Friday
December
29th
2006
12:16 pm

Arrival in Paris

After talking about it for years (since Mom’s and Di’s deaths in 2003, to be precise), I’ve finally arrived in Paris.

I allowed British Air to talk me into an upgrade to business class, which was very comfy. The section was designed to seat 20, but had barely a dozen passengers (which is presumably why they were offering upgrades at such a discount), and we had two flight attendants all to ourselves.

Despite being able to recline at full length, though, I still found myself unable to sleep on the plane.

On the advice of my landlord, I took a taxi from the airport. My cab driver, alarmingly enough, was *not* impressed with my new address. To hear him tell it, there would be junkies and prostitutes on every corner.

The apartment itself is very much as advertised, though. It’s very bright and has obviously been recently and carefully renovated. And the building and neighborhood generally are quiet enough at night to belie the cab driver’s comments.

I’ve already made the acquaintance of my neighbor across the hall. She’s a widow, with poor eyesight, whom I would estimate to be in her 70’s. Her husband was a great friend of my landlord, whom she describes as très génial. She was one of 11 children and was kicked out to make her living at 12. She worked as a maid for 6 years before getting married.

She invited me into her apartment, which is laid out very differently from this one. She has basically one long hallway, with the rooms that let off to the left: a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, and a bedroom. Judging from the pictures on the walls, she has several children and grandchildren. She is, or was, an accomplished needlewoman: she has several beautifully worked tapestries hanging. She told me proudly that she’s been offered a great deal of money for them, but she has refused it, as she worked them for her own pleasure.

I realized when I tucked myself into bed that, no, I had not been truly been prepared for the enormity of what I was doing. "Omigod, I am completely and totally insane." and "What do I do now?" Not only that, but the bed here is tremendously uncomfortable. I wonder if the French think that mattresses with even a tiny bit of give are effete?

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