Daily Archives: February 19, 2022

still in paris

Ah , Paris in the Springtime !

Well , when that Spring equinox rolls around we’ll be back home in California .

Ah , Arcadia in the Springtime !

They won’t be watering down the sidewalks in Arcadia like they do here in Paris . Small green trucks come along periodically to wash down the sidewalks . At times water rushes along the gutters and sometimes there are city crews with spindly plastic brooms and green uniforms to hurry it along . That would never happen in drought-ridden California . Even watering down your driveway is illegal in Los Angeles county .

When we get back to Arcadia we won’t have a boulangerie on the corner to buy a baguette or maybe a couple of croissants or a fancy small pastry for breakfast . In earlier days the main drag near the house had a few bakeries . There were also a few meat markets and and several stores that specialized in selling fruit . There was a rambling business that sold refreshments and fruit to tourists who came along that last part of Route 66 ; but then the city fathers changed the course of Route 66 for a mile or so through the city so it from then on it stretched along Huntington Blvd and left our nearby street dejected and forlorn . Long before my time .

These Paris streets are packed with walking people all day long . They say that people don’t walk in Los Angeles and I think that’s pretty much true . People hop into their cars to go a quarter mile to the supermarket . Paris , with regard to that , is a horse of a different color , at least in the 18th arrondissement where Ada and I are staying . The place is packed with small eateries , small markets of all kinds , a few larger supermarkets and an assortment of other small businesses such as barbers , shoemakers , plumbing places , laundries , and phone stores . There is a Renault car dealership next door that is , in my experience , a tiny place with only six or seven cars on display in their tiny lot . That’s not what I’m used to in California . Car dealers back home control multiple acres of space .

Several of the buildings here have the architect’s name inscribed on the exterior with the date of construction . As is often the case , the older buildings are more beautiful than the newer ones . They show more style and decorative work than almost any of the newer buildings .
The truth is , I think , that I am not a city person . All the people beetling around the streets is unfamiliar to me and make me a little nervous . I’m not used to it . The tall buildings that line the mostly narrow streets make me a little claustrophobic . The little tables that line the exterior of the cafes and bistros don’t seem to appeal to me since I’ve been here in Paris . Part of the reason is that it’s just too cold to be sitting out on the sidewalk sipping my beer or coffee as the bundled hoards stroll by .

As it begins to get dark there is a clattering of metal shutters on apartment windows being closed . Most of them seemed to be on the first two floors of the buildings so I assumed that they were for security ; but many people closed their shutters up on the higher floors . I asked Ada’s sister about that . She explained that French people like to sleep in dark rooms , so the shutters shut out light ; but also they are for security , she said , and privacy too . All three , she said , but then I think that she began to wonder why they do it too . A good question , she said . After all , she’s an immigrant here ; she’s only lived here for thirty or forty years so far .


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