It seems like so much is happening at home right now, so much, and I'm here doing this thing, which is fine, but the things at home are urgent. Of course, they're getting done, but I feel like I should be part of things, and I'm not.
I'm keeping busy here, though. I just got back from four days in Paris. I can't quite wrap my head around the idea of spending the weekend in Paris (a long weekend, but nonetheless, a weekend).
Day One: Louvre for a couple of hours. Park. The Orangerie. Rode a boat on the Seine, and then went to the top of the Eiffel Tower (walking what could be walked, including a lot of stairs). It was all magnificent up there!
Day Two: Notre Dame. That's where I was at 11 am, when the bells sounded for rememberance. Then to the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation (a sort of Holocaust memorial). Then to Cluny (which was just perfection for me). Then to the Pantheon. Then a long shopping excursion and getting sort of lost (my friend wanted to buy something specific at a specific place, but we didn't go directly there at all). Then a long walk to the Orsay, which was already closed to new visitors for the afternoon, and then a long walk to the Louvre, which was supposed to be open for the evening but wasn't (because of the 11th?).
Day Three: Versailles. Holy Cow. I really enjoyed the Grand Trianon. I think it felt sort of like an intimate palace, somehow, like real people could have lived there. I can only imagine that the gardens in spring must be beyond belief.
Day Four: The Orsay, and then hours of travel and waiting and more travel. There are several Van Goghs there that I'd be happy to give a home to if they don't want them in France any more. (And if anyone can help with that, I can supply details about which ones.)
According to my camera, which is downloading it's pictures even now, I took 291 pictures this weekend. A lot are repeats, since I tend to take several pictures of the same thing, especially in semi dark places where you're not allowed to use flash, since I sometimes move, and sometimes get lucky and don't move.
And now I'm back at the Abbey, hunkered in my room with crackers and really good Stilton and Poachers cheeses I got at a local market a couple weeks ago. I'm in a mood for quiet and rest, but my neighbor is doing the yelling over skype thing next door.
Do you all remember the book The Milagro Beanfield War? I first read that while I was in the Peace Corps, and some things about it just stuck with me. There's a character in the book, a guy called Onofre, who had lost his arm (sometime before the book starts, if I recall). And when something goes wrong in town, or can't seem to be explained by normal means, everyone blames it on his lost arm, el brazo Onofre.
What do you think? El Mono (or just Mono) OR, El Mono Onofre?
Every time I tried to speak a few words of French, just to say thank you or please, whatever, they came out in Spanish. I only have one foreign language channel, and it's set to Spanish. That's why the hat name is Spanish. And because of Onofre.