Joie de Vivre

Rubbing the crusty sleep from my eyes I looked out our window and this is what I saw:

Apparently, the bane of my existence managed to follow me to Paris.
He stopped. Moved his bowels and without so much of a backwards glance, ambled on.
In the absence of a leash law (and apparently a poop litter law as well) french dogs seem calm, poised and self-possessed. Clearly this is no place for my dog, Junior, the anti-thesis of all that is calm, poised and self-possessed.

We stayed in an area called St. Germain de Pres.
Our unmarked hotel was on a quiet little side street
(translation: difficult to find especially when you are laden with a non-rolling duffel bag),
off the beaten path.
It was priced $100-200 LESS than any other hotel I canvassed- comfortable, endearing and intimate.

I was stunned to discover that just a few doors down was:

Some people get goose bumps when they enter
Notre Dame or Sacre Couer...but not me.
Irie did it for me.
My absolute favorite skirt procured from a second-hand store in NYC is from this obscure store. After I purchased this skirt,
I looked up its tag. It was from an arrondissement (neighborhood) in Paris.
I had no idea that I would actually end up entering this store a few years later.
(extremely over-priced, I walked out empty handed)
Forget the fact that I chased and missed my first bus to get to the airport from my house...
(like a mentos commercial)
or that I nearly missed my connecting flight to Paris due to air traffic--
Finding myself sleeping a few steps from Irie, I took as a sign that this trip was meant to be.

The metro was great for people watching.
Although this headless man led many people to opt for an alternative exit,
We were undeterred--as being from Manila, we've seen everything.
Anyhow, it was the best way around the city.
Once we got our bearings we zipped to the:


the Eiffel Tower,

Arc de Triomphe (oops. wrong arc, different sister. nyc/2000)

and Champs Elysees.

By nightfall all I wanted to do was eat because whether it was at
Taverne de St. Germaine for mussels and escargot
(thanks to Ken and Jan for this excellent recommendation),
Le Pres Aux Clercs
for scrumptious huge prawns
(a Hemingway favourite close to our hotel),
Bar de Marche
, crepes at a food stand, kropek at a french-vietnamese store
or a parisian McDonalds--the food was not only affordable but tastily explosive.

Needless to say every night I was exhausted.
My sister Charissa had been lobbying for a boat ride on the Seine.
For some reason, I wasn't up to it.
One evening, curled up in bed with the covers drawn up to my chin, I thought to myself:

I am such a shmuck. How often do we get to come here and spend this time together in Paris...one boat ride is not going to kill me.

So I hopped out of bed and exclaimed:
"tonight is the perfect night for a boat ride!!!"

Charissa was right. The view of Paris at night from the Seine is beautiful.

My sister and I are different in more ways than one.
While she actually gasps at the sight and smell of flowers:

My heart beats for the sight and smell of leather
such as these brand new never-worn Prada boots I purchased in a second-hand store in the 16th arrondissement:

Despite our differences and our 10 year age gap, being in Paris as a first time for both of us was truly the best.
Thank you Charissa, for going to that other museum without me.
While you were enjoying Monet's Water Lilies in
Musee de l'Orangerie, I was snoring away.
When I woke, I clipped my toenails while soaking in a bubble bath.

Such is the joy of life.