From Fête de la Musique with my Aunt Joann Rose to the Gare du Nord to the Prefecture. P.S. It’s the ‘soldes’!
Fête de la Musique was great fun with my aunt Joann Rose. A Manhattan (Hell’s Kitchen, to be precise) native, she’s been doing Paris and day trips solo while I’ve been getting over strep throat. What a fearless adventurer.
Last night, she treated me to gorgeous poisson braisé from Au Citron Vert in my neighborhood. The fish takes forever to cook, but it is so worth the wait! We devoured every morsel, leaving only the eyeballs. Then we were off to meet friends at a bar in the 10th, not exactly far away, but not easy to get to as it requires a change of train.
On the short stroll to the metro, we passed 4 different bands, each with a base of fans gathered outside enjoying the breezy summer solstice evening. The first singer was belting out soulful covers… the likes of Prince Kiss etc. Another was performing saxophone-heavy jazz. My aunt was dancing in the streets for this one. Then we heard some zouk, followed by another style of music which I couldn’t precisely name in front of a Malien restaurant. A nice mix of vibes, families, friends, neighbors, ages and colors.
Because our fish dinner had run too late and our timing was off, I was hesitant to get on the metro towards the meeting point with friends in the 10th. Sure enough, by the time we arrived, our friends had all already left! Damn!
The scene at the Point Ephemere in the 10th was more like a night club w/ Djs and young hipsters spilling out of the bar all along the canal smoking and drinking and dancing and circling around. We stayed and took in the atmosphere, but regretted having left my ‘hood where, according to my Aunt, “there was just so much more going on.” Add to that the fact that my aunt had been to Versailles that day and was on her last wind (2nd and 3rd already depleted). In short, I wished I hadn’t dragged her across town for that. But she’s a real trooper and a delightful person no matter the situation, so she naturally made the most of it.
Once home, we were lucky to get 4 hrs sleep due to giant speakers blaring out till 3 am at huge street party just outside my windows. Thank goodness for ear plugs and utter exhaustion.
7:30 am. Off to the Gare du Nord. My Aunt is a super light packer, one of many things I admire greatly about her. She left her small suitcase at my place, and is taking only a shoulder bag and tiny purse to Rome. We make quick stops for pastries & cash. At the ATM, we realize she packed so light, that she had forgotten her passport! 🙂 I sprinted back for it then we hustled to the station. She jumped onto a packed RER as the doors were closing. She will do 3 days in Rome, then back Sunday for a final day in Paris before returning to hippy Asheville, NC, which she now calls home.
And my busy morning continues…8:45 am. At the Prefecture’s “remise de titres de séjour” office where I am waiting to pick up my annual visa for the 5th time since arriving to this country in 2006. Folks of many different stripes are here queued up clutching passports and those special money orders we have to get (mine is for 85 euros) the size of postage stamps called timbres fiscales. When their numbers are called, they jump to the counters in the hopes that their freshly minted temporary national IDs are ready. I’ve got number 32. They just called number 9.
Several older gentlemen have already been told to come back tomorrow or to come back next week. How disappointed they look on this rainy Paris morning! Oh please, let mine be ready today like they promised!!!!
11:26 am. I’m very relieved to finally have my titre de séjour in hand. It’s only valid for 6 months (normally it’s for one year), so I’ll have to move quickly to turn in my dossier to request nationality. And I’ll have to go through the renewal process come Fall 2011 instead of having till spring 2012. However, I’ve done this before, and can certainly do it again! 😉
P.S. Today is first day of semi-annual ‘soldes‘ but I choose to remain zen. Don’t need to consume just because it’s the sale season and everybody else is doing it. Will keep strong and steady!!! Not like there is time anyway… I’m so behind on work from my being sick and being off my routine that I must make a beeline to home office and dive right in (stopping only to publish this blog post). Of course, maybe if I do get time during the next few weeks, I might make my annual trip to the Bon Marché shoe department, just to have little look-see…