i survived five days being in the city for lovers, without one.

is this description of paris overrated (i find it strange that people i know are prompt to describe paris as being gay without batting an eyelid – let’s see them use it when they feel happy)? when i was at le tour eiffel i couldn’t see if there were men proposing marriage to their other halves (probably it was too dark with it being six o’clock in the evening when i got there), but you could see so much romance in front of your very eyes, may it be tourists hamming it up (mungkin, to paraphrase the minimalis) or parisians, young and old. so, i was serious (kinda) when i told all and sundry that i won’t visit this city until i have a woman (i had one, but i couldn’t afford paris then. hahaha.). with a woman, crossing the pont royal after a gentle walk looking at second hand livres (that you can’t read) and charming (and cheap) reproductions of toulouse-lautrec by vendors along the seine would have more meaning. in my books, that is. or watching the world (and les chiens doing their ‘thing’) passing you by from a bistro window, sipping une café (kuat!). or lazily looking at four wall-sized oil paintings of a pond with some flowers in a museum that looks like (because it was) an orangerie.

makan-wise, it wasn’t until yesterday that i finally had chicken in the form a tagine (as fervently recommended by nik shah) prepared at a tunisian eaterie called chez hamadi in le quartier latin (my favourite area in paris thus far). i think i’ve had enough of saumon (don’t get me wrong, the ones i’ve had have been sedap – in fact, the one at cafe ceres that i had in nether edge was quite authentic, but will write about that at a later time). the last time i had a tagine was in granada. it was lovely (filled with raisins much to my horror) served with a glorious amount of couscous. i read that parisians don’t really do petit déjeuners seriously, besides a quick strong cafe and a croissant. tried that, and found how true it was when i was ready to face lunch – paruk time extraordinaire it was. if i had my erstwhile travelling partner with me, i’m sure to be bombarded with requests of “i nak cakap! i nak cakap! ” whenever i have to ask for the bill. last night, for some reason, i missed my nasi (last one i had was in malaysia hall on tuesday night – hey, i is malay). the nearest malaysian eaterie was near where i had my conference in the 7éme arrondissement, but i just couldn’t be arsed to go back. i meandered up the avenue des champs-élysées to find this halal indian place but to no avail and ended up having something really french – le filet de poisson avec frites et coca cola light. oui, a chez McD’s.

i was geared up to visit LV at avenue de george V to lose spend some hard-earned cash, only to see after getting there that i’d be better off buying my valise for work back at a LV store back in blighty, all because of the dismal exchange rate. they don’t do sales (as mentioned by a friend) so, what the hell. if one had so much more dosh, ten minutes from mon hôtel is place vendôme, a square (circus?) surrounded by the likes of dior, commes des garcons and van cleef & arpels (kalau mau beli barang di sini, saya mesti tukar saya punya jalan. ini macam monyet lah.). didn’t think i would shop, as i had nothing to buy. okay, i lied. today, in the 20 minutes waiting for my taxi to arrive to take me to gare du nord, i slipped into esprit 5 minutes away from my hotel and bought this buttoned black cardie. it ain’t LV or kenzo, but hey, it’s french at least (probably made in monsieur hamadi’s homeland).

another item i didn’t manage to acquire was some art for the house. there was this chap putting up A5(?)-sized pieces which looked hand-drawn/painted works (reminiscent of gerald scarfe) by boulevard saint-germain. there was no price tag and it did appear that he was just about to bukak kedai. after my short touristy walk by les deux magots and café de flore, i walked by this chap’s kedai and overheard this tourist haggling for one of the pieces – something along the lines of 35 euros down from 50. ouch, for something that small (i’d pay 20). i then ended up buying three cheapo (but nice) affiches from a chap by the seine near saint-michel.

i’m now in the train speeding through the french countryside, leaving behind a city that i’ve fallen in love with. would’ve loved to substitute the word with with in, tapi pegi sorang apa cerita, john?

as a final word, i’ve one photo that i took yesterday which sums up what i think of paris rather nicely:


for more gambar, click on my flickr tag in the sidebar.