Friday, September 2, 2011

We'll Always Have Paris

Last weekend was a highlight of our sojourn in Paris.  Claire Diou came for a visit.  She is Penny's surrogate daughter.  Claire stayed with us as a teenager in San Diego as a foreign exchange student, and then again on her own.  She is now Capitaine Claire Diou, French Army paratrooper, and veteran of several deployments to combat ("peacekeeping") situations in Africa.  She has just arrived from her post in the south of France for a staff course in Compiegne.  Seeing her again was truly marvelous.

We face with mixed feelings the end of our time in one of the world's greatest cities.  We could never get the television to work in our flat.  The internet connection ceased to work, and we had to piggyback on the unsecured wi-fi downstairs.  I had read stories about the French telecommunications system decades ago.  They were not complimentary, and emphasized how long it took to get a home telephone once you placed an order for one.  Months of waiting time.  Months.  Orange, the internet services provider, lived down to the reputation of French telecommunications systems, at least in our case.  Sometimes the piggyback wasn't available and our only communications connection was the 3G browser in our Kindles!

As I wrote in a recent post on this blog, there are problems with living here if you don't speak French or have a network of friends and contacts.  It can be a nicer place to visit than a place to live.  I am looking forward to our month in Vienna and especially to moving on from there to New York.  Yes, I do recognize and freely admit that I am getting a bit homesick.

Get this:  As we wheeled our luggage out to the Place des Abbesses to look for a taxi, an accordionist busking on the street played "La Vie En Rose."  Those guys are all over town and in the Metro, but more often they play Argentine tangos.  But for our departure, we lucked out and got an Edith Piaf classic.  :-)

Even with all that...Paris is still Paris, and hopefully always will be.  That famous song, "The Last Time I Saw Paris," complains that the city the singer once knew is no longer there.  I disagree with that.  Change is a constant factor of life, but certain essences survive.  We'll always have Paris.

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