Thursday, January 19, 2006
I sat at lunch at a cafe on Tuesday and here's what I saw:
two older women, immaculately dressed and coiffed, giggline like only girlfriends do, drinking beer and sharing a toasted cheese sandwich with a fried egg, sunny side up, on top.
an older man in an impecable tweed jacket, perfect navy blue tie, penny loafers, navy, gray & green argyle socks, immaculately pressed gray charcoal wool pants, reading a sports newspaper, lecherously eyeing me sideways. (L'Equipe Headline: Et un, Et deux, Et Trois)
a man and a woman sharing lunch, pasta and cheese of some delectable kind, both drinking wine and espesso, talking and laughing quietly.
I had a ham and cheese omelet, two lattes, one vahlrona chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream; it came to about $40 US.
Yesterday I walked on Faubourg-St. Honore which makes Rodeo Drive and Madison Avenue seem like the Spokane Valley Mall. The beauty of the stores, the clothes and wares, and the architecture is impossible to describe with mere words. One thing that's fabulous about it: the French White House is right there. You can walk on the sidewalk right next to it which is a whole bunch more than you can say about the American White House, which is now bunkered down and impossible to even see from the street. The British Embassy and the American ambassador's residence are up street on Faubourg-St. Honore, very close together, too. A wonderful walk. And farther up the street and around the corner on Boulevard Haussman is the house that Thomas Jefferson took a 9 year lease on; I've read the accounts of his time in France and of the country estate where he stayed. Prime commercial real estate these days.
I always forget what really bad fur coats French women wear. It fascinates me!
I'm often asked if the French are nice to Americans. I am never taken as an American; it's not until I open my mouth that the truth comes out (mai oui! AmeriCAIN!) and once the French know it, they immediately speak English, at whatever proficiency they possess. That's so impressive. They try really hard to please you and to be kind--they are waaay above and beyond nice. Yesterday, I stopped at the St. Honore Bakery (sigh). It took me a long time to order but once I did, opened that cacophonous mouth, the bakery staff was in on the secret. They all turned and smiled broadly. The young woman finished taking my order and as she turned to fill it, her eyes suddenly lit up. She put the bottle of water she had just taken out back in the cooler, then turned to a larger, obviously higher horsepower refrigerator/cooler and got out an identical bottle of water; only this one was really cold. She giggled, then, and got me a glass of ice, too. I laughed and applauded as she had clearly pleased me. Europeans drink their
water chilled, but Americans like it cold, with ice.
And so on it goes. By the way, Starbucks is featuring Carmel Macchiattos.