Sound a bit like a bizarre circus sideshow? This was how I celebrated my b-day!
Monday morning at the Marché aux Puces, Mademoiselle La Xara and I cruised the aisles of antiques and curiosities. It had been about 13 years since I had visited the famous Parisian flea market, and since last year I spent most of my days reconnecting to the familiar touristic sites, I was looking forward to a unique experience. And La Xara just went along for the ride.
In the Marché Paul Bert, a caged monkey screamed silently at us to catch our attention. This particular booth displayed the creepiest collection of taxidermy we'd ever encountered. From monkeys, to heads of dog, to a rigor mortis cat, to a mummified human, to the skull of a still-born baby, we wondered what kind of person would collect such dark objects and why. We lingered a while at the stall, snapping photos and discussing the possible origins of these pieces, when the owner finally approached us. Seemed like a nice, normal guy with a great sense of humor! (Still maybe not the kind of guy you bring home to mom and dad... well maybe my dad!)
After the dead animals, La Xara and I grabbed a vegetarian pizza and a salad across from the Marché Biron, and then hopped on the Métro to Charles de Gaulle - Etoile for a bit of Parisian wow factor. It turned into a gorgeous afternoon, perfect weather for a stroll down the Champs-Elysées. I noticed a kitty cat who decided to play Frogger into oncoming traffic and was impressed that the Parisians actually stopped their cars for the dumb little thing! Suicidal cat, I think.
We picked up some Vélibs at the Grand Palais and rode in circles around Rive Droite, finally ending up with some bières blanches at Place des Vosges to watch the sun go down. We crossed the Seine at magic hour, and I think La Xara finally became a francophile, the final rite of passage into becoming a true Tièche. Island girl goes City of Lights.
Now, on that note, the location of the apartment where Mlle La Xara was staying in Paris must be addressed. When she told me a friend of her younger sister's had offered a couch for her to sleep on, I asked her if she knew what part of town she'd be staying in, she said she couldn't remember - neither the Métro, the street nor the arrondissement. So I asked if she was near any monuments and she said something to the effect of, "Yeah, it's right near that big church." Turns out the apartment was on Rue des Grands Augustins, only three doors down from the Seine. So when she offered for me to stay over night with her, the answer, naturally, was OUI.
Sujata had the bone marrow for an appetizer, and that's all that needs to be said about dinner.
After dinner, we roamed the streets of St. Germain, looking for bamboula or simply happy to be on the journey. We encountered a group of guys on bikes, two of whom are twin brothers and dj's appropriately named, Les Twins Brothers. Coincidentally, they have an upcoming show at the End Up in SF. We sauntered on towards the river to snap some photos of the lights reflecting on the water and the quai, when we met couple drunk frenchies, just leaving the bar who invited us to a party on Ile St. Louis with fireworks. Apparently, the idea appealed to Suta, who within seconds, was on the back of this guy's moto, wearing his helmet. It didn't occur to her why the heck there would be a party with fireworks on some random Monday night in September at 3 a.m. The boys were disappointed, but I think we made the right choice to let them go on their own.
By this point, we were ready to call it a night. We were walking along the Seine, minding our own business, when another group of drunk Frenchies pulled over in their car and tried to lure us to join them for a drink. Suta explained that she had to pee, and of course, one of them offered that he had a very nice pee pee, and proceeded to drop his pants for us, as if somehow that would impress us.
So the story ends having witnessed on my birthday a new moon rising over the Seine.