07 June 2008

with her hands behind her back.

A great day among the good ones. King Henrey the Fourteenth decided one day to transform his weekend hunting lodge into an elaborately decorated palace. I was so fortunate to visit. The palace may have been pleasing to the eye, but the gardens ‘out back’ were magnificent. Gardeners were pruning the bushes while tourists ventured about. Mary Antoinette’s village, which I was unable to visit, seems to be hidden in the most luscious green trees. It may take an hour to get to the other end of ‘la petit jardin’ but it would be an adventure in solitude. If only I could get past the gates.

The rest of the day I had planned to take it easy, which is exactly what I did. I saw some of the most interesting things while I was at it. After a quick nap I headed to find myself internet access for free. Of course McDonalds are notorious for providing that service so I went to the one I knew of, no luck. Happened upon two others, still not working. The search ended at a park where I noticed free wifi two days previous. Paris public services are on top of their game.

What I thought would be a private bench quickly became a not so private. Five minutes into checking e-mail two older women, who attempted to speak French to me (of which I understood nothing), joined me. While they caught up on eachother I continued to update, post, and reply to e-mails. It was not but thirty minutes in when I noticed a group of young men gathering around my bench. Little did I know they were trying to get my attention for quite a while. I was in the zone with music and photographs. Finally one tapped me.

(speaking something in French)
I don’t speak French, sorry.
E-mail? E-mail?
Um, yes?

And then there were five. Attempting to communicate something while I just looked confused and worried they were going to steal my computer. Finally I opened my email and one reached over my shoulder and began to type his blog address. Youyou’s Fashion blog.

You like?
Um, sure.
Das me!
Oh, okay.

A friend asked me to marry this yousef.

No, thank you.
Too young.
Oh no, no, no, no.

They watched as I filtered through the site, all the while I was waiting for them to leave. Not because I did not want to talk to anyone, but because I felt confused and awkward. The group seemed to filter away leaving yousef and the friend who offered marriage to Youyou. Upon their decision to leave I was presented with a hand, which I shook. For a second I could breath without crazy French boys in my face, then Yousef returned. He grabbed my hand as if to shake it, I responded and shook his hand. Next thing I know he is down on one knee kissing the top. (If it were Bret Steele kissing my hand, like he had at the winter wonderland dance, I would have enjoyed it more.) I guess I made some knew friends. Not to mention had a second marriage proposal.

After the women and young men departed, I had a visit from a rather unusual man. He kept asking if I had internet and replied with a glance and nod. He decided it would be a fun game to take a puff of his cig and blow it in my general direction, tap his lips together, and go for it again. Leaning as far away as possible and not responding while he spoke was not enough. I shut my computer, zipped my bag and began to stand when he mumbled something and walked away. I do not care to know what my face looked like while I sat there repulsed. Maybe he thought I was rude, I did not know how to better handle the situation.
All ends well. I finished up my allotted minutes of free internet access. Walked around the park and shopping areas. Found the nearest metropolitan station. Transferred lines twice eventually making it to train that would being be back to Issy.

Usually from the trains exit one would board a tram to get to the hotel, I chose to walk to short distance. The street was fairly empty, but I knew my way around. The local soccer club was playing a scrimmage, I sat for fifteen minutes. Then back-tracking to the children’s playground, I reminisced about my days as a child.
The day ended well. Plenty of wandering and contemplating.

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