So, today was Christmas Day in gay Paris. It was a really lovely day. I know that some people are going to balk in horror when I say this but… I haven’t left the apartment all day. Seriously. I know that seems like some horrible thing to do when in Paris, but you know, I don’t feel one big guilty. I had a wonderful day.
It started with the best croissants I’ve ever had, from the bakery just down the street and were so fresh they melted in my mouth (oh, that might have been all the butter they use when making croissants…) because, although I didn’t leave the apartment my mum woke up early and headed over to the bakery.
We also had our traditional Christmas morning panatone, but this was also the best panatone I’ve ever had, also very fresh. In Guelph the panatone is not so fresh. My guess I that in Toronto you can probably find it fresh somewhere, but I always just get it from Mr. Kiwi (okay, Market Fresh) where they import it from Europe. It’s good, but just not *this* good.
So, we dug into our stockings like children and laughed and joked and generally just had a wonderful morning. And then we followed that up with the embibing of champagne and eating some of the best hummus, tzatiki and other random dips I’ve ever had, and a showing of the play I was in (which was taped on our second last performance). It was the first time I’d seen it, and although it’s always painful to see yourself on screen (well, it is for me anyway) I really enjoyed it. It was a reminder of what a great production it was.
Then mum and John went out for a little walk and I cleaned up the Christmas remnants and had a nap. The little walk was 3 hours long, and my nap was probably a good 2 hours of that. Oh, and I dreamt about the show, which was pretty funny. I’m in that strange space where you’re glad it’s done because it takes so much time and energy, but also really really missing it, missing the people in the show, missing the audiences, missing the pink wig, missing it all in general.
When mum and John got back John laid down for a nap and mum started dinner. It was a delicious Christmas dinner, braised lamb with white beans, brussel sprouts (I can just hear Kate drooling now *grin*), really amazing green beans, and potatoes with a feta and herb spread and a, well, spread that was pretty much just pureed garlic (for those who remember it, think Krista’s first Christmas dinner party “hummus” only really really tasty – nothing like inside jokes on a blog eh? *grin*). This also involved Champagne, and red wine, and for mum and Mark and John brandy (I’m not so much a brandy kind of girl myself, who knows, maybe I’ll learn to love it someday, for now it’s just too boozy for me, I’m a booze wimp) We then played a hand of Euchre where John and I got severely trammeled by mum and Mark, which seemed a good time to move on to dessert. No trifle this Christmas dinner, but something just wonderful and not something I can make with relative ease, so really, it was better. Unfortunately I can’t remember what the hell it’s called. It’s something they only make for Christmas and New Year’s here, it’s a something de Roi I think. It’s basically some kind of pastry, shaped like a pie, with an almond filling like you would find in an almond croissant at home. It normally comes with a crown, and there is a toy in the pie. The person who gets the toy (which was me in this case) gets to wear the crown. Kind of like the money cake idea at home, only with a bit of public humiliation mixed what with the required donning of a crown… Yum yum yum!
We followed that up with another rousing hand of euchre accompanied by some rousing, well, flatulence (I blame the beans and brussel sprouts). And, since my mum and John and I have the sense of humour of an eight year old we were reduced to peels laughter every time someone farted, which was really quite frequently). And much laughing at other various things, ‘cause, well, that’s what my mum and I do when we get together, we laugh. With gusto. Frequently. And loudly. It’s so much fun, and an excellent abdominal workout to boot.
Hmmmm. Anyone else notice that this post has seemed to revolve completely around food? No, me neither. Nope. No food here. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Okay, so, maybe all that could have happened anywhere, what with the whole not leaving the apartment thing, but it didn’t, it happened in Paris. And if it weren’t Paris I couldn’t have had the best croissants I’ve ever had, or the yummy dessert thing, or listen to the people on the street below as they banter back and forth in French…
I’m going to close with something from yesterday since there should be something in here that involves me being out in public in Paris. I discovered a cultural difference yesterday that I haven’t noticed in my previous trips to Paris (although I’m sure it’s not a Paris-centric phenomenon). In Paris old men have no compunction about checking out younger women. None. Seriously. Yesterday I was walking through a market and I must have had about 7 different old (okay, not old, but WAY too old for me, probably mid 50’s and up) men check me out. And not subtly. I’m telling you, they would walk towards me, check me up and down, look at my boobs again, then look up and me and get this really smarmy grin on their faces. A couple of them even raised their eyebrows in a ‘come hither’ kind of way. I was telling my mum about it and she said that it was just a French thing. I don’t know, I mean, I guess I should feel a little bit flattered, and if it were younger guys I probably would, I mean, it’s always a bit of a nice warm fuzzy feeling for me when I get checked out (I know some people hate it, but what can I say, I’m an ego hog, and it boosts my ego), but the old factor, well, that kind of made it creepy. Well… some kind of mix between creepy and funny. I do remember when I was in the Aude a million years ago for a couple months while I was helping my mum renovate her house at the time I did have a kind of funny attempted pick up from someone (remind me to tell that story some time, it’s amusing, but not tonight, this post is already stupidly long), but he was probably only in his late 20s (I was probably about 24 at the time, but I’m one of those people who can look older or younger depending on the day) and one of the first things he asked me before proceeding was how old I was.
So, there is my cultural lesson. Women, when coming to Paris be prepared to be eyed by older men.
Okay, so, this is ridiculously long now, so if you stuck it out and read the whole thing thanks a bunch and I’ll see about being more brief in the future.