March 12, 2007
Yesterday afternoon, we arrived in the European City Where People Speak French and Carry Phallic-shaped Sticks of Bread. We took the metro to our hotel, situated near the Famous Cemetery Where Dead Doors Singer is Buried. The afternoon sun was so warm that we didn't even need coats as we set off to explore the city. We followed the river to a Famous Cathedral Where Tourists Watch People Attend Mass, walked inside the huge stone church to light some candles, and then wandered about the two islands, stopping at one point to sit on the curb and watch a street performer who mixed comedy with juggling tricks. Corny jokes, I find, are funnier when they are in another language. My daughter helped to translate, and I found myself laughing in triumph any time I figured out what Man Who Juggles Flaming Sticks was saying.
The bridges and quays along the river were filled with people enjoying the slanting sun that lit up the fronts of old stone buildings. Many people had brought books or magazines and had found spots where they could settle against a wall and read. In the canal, a boy played with a remote control sailboat while a girl sprawled on the top of a houseboat, sketching the scene. On a rare patch of grass near a stone wall, a woman in a black tank top stretched out, sunbathing. In another patch of grass, just under the famous stone gargoyles, two men were practicing back flips. All along the edge of the river, groups of friends were gathered to chat or eat picnic lunches. A couple on a bench at the end of the island were tangled together and kissing passing passionately.
Posted by jo(e)