Today, Paris was covered with muted sunshine and I spent the day sitting in various cafe chairs squinting up at the monuments, watching the strikes and thinking that if I could somehow bottle and sell the light coming in through the windows at the Petit Palais, pure delight could be something easily accessed.
I could visit Paris a thousand times and never get bored or have feelings of temporary dissatisfaction. Sitting on a terrace having a pre-dinner appero,I sit back and comfortably watch the street scene. Whether day or night, coffee or cocktail, this is now one of my favorite forms of entertainment.
The day was filled with accomplishments. I, not only managed to operate the letter weighing machine at the post office without assistance while using the French language screens (thank you, very much), I also managed to have my photo taken by one of those automated photo booth machines. I may have pushed the yellow button a few too many times before finally understanding that I needed to push the green one, but no alarms went off and I did it all by myself.
Days like today kind of feel like kindergarten, but in a really good, I-deserve-a-gold-star kind of way. When you plant down in another country, you basically have to re-learn almost everything and if a new language is also in play, well then, finally being able to understand that it was, in fact, the green button after only having to listen to the recorded message three (maybe four) times, is like scoring a B+ on a test for which you thought you’d only ever get a C.
In fact, I was so impressed with myself that I hesitated for quite some time before making my ‘I’m confused and I need some help, please’ phone call to the Frenchman. I had made it this far by myself and I only had one final thing to do. But after getting to the final stop without any problems, I had absolutely no clue which mailbox I should use to post my letter.
It was only a small snag and I learned a bit more about French department codes (rather important little buggers), but it was all good and ended with success. I was wearing my snazzy new boots which, I think, kind of carried me a bit throughout the day and there was champagne later in the evening.
Not too long ago and just after I first crossed boarders into France, I went out for drinks with some friends. Maybe I had been living on the island for too long or maybe I hadn’t frequented enough cool bars during my lifetime; but when the waitress set these bad boys on the table, I kind of had a mini-fit. The French folk thought I had lost it, but I think they understood my complete fascination with these cocktails. I mean, come on, now. They GLOW.
And thoughts about these glow stick drinks came back to me as I was drifting off to sleep last night because right before turning out the light, I had read a blog post that hit a nerve or two and reminded me of my days of tropical African living. I had those same conversations, knew of the stolen wires and cables and was familiar with an 8 month turn-around time. The Africa Expat Wives Club is written by a British woman currently living in Kenya.
Drifting off, I had the very satisfied feeling that since being in France not once have I had to worry about not having water or electricity. It may be an odd thing to smile about while nodding off, but for those of us who have experienced these types of situations for lengthy periods of time, it is such a simple joy to be able to have faith in the reliability of some things. A great reminder to be thankful. In those moments of sleepy comfort, I thought that it really is rather lovely to be caught off guard by something as cool and insignificant as glow stick drinks.
The next time the Hindu celebration of Maha Shivaratri will be held will be on March 3, 2011. Maha Shivaratri in Mauritius is quite the big festival and is one of the most important Hindu holidays celebrated outside of India. It honors Lord Shiva.
The action takes place when people pilgrimage to the sacred lake, the Grand Bassin. This small video clip was shot at the north of the island at a temple in Grand Baie. The colorful parade float-type structures are called kanwars. There is always lots of commentary and debate on the radio and in offices on the island during this time of year because the pilgrims and the kanwars disrupt traffic flows.
A little Mauritius for your Sunday.