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Meeting a former classmate at Parc Monceau, Paris

We got another late start today. Somehow Kirsten and I found it very difficult to get out of bed and out of the hotel room before 11 am, perhaps because of lingering jet-lag or just plain laziness. In either case it seemed like a terrific waste to me.

Like most mornings, this one began with a primitive quest for food. We found our prey once again at the nearby Prisunic, a French supermarket chain. I used the word “supermarket” loosely in the preceding sentence: most Prisunic stores aren’t much bigger than a suburban 7-Eleven store, but they stock more groceries and fewer snack items. We bought more drinking water and some croissants for breakfast.

Our first order of business for the day was to pay a visit to our former college hall-mate Quyen, now a bank cashier working in the city of Paris. We met her outside her workplace during her lunch break, and she bought us sandwiches at a nearby store for a lunch in the Parc Monceau. We spent about forty-five minutes carrying on before Quyen had to return to work. Kirsten gave Quyen something she’d wanted for a long time: a bottle of Advil pain-reliever that isn’t available in Paris. It’s amazing the things a person can miss after a while without.

During the afternoon we visited the Musee d’Orsay and viewed its collection of French impressionist paintings, admiring especially those of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Degas. I am an amateur admirer of the French impressionist painters, particularly Monet and Renoir, so for me the d’Orsay is the highlight of the Parisian art museums. The building of the d’Orsay is also an impressive work of art in its own right, being a grand nineteenth-century train station on the Left Bank of the Seine River.

After a couple of hours of art, we set out on foot to Angelina’s salon de thé, crossing the river on the Pont de la Concorde and traversing the Tuilerie Gardens en route. Kirsten finally got to order the African chocolate she had been raving about for two years. The array of facial contortions as she sipped betrayed her bliss, and having had a sip myself, I can vouch for its distinction. I however sought a cooler drink in reverence of the intense Paris heat: a citron pressé, a fresh-pressed lemonade-like beverage with the water and concentrate served separately.

After Angelina’s we returned to the hotel for what was supposed to be a brief late-afternoon pause. Instead I slept for two hours.

For dinner we went Italian again, this time to the Ristorante Sardo on the rue de la Harpe in the Saint Michel area. I ordered rigotini carbonara, which was tube-shaped pasta in a cream, egg, and bacon sauce. I found it very tasty. Later, while walking around, I picked up a crèpe for dessert. My sweet tooth also could not resist buying a small box of cookies to eat with the soda I put on ice at the beginning of the day.

Tonight was undoubtedly the worst night for sleeping so far. Kirsten seems to be afraid of leaving the window open in the hotel room, so all night long we sweat and sweltered, even though it was considerably cooler outside the room than inside.