Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Yesterday we came from London to Paris on the Eurostar. Of course it’s just another tunnel, but I had never gone under the Channel before and I found it very exciting, even if everyone else on the train was fast asleep. Our hotel is in the Place d’Italie, in the 13th. It is adjacent to a very lovely neighborhood, with a number of small restaurants and a very homey feel to it. I’m afraid that Renee and I were exhausted and slept through the morning – my wife, who always wakes up at 6:00 am no matter what the time zone and is ready to march across the city, was not so thrilled but was able to adjust to husband and daughter’s laziness. I’m now sitting through Professor Viano’s really outstanding introductory lecture on the founding and evolution of the EU – it’s terrific, I’m learning a lot, and I thought I knew a lot (it is always helpful even with stuff you know to hear a well-organized review, it helps sort it out and organize it in your head). I wish, actually, my kid were sitting in. She’s shopping with her mother. Someplace called Agnes B. Hmm – I’m starting to wonder if this trip will actually break even. But I’m skipping out early from the lecture in order to go to the Pantheon, which is perhaps a mile from here walking. The weather, once again, is fabulous – in the low 80s and blue skies and sunshine. (The only difficulty in all this – and it is minor – it is hard to get web access in the hotels – wi fi in the lobby, but the connection is very slow and unreliable.)

(I normally don’t drink coffee, but on this trip I seem to be having a very tough time changing my internal clock, so I’ve been drinking espresso mixed with chocolate. Also, I have been yelling at my kid to stand up straight – French posture is so good compared to American slouching, and my kid is first on the list of American slouchy kids, hunched over and walking with a craned neck. Looks terrible and so very bad for you. A French friend in Spain – she was about to move to the US with her two half French, half American daughters – told me she was worried they would not learn to walk like Frenchwomen, and walk instead like American girls. I asked what she meant and she was quite specific – American girls, she said, hunch over like they’re embarrassed to have breasts, lead with their shoulders like football players instead of standing tall and walking from their hips, crane their necks in and out with each step like a chicken, and generally give the impression of being Neanderthal, slumped over and knuckle dragging, and not tall, proud homo sapien, the only primate with truly upright posture – regular readers of this blog will understand that it is very far from America-bashing, but she is absolutely right. V told me that her father said daily to her and her three sisters growing up – stand up straight, stick your chest out and show the world what you’ve got. Yes – and let’s hope my darling daughter is listening.)

No comments: