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19 July, 2014

Day 16: Last day and humidity

We slept pretty late today. It was a late night, and we'd also been getting progressively more worn out from all of the activity each day. There was also surely the pending emotional letdown of knowing that this trip will end, and we will return to regular life.

We had breakfast at our go-to place around the corner. It seems lame to keep going to the same place every morning. I know. But coffee is a bodily function. You don't want to mess around with that. It's like when you're in the wilderness and setting up camp. The first thing one must do is identify a source of fresh water.

There is a part of the city that is supposed to have some artsy stuff and shops that Allie was excited to visit. It is called Rue St. Paul. We went there. It was humid. It was hot. We were tired. We walked there through some indirect route, along Rue Dauphine, across the river, and eventually found ourselves there. There were many shops. It was like a farmer's market atmosphere on the street, with many options. Everything looked interesting. Actually, maybe it wasn't like a farmer's market. Maybe I am confusing that with another city. Another time. I looked at some Google images. Maybe it was this trip, this town. Maybe it was this street. Maybe it was like a farmer's market. Nobody can say for sure. Except anyone who has been there and has a better memory that I do.

Okay. This is a shitty blog.

We bought berries. Did I say that already?

Wait. It gets better. I remember this part.

We were wandering. This day was mostly wandering. And we came across a 15-piece string ensemble playing beautiful music near the archway between a couple of old buildings. There was a small crowd gathered. We were just passing by, but there was not really any way to resist standing and listening for a few minutes, because it was good. You wouldn't encounter this in Seattle. Or Kansas. Definitely not in Kansas.

We wandered more.

To Villages St. Paul, because Allie wanted to find fabric. She did find fabric. She bought some. I was hot, but trying to be patient since she loves fabric.

We had lunch at Au Bouquet St. Paul. My notes claim that we had a burger and a mozzarella salad. This is completely beyond my recollection. I wonder if Allie remembers that. Even looking at a Google image of this restaurant only jogs the vaguest of memories.

We were dragging this day. I remember that. We were tired and maybe a bit down. I remember that. And I remember what happened next. We decided it was too far to walk home, so we went into the Metro to take the train. The train in Paris has two doors. There's the door to the train itself. Then there's the glass wall that borders the tracks, with a glass sliding door that opens when the train arrives. This is to keep you from falling or jumping on the tracks, I guess? So, I grew up in Boston. It was not uncommon to be almost missing the train, and try to board as the doors were closing, and if the doors hit you, they either spring back open, or you push them open. Either case, no problem.

DO NOT TRY THIS IN THE METRO IN PARIS.

The glass doors do not stop. They do not bounce. They cannot be pried, reasoned with, or otherwise. If the bell rings, and you are not on the train, only extend those limbs that you are willing to lose, because the glass door will close, pin you, and you will be destroyed.

This is what happened, except for the destruction part. The Metro terminal was very crowded. As we were boarding the train, Allie was just a few paces ahead of me. She got on the train. The bell rang. I attempted to continue getting on the train. The glass door slammed on me, and pinned me. The train door started to close, and all I could do in this panic was think, "I have 2 options: separate from Allie, or die." So I desperately attempted to pull myself free of the glass door, in the "not toward the train" direction. I figured, if the glass door is willing to pin me, I am sure the train is willing to kill me.

So now we were separated. Oh yeah. I forgot. And one of us had a dead phone. I can't remember which of is it was. Probably me. And I don't think she knew my phone was dead. So now it's a battle of wits. What will she do? What should I do? What does she think I will do? What do I think she will do? To be honest with you, I don't even remember what we did. I was hoping that she would not get off at the next stop and come back. Because that could be confusing. I also didn't know if she would go all the way back to the apartment and meet me there, which I think involved more than one train line, but maybe not. I believe she exited one stop later and waited for me at the next stop. Somehow we made reasonable choices, and reconnected. I felt like an idiot, which I really shouldn't have, but did. The heat. The fatigue.

We went to the apartment and rested.

Then we decided we would go to Sacre Couer, because we both had nice memories of it from before. To get there, we needed to take some strange train route because the regular train one would want to take was not running, or something. And we needed to go through what might have been a bad neighborhood? I don't know. It's also possible that I am just a xenophobic, paranoid freak, and we were in the hippest part of town. But I don't think so. It was definitely edgy. And when we got off the train we stood out like a sore thumb, and still had a reasonably long walk to get where we wanted to be. But we were fine, and it was all worrying for nothing. to get to the viewpoint at Sacre Couer was up many steep slopes and steps. And when we arrived, what we found shocked us both. It was a huge party scene of drunken idiots with litter everywhere, and general unpleasantness. Basically, I think it's the difference between visiting on a weeknight in March (my previous visit) versus a weekend in midsummer. The latter is a bad idea. We stuck around only long enough to gawk at the scene. Then we walked down the many stairs on the front of Sacre Couer (having ascended from the side), to the streets below (others were taking a tram). We were in a limbo state between hungry and not, and settled on Gelato.

I don't know how we got back to the apartment. It must have involved a train. And it must not have been eventful enough to have a line item in my notes.

This was our last day in Paris. The last day of our trip. I am sure I will visit Paris again, one day, barring a premature death. Even in spite of the recent terrorism in the world, which definitely makes me apprehensive at this moment, I am sure that my attitude will shift, and my passion for these places will prevail.

I write this entry almost 19 months after our trip ended. I am not sure why it has taken me this long to write these entries. At the bottom of this post, I leave behind the remnant of the notes that were used as my reference from each day. Without these tiny little reminders, I would never have been able to write this after the fact.

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We slept pretty late today after the late night, following afternoon naps and coffee.
Breakfast around the corner again
Walk to Rue St. Paul via long indirect path along Rue Dauphine, across river, etc.
Explore many small shops
Buy some berries
See 15-piece string ensemble
Wander more
Wander to Villages St. Paul and look at goods for sale (Allie buys fabric)
Find lunch at Au Bouquet St. Paul (Burger / Mozzarella Salad)
Train back from there (get separated at station)
Rest from the heat and humidity.
Weird train ride
Sacre Couer?
Gelato

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