These boulangers-patissiers on Ile Saint-Louis are taking a break from the baking academy established in 1845. You can just see the coved entrance on the right. Don't I wish I perched quai-side with them sharing a cigarette. Sigh. This morning I drove Tristan to the airport for his flight back to Paris. A little sad I couldn't wedge myself in his overflowing bag or fit into his backpack. A Sorbonne student, Tristan stayed with us this summer and corrected my French, called everyone 'duuude' and taught me how to use my new iPhone when no one else would. Handy also to have this 20 year old Parisian in house to answer questions about breaking and entering ie his building's courtyard was the 'office' of a neighborhood drug dealer - now gone. Tristan's in the clouds now, eating a pre-packaged meal watching the first of three movies. But in the car he told me how he'd get home from Charles de Gaulle 'take the RER to Gare du Nord then line 5 and up the Metro steps at Jacques Bonsergent'. I pictured this, having done it myself from his parent's place; pulling his roller bag over the cobbles, smelling the whiff from nearby Canal Saint Martin and the boulangerie on the corner. The sounds of the #56 bus rumbling on Boulevard Magenta, the busy pavement swelling at 'la rentrée' with parents taking children to school, people rushing off to work. For a moment I was with him.
Then my friend Dorothy called from NY, excited as she's leaving for Paris next week. Dorothy, a fast paced 70+ year old Manhattanite will take photos for our Paris presentation at the Natl Arts Club in NY next spring. Planning, talking of where she'd go, what night shots we'd need; the narrow alley behind the Balzac museum at twilight, the eau de Paris sign on rue Copernic. All the narrow streets came back to me, the Place Victor Hugo with it's spraying fountain, the mist on my face, the whoosh of the milk steamer drifting from the cafe. Always a deal finder, she's staying at one star hotel, shower down the hall but a steal at 30 Euro's a night.
But then it was time to go Bangkok. Again all I had to do was hop in the car, this time head to M is for Mystery. Our fellow blogmate Tim did an incredible power point presentation on the Queen of Patpong. He spoke of his story and where the characters came from and his foundation in northern Thailand helping impoverished girls stay in school instead of leaving to work in the sex trade in Bangkok. At times, poignant, moving and funny Tim took us north to a poor village and then the bright neon of Patpong.
No frequent flier miles earned but Paris and Bangkok...all in one day!