|Dang Hai Yen|
18.08.09 - 8am: and the B&W girl is at the door. What could it be? She had packed her things and left the day before. Hungover as hell I open it to wash away a night of beer drinking and trying to figure out why women do what women do. Hopeless. I had found myself at 1 in the morning in a Scottish bar where you could not smoke trying to answer this question with a French Ph.D. in Psychology and Philosophy. He didn't have the answer - but maybe the beer did. We drank what we could to try to distill the said female information and ended up dry. Wet. But still dry. Idiots - we men.
"Uh huh", "Right", "I see", "Right again". Lesson #1 dudes: The woman is always right and you are always wrong. Once you get that down things will go a lot smoother.
11am: Three hours of this and it's agreed that we still disagree and believe me, that's a lot further along than we were the day before. Time to plan a day. A yogurt and a coffee remove the edge and it's time to get off to the Internet shop for a little email checking. Internet here costs a minimum of 2 Euro an hour (that's $2.80) and goes down the more time you spend but this kind of pricing tends to make you want to get the hell out the minute you got in, but things don't always go so quickly. Time to check mail.
12:00 noon: Erik has responded to my "Bon Jour Paris" post on LinkedIn and I'm happy to see that anybody has responded. Erik Vos is a Dutch designer living in Paris and his website shows you that he's quite the cool cat indeed, but I don't know that yet. He proposes a meeting at 4 and we make a plan. Oddly I do not have a phone here as my phone from Vietnam doesn't work in France and a phone purchased here would not work in Afrika so phuck the phone. We just need to go old skool and make what we can of things. Appointment set.
3pm: Hours go by easily when the entire plan you spent months contemplating has gone up in a blaze of feminine glory and you're busy trying to decide if it's back to Germany, Vietnam or wherever the fuck. Honestly who cares whatever or whomever got me on this trip and just as I said in the beginning, that I would have been and idiot not to have gone, I spend little time thinking of how much of an idiot I have become because of having gone. There's no point to that. At least I'm on the road and in homage to K
erouac whistle a little Willie Nelson tune. Home to shower and crunch a few crackers with brie, my hangover has subsided and I'm ready to go meet Erik at the entrance to Jardin du Luxembourg. For those not exactly in the know this park was Marie DiMedici's private little 28 hectare garden for awhile while the family was busy patronizing the arts of my university art history years and not much has been lost to the ages. It's positively fabulous. Beaux Arts facades and statues abound, the park is an odd yet totally harmonius collection of French formal gardens, English country lanes, and Italian inspired sculpture and decoration - and it's full of pagan-like Greek mythological figures and just flat out flights of middle ages old money fantasies. Do it on drugs if at all possible.
3:45pm: Off to meet Erik all I know is that he will be wearing an orange Polo shirt. That should be easy unless of course, the Orange Telecom Polo team shows up for a picnic. He arrives and rather than spend our time at a streetside cafe as most would in Paris he suggests that we take time in the park and at least look at the girls. And that seems exactly the right thing to do. It is Paris for chrissakes. Good idea. Erik is wonderful and we strike it off nicely. His designs are well throught and he has another million other good ideas in his back pocket. We talk of Afrika and more places to come and Italian real estate deals and god knows what else. Hours fly. This is the way a lazy Tuesday afternoon was meant to be.
5:30pm: And then I realize my bag is gone. Fuck. In the bag is my partner's camera as well as the notebook I carry always to write these posts and keep all sorts of other daily information and travel miscelleny. Fuck again. The bag has apparantly been lost in our moving of chairs after another convenience store trip to replentish our beverages and with my experience of publics and parcs does not seem to have much of a chance of coming abck at all. Fuck three times. Erik suggests that we check with the local gendarmarie and we dutifully trod off to the lost and found station which, in 28 hectares of garden fantasie, will not prove all so easy to find.
6pm: But found it is. And inside, a more than helpful and cheery park gendarme to help with our search. "Let's see", he ponders, "another stupid American tourist has lost a bag with a decent little Nikon inside and he expects we Parisians are so dumb as to waste our precious time traipsing of to the cop shop to drop it off so said American tourist will not have to put up with even more shit from a partner who already doesn't like him very much?" Fat chance. Or in this case, a Fat Tuesday's chance. I describe the bag, the Nikon and the notebook inside. I neglect to describe the dime bag of marijuana I might have had stashed in the inside front pocket had I visited this park when I was in my twenties and he checks the register. Check #1: Stupid American tourists? = Plenty. Check #2: Black bags with Nikons and notebooks inside? = One. Somebody's got to be shitting me? And rolling his chair towards a bin for storage he pulls out my bag exactly - with all contents in tact. Amazing. I thank him profusely in the most horrible and awkward French I can manage, and thank Erik for persevering with me to find the station.
6:30pm: It's time for Erik to get back home and we bid farewell, agreeing of course to keep in touch and keep up with the future. Two geeks in a park on a Tuesday afternoon and you don't find that everyday now, do you? Maybe everyday in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, but today in Jardin du Luxembourg? Nice.
7pm: I Finish my day with Rolando. He is drawing portraits and I ask him if I may see his sketchbook. It is thoughtful and full of all sorts of people from the park that day. He asks me if he may draw me, not to make money, but just for the time and experience and I agree - on one condition - the condition being that I get to draw him as well. He says ok on his condition that I draw him first and on we go. I have not made a drawing like this in over 30 years - sometime way back in school. It takes me awhile to get my sea legs but it all comes back. Just like riding a bike.
8pm: The tree is a chestnut tree. It's the same tree I had wondered about in Korea from my blog post last summer called "The Art Walk". In that post I had described how one of my past employees remarked that I always looked at the smallest things on my walk out of the office and down the hill each day. And today I found the answer to the the name of the trees that graced my Korean walk everyday. I guess sometimes we just have to wait for our answers.
9pm: And home. A regular reader here had wondered to me recently whether this blog was getting too personal - and whether I had gone astray from my professional expertise and field of snarky comment about all things marketing and all things snarky. In short, they had wondered if I had gone soft on y'all. And yes. Maybe so. And maybe so for all the right reasons. It wouldbe hard for me to explain all the reasons for going on this tour as well as all the reasons for not going on this tour, and all I can say at this point, is that I am here. I am here. I am here. And that is a far better place than I was just one month ago. It's even a better place than I was in Dalat just two months ago. For whatever reason I am here, I know it is to expand my thought and my field of vision in a way that would not have been possible had I stayed home (wherever I may have regarded that to be) and stuck my thumb up my butt some more. Doors open and we have but one choice: Go through them. We are not always able to know exactly what might be on the other side - but rather we should be happy that in our lives, doors are opening instead of closing and let the outcome rely on itself. Being in the game is always far better than just watching it. I know that by now.
12 midnight: I made a call requested of me by my partner and she asked for a surprise meeting on the street near le Pantheon. Things had changed again from just a day ago and it was agreed that tomorrow would be yet another new day with all old stories relegated to the pile where all old stories go and a new one to begin on the following morning. Arguing with that idea is just another bad notion, if one should have it. Time to sleep. New days are what this trip is all about, and Infinite Wisdom is but a carrot on a stick - and so, again - nothing much happened in Paree today.
For more in the "Nothing much happened" series, check below:
VIII People Are Just Dieing To Get Out of Here VII The Hair Job VI Happy New Year! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! V The Vietnam sNews IV At The Center of Miss Universe III My Walk in the Park Today II The Stevie Wonder Post I Ear Cleaning
For more in the WWE Goes West Series check here:
III) C'est Si Bon
IV) Bon Jour Paris!