Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rainy with a High Chance of Missing an Appointment

Did you know that the French don't use am or pm? They do use apres midi but even then, in the business world, they'll say 15 heurs for 3pm and 20 heurs for 8pm. Well, remember that bank appointment I told you I had scheduled with the help of this delightful lady from Credit Mutuel? It was at 3pm today, not 5pm as I had recorded. In my defence, she said 15 in French. I am just ashamed at myself for how I will tell my tenant and my manager. Both 'potential' meetings this week were without purpose due to miscommunication! All I can say is that they were mistakes I will learn from.

It was quite hectic for me because I had to get to the bank by 5pm, and I left the office at 4:30 which would normally be enough time, except that I didn't account for the fact that its only my 5th day in Paris! I didn't know where to buy tickets from the Bourse station.  A nice lady gave me a ticket, but I didn't even need it since the machine wasn't accepting them. So the lady and I jumped over the bars- and we had a right to do so!

On my way to the bank, I ate the piece of the Galette des Rois as seen following. It's apparently a French tradition that takes place after Christmas whereby the cake is associated with the time when the North Star led the Magis to Jesus's manger. A bean or some sort of little stone thing is hidden in the cake. The one that has the slice with the thing is crowned king or queen and has to pick their queen or king.  I guess I'm the queen here (see that blue thing?). It was the head of a clown made of porcelain.  Thank God I saw it before I bit into that!

When I got out of the subway to get to the bank just before 5pm, I was waiting to cross the street and thought that it would be interesting to try to capture the courage of the French. They will cross the street even if the light is red for pedestrians. I am still flabbergasted by this! If you look in the right hand upper corner of the following picture just above the ladies shoulder, you can see that it is clearly red- no pedestrian crossing! It is again a wonderful mix of Canadian ways, where cars follow the instructions of the lights unlike Lebanon, but also of Lebanese ways, where people don't follow instructions when crossing the streets. I have no idea how it works in Lebanon, but it does.. And it works well here.

I am also impressed with the amount of  "holding hands" that goes on in this city! It's wonderful because this expression of love has no age restrictions. Do you see how this last picture has a couple on the left side holding hands while waiting for the last motorcycle to pass?

And here is a window shot of the Galettes des Rois. It looks great! I would love to try one au chocolat!

On that note,

Christ is born, glorify Him!

I, unfortunately, did not take today off to celebrate.  However, I remembered, repeated, where I would have been last year.  I definitely miss the Hamilton parish- All Saints of North America. I did celebrate, though! After my major humiliation with the bank- I talked to a bank representatives through some gates and almost begged him to give me an account since he was standing right there and I had all my documents!- I walked back home and picked up a short stories French book on my way. It was only 0.20 Euros! On my way back, another beautiful structure made me take out my iphone. The following middle picture is in the Latin Quarters. And of course, my favourite structure in Paris, the Notre Dame.

I got home and prepared to treat myself to a free evening at the Louvre. How exciting and only a 7 mins walk from my place! What a BEAUTIFUL palace.  I got in for free because I am under 26 years of age and it was past 6pm, or 18 heurs, on a Friday. I got the electronic guide to give me a very basic introduction to the most important pieces of the museum. I kept remembering the last time I was there with Noora, and how she did the tour while I chose to roam free, punching in numbers of the pieces into that electronic guide. After 4 or 5 hours that time in 2008, Noora was mad that I didn't even see the Winged Victory of Samothrace  or the Venus de Milo. This time, I did the guided tour for those famous pieces, including the Mona Lisa. 

 The outside of the Palais du Louvre.

 You enter under the pyramid. The middle picture is the electronic guide I mentioned previously. This third pic is in the basement of the palace which is supposed to be an inside look into the Louvre in medieval times. I think there was some contemporary art displayed on the brick walls- I didnt understand it..

 I love statues that represent mythology. I love to admire the beauty of the structure and how it looks so fluid when it is made of limestone!

 The Venis de Milo! I like to believe the structure was holding a pot of water and pouring. Its supposedly Aphrodite, so they presume that she would be caring an apple.

This picture of 4 statues caring the balcony where Louis the 18th had music played shows a beautiful work of art. I appreciate art like this where a pillar is made into a woman supposedly carrying the balcony. You can go deeper by thinking of those women as muses who were the basis of musical inspiration as they held the balcony that allowed musicians to play. 

 The Winged Victory of Samothrace. How grand! Its placement is so well studied for the Louvre. The movement of the structure, though half of it is missing, is extraordinary! 

 This is the statues from the back and its left hand side. The picture on the right is of the pyramid and where I had reached on this journey of discovery!

 The Mona Lisa. I appreciated how the guide described the power of Da Vinci s painting. Her eyes follow you and her smile is so wonderfully subtle. The famous artist is able to draw her emotions in addition to her portrait. It is also a popular piece one man stole it from the Lourve in the early 1900s and this caused a lot of publicity. Later in the 1900s, some visitor to the Louvre threw a rock at the portrait. Her smile makes her quite desirable or detested. I just wanted to say hello.

 This part is the Oriental section as described by the museum. The first two are pictures of a statue that presents an offering of prayer since the structures hands are at it's chest. There is writing describing the purpose of the statue (offering to a god for success) on the right shoulder of this funny-eyed piece. I remember studying this with Mr. Fleetwood in World History and World History AP!! That structure of the Mesopotamian king's head on the body of a flying horse is one I remember well from our books. I had to have a picture with it. Look how big it is!

 The lion is a beautiful piece I wanted a picture of to remind me of what I want to have on my living room wall. It's beautiful and so colourful. It is from ancient Iran. This block is beautiful and so powerful because it is from the ancient Phoenicians. It is a written declaration of the King's doings for the gods. It specifically mentions what buildings were built to honour these gods. It shows the ancient Phoenician alphabet (similar to ancient Hebrew). What I found particularly interesting was that a certain French man was interested in this piece in the 1800s because he was able to understand its value because of the writings. Upon hearing that this French man found interest for it, the Arabs that were hired to transport this piece to France were inquisitive of the purpose of this interest. They thought that there may be gold within it. So, they heat up the piece and broke it into many pieces. The French man later found a way to get all the pieces to him so that he could have it repaired. This explains the different colouring of this block. I wonder if there was any gold in there.. I guess we'll never know for sure.

There are other artifacts from the Phoenicians.

It seems the Phoenicians were meticulous. A lot of there statues are very small! I like to wonder who made them and who held them. I kept imagining a big storm coming over what is now modern day Byblos, Lebanon to bury all these artifacts and preserve them for us to wonder. I wonder how the world was like so long ago. I wonder what they thought when they thought of 2000 years into the future. It makes you feel so small!

Till the next,


1 comment:

  1. Bonjour mon amie, Tu es deja devenue une vraie parisienne. You should be so proud of yourself for undertaking this delightful adventure. What better place to be in than Paris. I hope you have lots of fun, make lots of friends and enjoy the magnificent cuisine. Have you been to Montmartre? It is about 15 minutes outside of Paris. I love your apartment and the stairs add to the charm. Keep in touch enjoy yourself and stay safe. Love Angela