Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Turtle on Bike Explores City, 16-Hour Day

This morning, the sun was shining, so I grabbed my bike and zipped downhill into town. I was late for class (what's new?) so I was concentrating on speed but when I hit the Pont Sully and looked over to Notre Dame in the morning light, it actually took my breath away.

About 2m later, I got stopped by a cop.

She saw me go through a red (moi?). To be honest, I don't remember doing it so I blame my North American dependence on the grid-system - all these merging streets, who can make sense of them? I quickly read the situation as being one where I just had to apologize profusely and stay quiet for her speech. Then she let me go.

Ironically, our entire lesson this morning was on breaking the law and almost all of the examples involved a velo. I learned that taking your bike on the sidewalk can garner an "amende" (fine) of 375 euros and they will even take your driver's license away! I felt properly chastened.

After class, I took Terese to Jin's studio. Jin was a very gracious host and he told us all about his current project and how he draws inspiration from current events and newspaper clippings. Every surface in the studio is covered in paint, including the glass of rose they kindly offered me (I just crossed my fingers that the smudges of paint were on the outside). Charlie was there in work pants that were more "paint" than denim and so was Cyril, a French assistant as well as Jin's friend Tobias, a Norwegian who had just come from a castle (a literal castle) north of Bordeaux. I liked Jin's art a lot. J'etait emue.

Terese left to meet Alexis to see "2 Days in Paris" and we all made plans to meet in front of St. Eustache church at Les Halles later that night.

I rode my bike around a little to wait for Charlie to be done work. I had a good time exploring a neighbourhood that isn't for tourists. I have a feeling that Parisians probably find neighbourhoods like this unbecoming but I quite liked it even if it isn't all fancy gilded angels.

Charlie took the metro to Les Halles and I rode my bike along the Seine, back into the city. It was so nice to see the sights at night. We went to La Fresque, a restaurant that was highly recommended by Chris, and the girls met us there.

They don't know how "2 Days in Paris" ends, either.

Just as we were leaving the restaurant, doesn't it start to rain? But it was just a little drizzle, a little something to keep me refreshed on the long uphill trek home. All day and night today, I'd been toting a backpack I bought for riding to school with my books. Today I felt like a turtle on a bike, criss-crossing the whole city with a little house on my back.


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