We’ve spent two nights in Paris. When we first arrived the key to the flat was not under the door mat (security!!!) and the five of us stood in a row in the long narrow hallway with our suitcases on wheels, as if we were cattle waiting for slaughter. Sister made a flurry of phone calls, the final one stating we wouldn’t wait for much longer and they could pay for our hotel if we had to get one. An Italian Canadian family who was visiting from Montreal was in a unit on the next floor. When they heard of our troubles they let us bring our luggage into their flat and wait for our key there (where mum could have access to a washroom) as they were going out for dinner. Unbelievable! They were so generous and kind and trusting. It really warmed the heart. Truly, the kindness of strangers. Our key was delivered shortly thereafter and with great relief we gained entry.
Our flat is located near Notre Dame and Centre Pompidou. It’s central so that our mum won’t have so far to walk. But she’s still finding a bit of a struggle. She has various ailments, one of them being a kind of muscular arthritis. She hobbles on cobblestones. I hobble on cobblestones! One year I was in beautiful Sevilla in Spain and my ankles turned every step I took because of shoes that were not designed with cobblestones in mind…. I do have my sensible West Coast dyke Merrills and they do nicely on almost all terrain, but high end fashion they are not.
Group dynamics are always in flux during holiday exursions. Yesterday sister and I had a testy discussion on the Seine tour boat about how must capacity our mum had to be left with her friend from Japan to go shopping on their own in our neighborhood. Sister rated them at zero. I rated them at about 4 out of 10. I.e. let’s let them hobble about and shop on their own. Daughter watched silently from her seat a slightly bored and pissy expression upon her face. Sister pointed out that mum got lost in the hotel in Banff. Apparently she only had to go straight, but she was missing for half an hour and sister went on Search and Rescue. Therefore, she stated, mum could not be left on her own. Sister also said she’d witnessed a mugging in London and it was hard and fast and very traumatic. That we were deterring muggers from mugging easy pickings like our mum because we were with her. Mum does have the tendency to walk slowly her head tilted upward as she gapes at something, her wallet held loosely, forgotten in her hand…. I acceded to my sister’s opinion a little grudgingly: she knows more about Europe after all. I must also accede that my desire for mum and her friend to go off on their own isn’t necessarily for their sake…. <crooked grin> I have decided that the best possible trip for my mother would be a cruise trip. At least she would be confined to the boat thereby there would be a convenient purser near at hand to direct her to her room. There are port stops where she could explore shops with a group of other cruise people. And she would not have to walk too far to get to where she wanted to go. I will never go on a cruise trip.
Mum and her friend natter on and on…. They have so much to catch up on, certainly, but a lot of time is spent socially massaging their relationship. They need to be in agreement on every platform. They are agreeable with each other. Are not the counters so very high. Yes, the counters are very high. Are there not many tourist trinket shops. Yes, there are so very many tourist trinket shops. I know this totally makes sense for group dynamics, but sometimes I just want to say outrageously opinionated things. I want to be the asocial kid who tears through the tea party, tipping over the table, scattering cups and making the other girls shriek. Hahahahahaaaa! Don`t you want to travel in a group with me…. Perhaps to my mother`s friend I am coming across a sullen and ill-tempered. I just don`t like to natter and make conversation for the sake of conversation. Silence can be lovely and sweet. And you can notice things that can be drowned out by the sound of voices. Also, I would like to point out that my mother has said that I was born un-smiley and rather serious…. (I have lost my apostrophes and I do not know where to find them. I seem to have hit a button on the keyboard that has affected workings of buttons with Shift key. Sigh. So am no longer using contractions and sound like the characters in True Grit.)
The pinnacles and carvings of the Notre Dame so very forbidding and domineering. The tourists wind around the building in long lines to see the interior. We snap photos from outside, none of us hearty enough to brave the queue. More photo ops for my mum and her Japanese friend from the Seine tour boat, the Eiffel tower in the background. They have proof of having drifted past one of the main sights that signify France.
Daughter is looking forward to shopping today. There are summer sales going on and there are fashionable T-shirts going for 10-15 Euros!
I will be spending some time with book people today. I had made a mistake and had thought our meeting was yesterday. So I was standing outside, against the building door, looking up and down the narrow street as mostly tourists strolled by. I made a point of looking at my watch now and then so that the souvlaki and sandwich shops across the way would know I was waiting for an appointment….
Is French onion soup French…. Yup! Whew!
Tomorrow the Louvre. We are going to rent a wheelchair for my mum. If my heel starts to act up I will sit in her lap and get daughter to push us. Awesome!!!! Hahahahahaha!