17 Mai - We met our neighbor down the hall (down the hall is about twenty feet). She is a sweet, young Italian girl who came to Paris for a job. Her English is flawless, in fact, when I heard her speak, I thought she was an American. She came to borrow a screwdriver.
We walked down to the bus stop to take a ride to the Champs de Mars, but remembered we needed to buy wine and a few other things, so we went to the marché a few feet away. We got the wine and we also got two huge blocks of paté for €1. We are still in a state of shock about that. So we took it all back to the apartment, and while we were putting the stuff away, it began to pour.
We decided to take advantage of the situation to have some paté and wine.
After, we were undecided whether to go out or not, but decided to go anyway. If it rains, it rains; if it doesn't, so much the better. We walked down and got the bus to the Champs de Mars. When we got to the École Militaire, we got off. Then we had to decide whether to walk to the Champs de Mars or to the Grand Palais. Kylie had told me that Saturday night a lot of the museums were having a freebie from 18h00 to minuit (12:00 PM). We opted for the Grand Palais, so we set off in that direction. To get to the Grand Palais, one must cross le Pont Alexander III, a fascinating structure with a lot of worthy art on its own. I love the lamp posts and the detail the architects included. We crossed over just in time to see the Champagne Cruise go by.
We finally arrived at the Grand Palais. It was not free but it was half-priced. We entered by way of the very ornate front portico. Okay, how can I say it? The exhibit at the GP, which was being heavily advertised here in Paris, was simply ridiculous. Some artiistic types might think it's great but, I'm sorry, to me and Robb it was just lame. The steel slabs that Richard Serra came up with are each 56 feet high, 13 feet wide and 5 ½ inches thick, and each weighs some 73 tons. I may not be an artist, but I'm certain, given the opportunity to exhibit in the Grand Palais of Paris, I could have come up with something a hell of a lot more interesting. And then, to add insult to injury, they give you an audio player in which the artist explains the profundity of his work. My god, what a load of bullshit. Of course, there were the dimwits who had no clue, so they thought they could appear to be cool and with-it if they ooh-ed and ahh-ed. We were just about to leave, in fact, we had left and were waiting under the portico for the rain to stop, when lo and behold, Monsieur Serra, himself, showed up in a fanfare with newscameras flashing all the while. We didn't bother going back in to check out the festivities.
Instead, we caught the bus to the bus stop. For some reason, when the bus arrived, I was certain it was the 63 bus and we got on. As we were riding along, it suddenly dawned on me that it was the 83. Ooops. So we rode it to the end of the line, got back on and returned to Place d'Italie, where we could get the 57 bus. But on our way to the bus stop, we decided to stop at l'Ecran Italie for dinner.
And what a dinner it was. We started with a Kir Royal. Then, Robb had his usual salad and I had Escargot Bourgogne, probably the best I've ever had. For our main course, Robb had duck, as usual, but I had the most wonderful Poulet au Curry. Even Robb had to admit that it was a hundred times better than his duck. We were both too full for dessert and finished with a café.
Although he was exceptionally nice to us, I did notice that the waiter treated people of color with some disdain. One guy he treated that way was not even African, but appeared to be Indian. I was kind of surprised, but the people he was insulting seemed to expect it and made no obvious objections.
After dinner, things got a bit strange. We got the right bus, but missed our stop. We wandered around the Gare de Lyon for a while until I finally, totally by accident, saw our bus and we got on.
Plus à venir, mes amis.