Sunday, June 13, 2010

French Denny's = 24 Cafe with A Better Menu + Wine

The past few days have been filled with activity after activity. I think I'm finally catching up on sleep though. Thursday evening I went out with Joseph, Caitlin, Corrinne, Martin & Adrienne. We met up at the Saint Michel fontain and hung out at a cafe for a little while, people watching. The girls ordered a bottle of Rose Wine and as we were all talking, crossing conversations over the table, a man approached us on the street and just asked where we were from and how we were enjoying ourselves. We found out he was a Moroccan immigrant who had just received his Visa saying he could stay in France and was very very excited. He was also very very drunk. He was dressed pretty sharply though. A grey beanie on his head, I was lovin' it, with a light brown blazer, dark brown sweater underneath with a colored tie. He was probably about 60 years old.

I told him I was very happy he got to stay in Paris because life was beautiful here and his eyes brightened up and he reached out to clasp my hands in his and kissed them, saying God Bless you. And then when we finally released them after about 15 seconds of awkwardness, I jokingly said so I guess that means we're married now, right?? And he said oh yes of course, my second wife how wonderful! And he went in to kiss both my cheeks. Naturally the cameras come flying out and we all start taking pictures of the scene, and it is very clear he is trying to kiss my lips in the photos, while I am terrified trying to politely back away from him. So that is the story of my Moroccan husband.

Needless, to say, but I will say it anyway, we left the Moroccan man to find a new place to hang out. The cafe/bar we arrived at had a piano playing American music and a woman probably about our age, singing Whitney Houston songs, very monotone and off pitch, which was hilarious to us. We grabbed a few menus and started to look at what was available at 12:30 am. All of the drinks had something to do with sexuality, or living a sexy lifestyle. So we quickly looked for the dirtiest drink names and made sure it was something we would actually enjoy drinking. Most of them were very fruity drinks, not so strong, but we just got a kick out of ordering them from the very serious waiter. And when they came to our table they had sparklers sitting inside, illuminating the entire outdoor bar. The servers were cheering and soon all the tables around us were clapping too, I guess that's something they do here for sparkler filled sexual drinks.

After our slightly embarassing sit at the outdoor bar, the four remaining amigos decided to head somewhere we could dance. We saw this brown bar down the street, with lights pouring out onto the pavement from inside and decided to check it out. Inside Joseph and I immediately recognized the Hispanic House Techno music from Miami so we knew it was a Salsa Bar. Stepping inside they motioned us directly to the bar, I guess that's your cover charge for entering a place where they have music. The bartender was happy we spoke French to him and made us all mojitos. So we talked to him for a little while then decided to wander around and check the place out. The dance floor was a scene I had never experienced. Couples were dancing, facing each other, moving as one. They weren't always touching hands or hips but somehow they flowed perfectly, feeling every beat the song produced. So we joined in! Joseph taught us the basic salsa moves and away we went. Just dancing together, changing dance partners, moving around the dance floor. It was strange, I felt at one with the music, moreso than I've ever felt at a party in Miami and it was so much better this way.

Because the bartender was so nice to us before, we decided to ask him if there was somewhere we could go get food and come back, because by this point none of us had eaten in about 8 hours. He said the bar was closing soon but if we waited he would take us to a smaller bar we could sit in a booth at to listen to music and then we would go to a cafe for some omelettes or sandwiches. So we got to know him a little bit and he asked us about the program we were involved in. He is one of the darkest black men I have ever seen, and he was covered head to toe in black. A black bandana, with a black teeshirt and eventually a black leather riding jacket, black jeans and black boots. Plus he shaved his side burns and eyebrows so they appeared to have been scratched by some kind of wild cat. And his nose was pierced. But he was as gentle as can be. And when we walked by this gang of street dancers who had been harassing me all night, he handled the situation perfectly, told us when to start running and he stayed back a little to keep them away from the girls.

So at this 24 hour cafe, which we later named the classy Denny's we ordered omelettes, croque monsieurs and bread. I think Martin ordered a beer. Mind you, this is around 5 am, and we see specks of sunlight rising over the Seine river. The bartender had to go, and it just so happened to be his birthday, so after we paid the check we decided to walk along the river and see Notre Dame when the sun rised. So we jumped down the stairs to walk right up next to the river, and started marching to the French National Anthem. Around 6 am people start to pass by and join in on our singing, and then in the Seine Martin and I noticed a small bank that housed a few shiny coins. SO we slipped off our rain-soaked shoes and hopped in. Why not, right? When in Paris. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to wade in the Seine River, but there wasn't really anyone around and anyone who was up on the bridge was just watching us for giggles. Then we hiked up the stairs again, continuing our marching brigade and walked over the cobblestones of Notre Dame.

The sky had turned this beautiful blue color and the sun was high in the sky. Earlier in the week I had been terrified of what I learned about the architecture of the church, learning about how it was supposed to educate the illiterate and scare them into being moral. But this morning we had the church to ourselves. No teacher, no lecture, just bright skies and a tune to dance to. So we danced around the cobblestones, reliving the salsa club and dreaming of going to a Parisian ball while we're here. And then I decided to watch the clouds go by for a few minutes. Deciding what each cloud looked like we all discussed heading our seperate ways soon so we could sleep for a few hours before class. There weren't many classes to attend but since it was Friday that meant we were going to see an Absurd play at the theatre after class. So we parted ways, vowing our wolfpack would see each other soon enough. Joseph walked me home and we rested a few hours before art history class at the Louvre.

I'll save everyone a tremendously lengthy post and write about Friday & Saturday tomorrow morning. A bientot, my homework is calling my name.