20 April 2009

My 35th Birthday in Paris

Quel anniversaire superbe! Fortunately for me, it was sunny, warm + delicious in Paris, perhaps a French gift for my birthday, but certainly a blessing. In grand style, LB + I woke up, ate some fresh strawberries, bananas, + a pain au chocolat (that was still good the next day) before taking the Metro to St. Germain des Près, where we walked around the 6th arrondissment, gawking at beautiful, old apartments with their iron-wrought balconies for as far as the eye could see. I forget how magnificent the Latin Quarters can be: quaint, classic, charming. The streets are old, but well maintained, like an old woman that switches from cigarettes + gluttony to yoga + marathons, gracefully keeping her culture alive in the modern era. That’s the best guarantee that your history will never die. If your culture is vibrant + alive, it can’t be erased, after all.

I bought a new novel from Michel Houellebecq (Extension du domaine de la lutte) at one of my favorite little bookstores in Paris called L’Écume de Pages, and then LB + I drank freshly squeezed orange juice + Oranginas at Café de Flor, people-watching, counting European tourists. Interestingly enough, we only heard English once all day, by three tourists we mistook for RJT’s (rich Japanese tourists). As it turned out, they were American. Really, it’s just too fucking expensive to travel right now, which probably explains why we saw so few ‘Ricains.

After hitting the café scene, we decided to walk to the 5th arrondissement towards Notre Dame—that must be one of the more amazing walks in Paris: you can see parts of Sorbonne’s campus, bargain bookstores, fountains + break dancers, narrow streets + consummate café culture at its finest. This is one of the most beautiful faces of Paris, architecturally preserved + historically rich, like an embalmed city.

We spent a good amount of time inside Notre Dame. There was a service going on, the music filling that Baroque cathedral like a rising ether. It could have made the angels high. Outside, after being harassed twice by gypsies that asked: speak English, and then handed you notes begging you for money. It was just easier responding in French, frankly. Besides, my country is going to shit too. I mean, we have shantytowns on the outskirts of Fresno + Sacramento.

Anyway, after getting lost for about an hour (our map sucks), we ended up near the Panthéon, passing the l’Université Polytechnique, somehow ending up at this futuristic-looking Thai restaurant with bowl-shaped lights + walls made of shimmering, paper-thin medallions. Our Pad Thai was fantastic, and not just because it’s been a year since I’ve had the real deald; the tea, delectable; the mango + chocolate mousse, light + airy without being too sweet. Finally, we took the Metro back to Montmartre, made love, took a shower in our phone booth shower, packed + slept for seven beautiful hours. This birthday was magical, the stuff of true joy + sensuality. It will clog up my dreams for years to come.

And now the pictures:


Fernanda Ibañez said...

feliz cumpleaños

Still Life in South America said...

Happy Birthday, Jackson. Big hug to you and LB.