During our short stay in Paris the subject of India loomed large over our heads. The subject was ignored for the most part until we woke up on our third and final day in Paris. The conversation went like this:
"holy shit, we are going to India tomorrow"
"we need to eat a lot today"
I don't know why we were under the impression we would starve in India but we thought it best to shove as much food in our faces beforehand just in case. I also was feeling like I needed to eat something besides bread and cheese for a change. Bill found an American diner, run by actual americans, called BIA. That's short for Breakfast In America. We went, we saw, we ate enormous plates of eggs and sausage and drank gigantic mugs of American coffee. It was heaven.
After our big breakfast we needed a nice long walk, which was exactly what we got. We walked along the south bank of the river through countless neighborhoods, peeking in houses, imagining life if we moved there. Every wrought iron balcony, all the pretty girls on bikes with baguettes in their baskets, every breeze rustling the trees lining the tiny French streets, all produced little gasps of romance from my lips. Not to mention that Paris is full of really really ridiculously good looking people! Fashion week was approaching and models were out in abundance hustling with their portfolios to and from castings. I did not get to stalk Karl the day before as planned so I resolved to do so that afternoon, right after I got my bag bill had promised to buy me :)
But first we needed to conquer the Eiffel tower. As we approached the lawns in front of the tower we saw, and I'm not exaggerating one bit, 11 weddings getting photographed. I started laughing when I thought of the poor brides who must have thought "honey! Let's get our photos done in front the Eiffel tower! It will be so romantic!" and you show up and 10 other bitches are there ruining your day. I was ecstatic about just being there. It was a gorgeous day with clear blue skies and it was hot, I had shorts on at the end of sept! We opted to walk up the first two landings because the line looked horrendous and I wanted to work off all the cheese I ate the last few days. We stopped at the first landing, sprawled out on a bench and bill took a nap. I gazed over the Paris skyline trying not to think too deeply or philosophically about the moment, I just wanted to be present and enjoy.
We climbed up to the second landing, looked around, then we took the elevator to the top. My newfound fear of heights kicked in on the elevator ride because it is reeeaaalllllyyyy freaking high! I also laughed at the people buying €15 glasses of champagne at the top. Why? The glasses weren't even glass, they were plastic. Real classy guys! What was cool was there were markers around the top saying how far certain destinations were. Delhi was 6600 kilometers (4101 miles) ahead of us, New York was 5849 km (3634) behind us. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the distances we've travelled, and where we are going. We took some pics, hung out for a bit then went back to the second level, walked back to the first level and got some beers and sat in the cafe.
Our conversation turned to India again. I decided a long time ago to enter our India experience with zero expectations, which meant not thinking about it at all. The entire time we were in Europe we rarely spoke about India outside of making our travel and volunteer arrangements. We never speculated on what it might be like, we didn't discuss what we wanted to do (besides me saying over and over and over that I wanted to take an elephant ride) we really felt the whole experience needed to just happen and we had to absorb it. It's extremely dangerous to walk into any situation with preconceived notions about how you think it's going to go down. You will most likely be horrified/disappointed. When I was sitting in the upstairs of the Brooklyn conservatory on my wedding day with my parents I was downing champagne, sweating, fanning myself, I was so nervous and the magnitude of the event was really like, smacking me in the face, I uttered the phrase "this is happening" and that's been our motto for during this whole trip. This is happening. So pull up your panties and deal with it. (on a side note, I was nervous, sweating and fanning myself with happiness. I always down tons of champagne in the early morning so that was nothing out of the ordinary)
Anyways, we finally made it to the ground after spending 3 blissful hours in the Eiffel tower. Now it was shopping time! We made our way up Ave George V, stopping in Balenciaga. Oh crocodile skin tote bag! How I wanted to hold you in my arms, sing soothing lullabies to you, carry you around New York with me everywhere I went. Too bad you were €15,000. oh well, another day. I have my whole life to get rich. Wait, BILL has his whole life to get rich. Yeah I like that better. and before I hear a lot of crap from PETA, I'd like to point out that I've never met a croc who DIDN'T want to be a Balenciaga bag, have you? I peered into Yves St. Laurent, pressed my face up against the glass at Gaultier, gazed into the window at Hermes for many many minutes while explaining who Hermes is to Bill. There was no point in going into any of these stores because it was going to make me want things I couldn't have. So we went to Louis Vuitton. And stood in line behind a bazillion Asians waiting to enter the store. Why do Asians always travel in packs of at least 35? can someone explain this to me?
I like Louis Vuitton and I'm actually quite fond of Marc Jacobs. I like the stuff he does for LV much more than his namesake line. I wanted something plain and discrete. I don't have a problem with the logo bags but they aren't personally my taste, no matter who the designer is. The problem is, it's hard to find anything in the LV store that doesn't have a logo on it. I finally picked out the black leather Mirabeau bag:
It was chic, timeless and beautifully made. I was slowly transfixed by the shiny silver hardware, feeling it's weight in my hands, the way it sat in the crook of my arm, I pictured dozens of outfits I could pair it with. I pictured a shelf in my non existent closet it could sit nicely on, nestled cosy in it's velvet bag. Bill loved it and started to signal over one of the salespeople.....and then I snapped back to reality. Buying an expensive bag the day before we were flying to India to volunteer with slum kids in Delhi was kind of an asshole thing to do. The cost of that bag could feed 10 kids for an entire year. Besides, what was I going to do with this bag? It wouldn't fit in my suitcase and what's the fun of buying something so fabulous only to have it shipped home and not see it for 3 months? Bill was really trying to convince me that I should have it but I put it back and walked out of the store, taking a raincheck for when we get home.
On our way back to the hotel we stumbled upon a full blown orchestra in the metro. I've seen a lot of things in the NYC subway, but an orchestra is not one of them. I love Paris. Even the metro is romantic!!!
After we rested up we went to Chez Francis. I know that is def a tourist spot but it has, undoubtedly, the best view of the Eiffel tower. We got a prime seat and bill let me sit facing the tower during our meal. He couldn't understand why I was getting so emotional during dinner but when we switched seats he exclaimed "ooooh! I get it now! Ask me anything, quick, while I'm transfixed by the view". The food was delicious, we got oysters to start and they were ginormous. Bill had a pasta dish and I don't remember what I had because the whole scene was too enchanting to remember all these little details. on the hour the entire tower sparkles for about 5 minutes and it really is the single prettiest thing I've ever seen in my life. We had finished our dinner and walked over to the river to catch the midnight sparkle and once again, I burst into tears. I had come a looonnnng way to get to this point. Not just physically, but this moment was a whole lotta years of emotional and mental growth. It took endless amounts of hard work, dedication and love and now I was finally able to thank myself in this amazing way. We were standing on the precipice, ready to dive into India and Paris was the most perfect place to send us off from Europe into the unknown. Bill commented that though Vienna was beautiful, Paris was alive. It certainly made me feel the most alive, excited, seduced and wondrous than any other place on earth.