Wednesday, October 17, 2012

France trip - Part I

So I got back home last Sunday night, and have not posted yet because I spent the last two nights trying to upload photos to my Facebook account. The internet connection here is so slow that by the time I’ve uploaded everything, man will have landed on the moon. What’s that you say? He already has?!? Wow!
See how information transfer is slow around here?...

I arrived in Paris in the afternoon of September 28. I had briefly considered marking my route and taking the train and subway to make my way to the hotel, but quickly dismissed it thinking I’d be exhausted from the long flight Maputo-Lisbon, then connection to Paris. Plus I knew a bunch of people had arrived in the morning and would already be gathered at a nearby restaurant when I arrived, so I wanted to make it there quickly!
I confess I took a step back when I arrived at the hotel – it’s a nice building, but when you go in, there’s a room with a small reception desk, a long table with plastic chairs for breakfast, and some sofas covered with what seemed to be white bed sheets! I guess since it was the Hotel des Arts, we can call the sheets artsy… (although I was thinking more of the other word that goes with artsy...) The room was clean and the location is great, close enough to a subway station, so it was all good.

I proceeded to the restaurant and immediately recognized Susan Lenart Kazmer. After all, I have her book, follow her blog, have her DVD, love her jewelry and she is as welcoming and flamboyant in person as she looks on the screen and print.
We had wine, cheese, introduced each other and ended up staying in that place for dinner as well. Everyone was tired, and some people had taken hours to get to the hotel on the subway/train option. Not good when you’re carrying hammers, pliers, anvils and such…

That first night, Susan had a bunch of prayer boxes with words inside for us to choose from. We couldn’t peek to see the words, supposedly the words would choose us, and would be the words we needed at this point in life.

My words were Playfulness and Gratitude. And that got me thinking. I guess I don’t play enough, really. Although I think I’m playful and I’m known among my friends for my laughter. But I also tend to be quite serious and responsible most of the time. I guess making jewelry is my playtime. But I should really lighten up on other aspects of my life and play more.
As for gratitude… for sure, I’m not always grateful for all I have. Aren’t we all guilty of that? Getting wrapped up in the “I wish I could”, “I wish I had” and not looking around to see the beauty that surrounds us? So go on now, right this minute, think of three things you’re grateful for. As I write, I’m grateful I met new friends, that I had a chance to see my family in Portugal, that the sky was so blue in Paris and elsewhere. I’d love to know your 3 things. Drop me a line, won’t you?

Next morning, we went to the Portes de Vanves flea market, with Jen Cushman leading us through the Paris subway maze. Jen is exactly as I pictured her to be, warm, gentle but assertive, and looking out for everyone.

Now I’m not really a flea market person. Not that I don’t love them, it’s just I’m not so good at pinpointing interesting items amongst all the chaos, unless they jump into my lap and speak to me. And as in this case they would do it in French, I probably wouldn’t understand them either J
Still, I bought a few things I really like: a 1920’s brooch which I will use as a bezel, a small ivory carved tube with a delicate crystal perfume bottle inside which I have no idea what to do with yet, an old Bible with some nice images to use in resin, antique lace, an old leather small pouch, some small frames I intend to use as bezels as well...


After lunch, some people wanted to go back to the flea market, others wanted to do other stuff, and I decided to go to the Galeries Lafayette, with my new friend Cathy Allen. Cathy is a beautiful gentle soul with a devilish sense of humor and I feel blessed I met her.
The Galeries Lafayette is a huge department store in Paris; I had just glanced inside on my previous trip to Paris because it was Christmas and it felt like the inside of a can of sardines. And I’m too small to be smashed between fellow sardines and covered in tomato sauce or olive oil… It was very busy now, but manageable. And I got to take pictures of the exquisite glass dome and the gilded balustrades inside.


We all met up back at the hotel that evening, and headed out. We stopped near the Eiffel Tower for some gorgeous pictures. I love how colorful and happy we all look – it seems everyone got the memo to bring scarves and clothes that would look cheerful together!

Susan, me, Jen, Cathy and Patti
We made our way to the Bateaux Mouche, the boats that take you on a cruise of the Seine river, either by day or night.
I had done it before by day with my hubby. But night time is magical, with all the buildings illuminated in all their glory. It was also the only time in my trip I almost froze my ass off!
Even the moon was on our side that night – it was a beautiful full moon… Thank you moon! Hope man didn’t hurt you too much when he landed on you...

Like Cathy said, it was better than the Jungle Ride at Disneyworld!!!
On my next blog post, the emotional Musée d’Orsay, mimes, and wonderful Montmartre, where beguiling cathedrals, bohemian artists and prostitutes share the same hills.

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing the trip through your eyes. Had to laugh at your description of me. I guess I am a bit assertive. LOL. Nice to know tyou softened it with the word gentle before it. Can't wait to read your continuing adventures in France my new friend!


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