Self Reflections + Art of Doing Nothing

I was better prepared to have fun on my second day partly because I was able to catch-up on sleep. I didn’t get out of bed until about 2:00pm. After coffee and a long video chat with the kids who were getting ready for their day at school, I finally showered and made my way out of the hotel around 4:30pm.

The weather in Paris is so mild right now, I opted for a simple look of jeans-sweater with a pair of clogs.

My plan today was to hang out on the left bank. I crossed the Seine at Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor pedestrian bridge and marveled at the riverwalk which was busy with activity – people working out, runners, parents with young kids one of whom was dragging around a wooden caterpillar on a string, tourists taking pictures and looking up directions, teenagers hanging out with friends. I couldn’t help but stake a small seat on the edge and watch the world go by, albeit, rather fidgetingly. Turns out, it’s hard to sit still amidst all this action with ones own thoughts. But I managed a good 15-minutes.

Carre Rive Gauche on the left bank is filled with art galleries, antique stores, bookstores, and overall some of the cutest shops selling all kinds of big and small trinkets. If you have already visited the major museums in Paris, this is where you should come and hang out. I wandered aimlessly in the general direction of my chosen dinner location, marveling at the most beautiful and bizarre stores. People need this? was a thought that often came to mind after I’d wandered in one too many rare-fill-in-the-blank store. Or, who is paying 50 euros for a kitchen towel? Probably all of Paris because that seemed to be the base price point for the kitchen towels I found. Still, all the stuff was so beautiful and I wanted it all.

Days ago in Raleigh, right before I left for this trip, I needed to buy 5 things – cheddar cheese, an Amazon giftcard for someone’s birthday party, eye liner, chocolate bars of a particular kind, and a birthday card for my dad who is turning 70. I went to Walgreens and got it done in about 10-minutes. It was a good feeling to knock the list off at one store. Walking around Paris yesterday, I realized that wouldn’t have been possible.

I was distracted by stores so much that by the time I got to the restaurant La Jacobine, they were done with lunch service and dinner wouldn’t start for another hour. I was kindly offered dessert and coffee which I accepted without hesitation (this was my first meal of the day – at 6:30pm!). Then I sweet-talked myself into an 8:30pm dinner reservation because I had heard that this place has really good onion soup and I was craving some very badly.

It was easy to kill time in this area. Add Rue de Buci to your list of incredibly fun streets filled with bistros, restaurants, shops, and plenty of people watching. I was in heaven. After walking around some more and taking pictures of restaurants preparing for dinner service, I found a nice table at a bistro and ordered myself a glass of wine. I pulled out my sketch book and played around some with my markers, interrupted only by fashionably sensible Parisians hustling about. I wanted to pull out my phone every time, but I resisted. To use the words of John Mayer, this time I was … hoping I would see the world with both my eyes … instead. On the table next to me where two women, in their 40s, talking fiercely and happily about stuff. This could very well be Dottie and I on our monthly dates where we have entirely too many things to release from our minds.

Dinner time came and I showed up back at La Jacobine with a line that wrapped around the corner. It’s a place that has been talked about on many blogs and vlogs and as such, I am sad to report that 90% of the people there were tourists. Still, the food was incredibly good. I had the onion soup, escargots, and some magical salad with goat cheese wrapped in this crispy chickpea crepe concoction. I ate so much. This is probably the second disadvantage of traveling solo – no one to share all the food you think you must try. Curious enough, I was sitting at a table that gave me a peak into the back kitchen which was run by two South Asian chefs. This was not an uncommon sight. Immigrants. They get the job done. Even in Paris.

By the time I got back to the hotel it was 11:30pm. I was still not ready to sleep so I read for a little while and watched one of the only English-tv channels I could tolerate – BBC – with its uninterrupted coverage of Rishi Sunak as the new PM. I am proud I must say.

My goal for this trip was to have few scheduled activities and more happy chances and discoveries. So far, I am very pleased with all the aimless wandering I have done. Devang would be proud that my sense of direction has not failed me here. I am capable of navigating myself without stress and without constantly turning on “live track” on my phone. This is my happiest take-away from day two. It’s the simple things really.

And now for putting up with all this writing, here is some eye candy for you. Talk to you soon. A Bientot!

Selfie # 4
Just for my Ajay whom we call Moose.
Marche Saint-Germain is a wonderful market with grocers, cheese mongers, restaurants, and more. Highly recommend it for getting food for a picnic or hanging out inside.
Selfie # 5
I passed this store around 5:00pm- pictures above – and then again at 11:00pm when I found these two gentleman chatting away.
How many bistro chairs can I fit in my luggage? There is such an amazing variety of them here. Every restaurant seems to have it’s own patterns and colors.
Back inside La Jacobine
I lit a candle for Diwali in the Church Saint Sulpice. Hopefully St. Sulpice is forgiving for mixing up my religions.
I stood in front of this store for a long while looking at all the jackets, clothes, and accessories, and imagined the man who likes to go hunting right before a happy hour with friends.
That green on the walls. Oh la la!
A quick look at the lovely tower before going back to the hotel.

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