monday, september 29th
Well, dear Reader,
it has been weeks and then months before this Reporter found some time to lay on the page her informed and judicious thoughts, but such is the industrious life of a judicious person.
So, we are back in Paris and it is Fall. [ see picture below ]
So as you can see,
the Reporter has adopted white socks.
It is that innocent look that is so dear to the Fall feeling and the Back to School Happenings.
Now, do not get too excited, dear Reader, the Reporter is not yet back on the benches of any sort of educative place.
Fact of matter is, that, life in Paris, is exceedingly complex.
First, everyone is back from holidays. And everyone talks about it. But the French do not talk about their holidays like the Americans do.
Ask any American what his holiday was like, he will answer very excitedly :" Well you know we decided to visit Portugal, as we had never been there, and we wanted to taste the Port, which is from the Porto region, and oh my, that was sensational, and we wanted to see the beaches, in the Algarve, and my God, the sand and the water, and the ice-creams stores, oh my God, the kids and the wife, we had a tremendous time !" And then you walk away, and you feel so good about your friend's holiday, and you punch a reminder on your I phone to check the prices for the Algarve for next year.
Not so at all for the French.
First you have to understand, that in France, there is a good intentions-monarch, at the head of the country, and everyone is swimming in wealth., contrarily to what might be published so crassly in the press. Francois Hollande will tell you that all is going swimmingly.
But the really educated thing in France is to be very discreet about your holiday, and appear not too happy about its results.
So, if you are French, you meet Francois, and ask him how his holidays was, and he will say something like,
" Well, you know, it rained a lot."
Which in fact, it did, for one of the longest time this summer, in France, this year. Then Francois will tell you, " Oh we did very little, we decided to go visit Aunt Helene, in Correze."
And immediately, as the frenchman you are, and who knows about geography, you can envision Correze, which is one the most beautifully greyest places in France, and often it does rain there. Mind you, there are some beautiful villages, and beautiful grey houses with grey slate roofs, and beautiful grey barns, and antique grey bridges, and lots of dust grey oaks, so it is in fact quite harmonious in its own way.
And then you ask, because you have a good heart, " ... And it rained ? " and your friend nods silently that it did.
And of course, then, you can visualize grey rain too. I mean, you do then feel sorry for your friend. We don't have none of that slightly vulgar enthusiasm for the white beaches of the Algarve, see ?
So you walk away from your Francois, and you do feel this aura of sadness around him.
Then you meet along the way another friend of yours and Francois, who is Bernard. And you say,
" Hello, Bernard !! So how was your holidays ? " and then Bernard says, " Oh you know, same as last year, we went to my parents house near Ste Maxime [ that's the mediterranean riviera ] and it was fine, too many tourists but ok.' And Bernard sighs, nods silently contemplating the sidewalk, and looks a little depressed, but then he smiles as he looks up and says, " But you know, Francois came to visit with his wife and kids. They had a really bad weather in Correze." and then Bernard nods again silently looking down, and his face is sorrowful.
And you feel again curiously depressed now for both Bernard and Francois.
That's how it is with distinguished french conversations on holidays.
Now the Reporter who never asks anyone about their holidays, decided to go to Chantilly [ that's close to Paris but north, in fact not so far from the De Gaulle Airport ] to check out there the Fra Angelico show, because the Reporter being relatively uneducated will not miss one occasion to acquire some sort of superficial varnish passing for accomplishment.
So here is one example of this pretty marvelous exhibit.
By Giovanni di Paolo, a nice group of angels,
quite charming really with their tiny tiny little hands.
And then Esther fainting in front of Assuerus by Filippino Lippi,
Poor Esther, she looked horribly emotional.
But then... it was the turn of the Reporter to completely fall apart in front of that drawing of a young man by the same author,
So the Reporter decided she needed something to restore herself from so many emotions, and she went to the fish store and there, other views brought her back on Earth :
First there was some soles and bass :
there was some gigantic shrimp and monk fish :
ans last was
some colin [ indigenous fish to the french ] and ray
and suddenly all the sights of these glorious fish centered the soul of the Reporter in the right way, as for sure in france there is a wrong way to feel centered, and she realized you can get enough culture in one day.
And then she went shopping for a little glass of wine, and tidbits for friends, in her white vulnerable socks,
and then she retired to her rooms early.