’t too shabby at all. I watched “Dog Day Afternoon,” and had forgotten how good it was.
And then you land, and clear customs, and find your transportation, and this, and that, and suddenly you’re in Paris, mofos, and oh my it’s better than you expected and different than you remembered, and in so many ways. The diesel exhaust smell I recall from 40 years ago is gone, and so many vehicles now are EV/hybrids. The locals are still slim and well-dressed, but everyone has a mask somewhere on their person, and surprisingly, the default is the plain old blue surgical-style, not the creative cloth version preferred in the U.S. (Alan read those are banned in offices as ineffective.) Covid testing stations are everywhere, including under pop-up tents on street corners. More people speak at least some English, and we’ve been getting by with pointing, gestures, a few words here and there and my mournful Je suis desole, je ne pas parlais francais.
Why is this famously language-proud country suddenly so much more accommodating of my atrocious monkey-grunts? I suspect the usual reasons: Smaller world. The internet. And can’t forget that great motivator of language study in the young — video games.
So in these early days, we’ve been knocking off the usual stops. The Louvre on Sunday, Norte Dame yesterday. Today, the wrapped Arc de Triomphe. I would upload some pictures, but the internet here is spotty and untrustworthy.
I wish you all well from the 11th arrondisement (I think), and now to puzzle out the Metro routes. Au revoir, all.