12.03.2012 - 13.03.2012
Ok, not herpes, but a horrible fever that left me convulsing and bed ridden. And really, I can only blame myself.
As with any dirty seductress, Paris wasted no time. We went crazy on each other for five days. Day and night exploring all our senses, pushing our bodies to the limit, sweating, aching and yearning for more and more. However, I am sorry to say that in the end I couldn't handle her. Her ferocity got to me on the 6th day and I was out for the count. Paris had left me broke, wet and confused.
Well thats what it felt like. In reality, Mel and I had an absolute blast, but admittedly did way more than our bodies could handle and I paid for it. But, getting to that point was spectacular, and if I had an option, I dont know if I wouldve done things much differently.
So we flew into France from Scotland, our last native English speaking destination for the next 4 months, feeling a bit anxious about the language and and the stories everyone said about how much they love Paris, but how rude and arrogant Parisians are. Well our host and the first Parisian we met, Marie, picked us up at the airport some 2 hours out of the city, after taking the day off to do so, which was incredible. Marie knew Mel from working together briefly some three years ago, but I was a complete stranger. None the less we had been invited to stay with her parents at their home, and man did we feel welcome.
Again, blown away by the generosity and hospitality of others, we were greeted with welcoming arms. Maries parents had prepared for us a magnificent feast soaked in French tradition. So delicious. I wont describe it here cause I'll be drooling on the keyboard, but we were definitely spoilt. Lets just say a perfect combination of wines, meat and cheese. And this hospitality was to be the norm for the whole week, shattering all previous anxiety and expected French stereotypes, and despite the language barrier, we all felt a lot closer when we left. I even remember at one point thinking that the next person that tells me that French people are rude and arrogant, are going to tell the next person that Australians are crazy and violent cause I would've punched them in the face.
Anyway, the sun was out, and we were ready to embark on our Parisian adventures. After the spectacular lunch, Marie took us into the city to get our first taste of Paris's alluring perfume. Turns out it was literally the scent of piss and dog excrement that filled the air, but somehow the cities charm and nature over powered it. To get our bearings, we jumped on one of the canal boats for a cruise down the Seine.
Like a wide eyed wanderer I gazed upon the city of romantic dreams, of artistic pilgrimage, of proud history and rich culture. The lazy caress of the boats hull against the waters surface juxtaposed the frenzied flurry of my eyes, trying desperately to lick every detail of every monument and taste every facet of life on the river. With a dumb smile I took a million photos like any good tourist, pausing only to soak in some piece of new magnificence discovered for the first time, or occasionally reciprocate a friendly wave from the riverbank. The riverbank itself produced a great insight to current Parisian life. Again the melting pot of Europe's old and new was appreciated as on the water underneath a cathedral some thousand years old, framed by a bridge of intricate detail, groups of friends huddled and laughed, drinking wine and eating and playing music together. And it is a reminder that such buildings arent just important because they are old, but are representative of the history itself, shaping not only the city, but the lives of its inhabitants as well, both past and present.
Still buzzing from the realisation that we were in Paris, Marie then led us through some of the districts in search for cheese, the oxygen of the French. We ended up in an awesome little boutique store, procuring the ingredients for dinner.
And well, dinner was amazing also. Cheese, bread and wine. Perfect. Admittedly, although I loved the idea of just cheese for dinner, I was sceptical of its practical success, but it worked. And we also got to share it with more lovely French people, Julian, Maries boyfriend, and Noel, their friend, who had the displeasure of having his name translated to English and consequently being called Christmas for the remainder of the night. I actually think it will stick.
So day one of the cities seduction was complete. We had flirted, and she had teased, revealing glimpses of herself that only left me wanting more. And although I went to bed that night with Melissa, I was dreaming of her, of Paris, and all the crazy things the three of us could do together.