Yesterday was Monday and Monday was my Saturday. Finally, a day off from the ridiculous work I do as a result of not having a right to work! Previously, as I had been trying to promote delicious salted caramel popcorn to the general masses, I met two girls from Washington D.C. who are on a big European vacation. They explained where they had been and where they were going, which just happened that they’d be in my neighborhood the following day. I offered to meet them and show them around so that I could prevent the painful scene of two girls standing around with their faces in a map.
The girls promptly called me in the morning and they received instructions on how to arrive at métro Abbessess. Of course, they were charmed by Montmartre and we set out for our walking tour of the best neighborhood in Paris.
First things first, it’s convenient to see the sights most commonly known in the movie Amélie. But, oh- one had seen the movie 10 years ago and the other never at all. Hopefully, one will be inspired to re-watch it and the other will be inspired to watch it (although, after having spent an afternoon with them, I doubt the non-watcher will bother). C’est la vie.
We then wandered up toward the Sacré Coeur, which was quite busy of course. It was a treat, though, because Mass was being held while tourists wandered around, took pictures, and bought souvenirs. My not-so-cultured counterpart realized that even though the Mass was in French, the whole ordeal is a series of mindless repeated sayings such that she knew what the appropriate responses would have been in English.
Church was over, so we made our way toward Place du Tertre and then wandered around to find some restaurants that are off the beaten path. And what luck! We even got to witness a scuffle among some Romanians and a Frenchman. Free dinner entertainment!
The girls were extremely curious about many things and asked wonderful questions. They were a bit lost on politics, so I explained how it is important for the expats to pay attention to who our elected officials are because it greatly affects the ease of our immigration. Sarkozy was anti-immigration (but probably more in a racist way), and our newly elected socialist president, François Hollande, is much more sympathetic to us foreigners.
But you don’t mean socialist like in the United States- like socialism and communism?
Oooooh la la la la .
I’m not always the best persuasive speaker, but I did my best to show them that American citizens benefit daily from the socialist programs in effect and that every economic system will have its problems when people exploit other people.
It would be wonderful if the general population of the United States could stop being so ethnocentric for just five minutes and really take a look at what the problems really are within, around the world, and what actually works in other societies. The United States tends to be embarrassing with its lack of affordable health care, religious fanaticism (esp. in politics), and gun fanaticism. But… these are topcis that will be saved for another day.
Back to the girls. After lunch, we went to Espace Dalí which was a real treat as I’ve not been before. The exhibit contains the sculptures that our artist conceived to use for the paintings he made thereafter. Of course, there are also some of his paintings and drawings.
My not-so-cultured counterpart was feeling uneasy about it all, so we left.
I’m convinced some people need to get out more often and expose themselves to more. Dalí is quite tame compared to many other things I’ve seen…I think Robert Crumb has Dalí beat on the shock value scale.
The tour concluded with a walk down rue Lepic (hey… there’s the door to my apartment!), a quick view of the Moulin Rouge, and a walk past all the sex shops to métro Pigalle.
While the girls were very thankful to have had someone to show them around, I was thankful to have people to give a tour to. I explored some things I wasn’t familiar with, took the time to actually look at the art at Place du Tertre, and was reminded of why it would be extremely painful to live in the United States again.
So, here’s to looking forward and never ceasing to absorb all that the world has to offer.