no compass, no northstar…

in paris, you can spend six hours nursing a drink at a restaurant or cafe and no one will be even slightly bothered…in fact, no one even brings you a check unless you ask for it…i’d witnessed this numerous times when i’ve been in europe in the past – but i find that it’s even more prevalent here…i appreciate this and took full advantage of it after i had brunch at a lovely little cafe near my apartment…i had brought reading material as well as my notebook and enjoyed the sidewalk seating so much that i just read and wrote for the rest of the afternoon without incident…i did order a drink or two periodically…it’s nice that the french seem to start drinking sometime around eleven and, while rarely drunk, seem always buzzed…

i took it easy on friday because it was unbearably hot outside and couldn’t fathom wandering around the city all day in the heat…although, inexplicably, i did get up early enough to go for a six mile run…i ran opposite the direction i have been running to explore the canal a little east of my apartment…it ended up being about a six mile run with a few breaks in between to admire a park or art installation…this is much longer than i usually run (three miles is normally my limit) but only because of the random entertainment breaks…i did find that running was a nice way of covering ground relatively quickly while checking out interesting parts of the neighborhoods…all that said, i have been running consistently for a few months now…and i still fucking hate it…

i spend the rest of my friday writing at home and working on some music…i hit the sack early because i needed to get up in the morning to meet my buddy bill at mam…bill is a friend from high school who played trombone in the band…we weren’t the closest of friends but he was certainly always one of the nicer guys i remember and i hadn’t seen him in 12 years…we caught up quickly as we examined the museums offerings…

mam is one of the few free museums paris has to offer and despite being ignored because of some the larger attractions – it boasts a gigantic permanent gallery…we spent nearly three hours wandering around the many rooms and i found a lot of the exhibits really interesting…my favorite was a series of 3d “paintings” that mixed paint with broken down pieces of various machines – from radios to skateboards…

since the museum was located right by the seine, we took a walk along the water after our visit to look for a lunch spot…we found a pretty typical brasserie and had lunch…i had a croque vegetarien which was decent but i’d certainly had better…we lounged around there and just chatted about a lot of things from life in our respective cities to our frustration with the political landscape of the us…then we did what everyone does when they visit paris…walk…

we walked along the seine, made our way to the jardin du tuileries…i should note here, that somehow, someway, you always end up here when you walk around paris…it was remarkably free of crowds considering it was saturday and the weather was incredible (which we noted to each other numerous times)…we found a place to sit in front of the fountain and relaxed for a while…then we wandered under the shade and found another pair of chairs to rest in…see a theme arising?…these reclined and naturally we ended up falling asleep in the garden for about an hour…when we woke we walked down to the louvre so bill could get a sense of where exactly it was – he’s planning to spend a couple of days there next week…we walked away from the center and the hustle and bustle that was, naturally, building around the museum…

we started hunting for some ice cream off the beaten path and noticed how quickly paris becomes quiet when you get off a main drag…we found a nice italian restaurant that was only serving ice cream in between lunch and dinner and sat down…he had a lemon sorbet and i had a coffee gelato…both were incredible…afterwards we people watched, took in the nice weather and killed another hour or so (i stopped paying attention to the time)…recharged, we walked some more…

this time we ended back making our way over to the gare du nord area…once there, i suggested we head into the sri lankan neighborhood to get some food…bill had never had south indian food before and i’d wanted to check out saravana bhaven – a south indian chain that is typically excellent (though the one in nyc is disappointing)…we started with couple of kingfishers (an indian beer that my appa loves)…and shared a few idlies, dosas and vadas…i was really impressed with the quality of the food – particularly the sambar – bill noticed this as well and enjoyed it…so far, i’d say SB beats khrisna bhaven…although the coconut chutney was definitely better there…

sambar vada

sambar vada

kingfisher beer

kingfisher!

masala dosa

masala dosa

 

we went our separate ways after dinner and i made the relatively short walk back to my apartment…i was exhausted from being out all day and took a shower and crashed…after my morning brunch, i spent the day writing and then found myself with a deep craving for some mexican food…i did a little research and found a lovely little hole-in-the wall joint near the canal st martin…i walked over there and picked up a vegetarian burrito from el nopal…the guys there were super friendly and they made this thing extra spicy for me…

el nopal

el nopal

i took it down to the canal as the restaurant literally had no seating and i sat by the water…it was exactly the way i’d hoped it would be and i pretty much destroyed it in about ten minutes…i people watched for a while – mostly couples making out on a nice sunday evening…and then headed back home…

i’m not sure what i have on the agenda for tomorrow…but i’m leaning heavily towards a trip to centre pompidou…which probably means i’ll be eating another falafel sandwich too…win-win…

ooxx aa

 

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