Day 15: More of Paris, France
I think my body finally acclimated to the time difference and I'm transitioning back into nighttime Brianne who doesn't like waking up early. I'm fucking exhausted and why are they up with such speed and purpose like they're on their way to a job? Ugh FML right now but even trying to sleep through it all and push to like, 8am is useless and I get up. I walked 12 miles yesterday maybe that's why I don't know need coffee. Shower helps. A little. I do the coffee baguette option for breakfast and make a bigger dent in my cheese stash and finish the strawberries. The Russian girl I met yesterday is supposed to be WhatsApping me soon - she's an aspiring fashion photographer and wants to shoot me and says she'll come to me which is good. She calls an hour later than promised and says she should be meeting me at 11 which is fine because I can keep writing. Well she doesn't actually get here until 12:37pm. In the meantime I walked around a bit and got weird-looking pistachio cookie which didn't have much flavor and then realized I had to get back to the hostel because I don't have any signal when I'm not in Wifi and I'll never know when she gets here. It's my last day here and I have expressed this, hoping it will get her ass in gear but it doesn't.
When she gets here it's clear she both has zero street sense and also no plan and I remind myself this is a just another adventure just go with it. She arrives by cab and even though she had suggested we walk around here to find places, (which makes sense - the neighborhood is diverse and scrappy and funky and perfect for pics) now she wants to go somewhere else by train. On the way she notes that there are "a lot of immigrants here huh?" (an immigrant herself) and covers up her camera with her coat which bothers me and also makes me wonder how it is she has lived here for six years. It turns out she doesn't ever ride the metro so yours truly becomes the guide for a hot minute. She wants to go to the Louvre and maybe some garden nearby and I continue to question my decision.
Arriving at one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paris, we do a mini shoot at a low exterior wall before joining the giant crowd and moving into the interior courtyard. I feel really judgmental and shitty about my judgmental-ness but I'm in the middle of the most generic and cliche photoshoot situation imaginable right now. The arch? The Eiffel Tower in the background? These steps? This statue? Yes ok. I have no idea how the pictures will come out but by 2pm I explain I've got to get going - she keeps asking if it's because I'm tired and I remind her again that this is my last day and I just have things I want to do. When I can't tell her specifics she is confused because we clearly don't spend our time the same way and she doesn't understand that having no plans, just a direction to walk in, is so much more appealing than whatever this is. We part pleasantly and I start walking east.
My irritation is making me hungry and I stop into a little cafe where I get bone marrow and a salad with a poached egg. Nothing special and I keep moving. Zig zagging through the streets, I'm going in the direction of a shoe store I pinned in my travels yesterday but with no urgency. Of course I stop in nearly every patisserie I pass. About 40 minutes later I buy a dense chocolate thing that's basically a hard-core brownie, a cheesecake (not the cheese thing I thought I ordered but still yummie) and a small chocolate-filled beignet. This place doesn't allow the humans to handle the money so my payment and the dispensing of change all happens through a machine built into the counter. I eat the treats on a bench outside in a little park and two girls sit near me doing the same. Except, there are two of them and they have two treats total. There is one of me and I'm sitting here with three in my bag. To my credit I do not finish the chocolate brownie thing or the cheesecake, I eat about half of each and wrap them up again.
Arriving at the shoe store finally I try on oodles of pairs and walk out with a cute pair of pointy black slip ons with a red rubber sole. I keep wandering and eventually head sort of in the direction of the hostel and walk through Oberkampf neighborhood and I buy a grainy baguette for later and then a box of tiny applicator-less tampons, a double-pack of yogurt in little ceramics and a giant water at Monoprix. I go into at least three different vintage shops and I consider buying a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo slingbacks for 25 euros but the damage to the leather on the heels makes me change my mind. Next potential impulse buy is a black leather coat from the 80s with giant shoulder pads but it's also too big I think though I can't find a size label. I could pull it off but I decide not to. After a particularly overpriced store I see a scarf on the ground and I turn around realizing it's actually pretty nice and I want it but then I see someone coming and I walk a little past it and then try to act like I'm looking somewhere else and then that lady picks it up! I am kicking myself for several blocks really burned about how stupid it was not to just pick it up when I saw it. Anyway, I go into another shoe store and get two pairs - a really cute pair of black leather oxfords with rubber sole and heel for walking though they still look dressy, and a pair of jelly shoes! They're actually hippie jelly shoes and made from recycled materials and hemp and they are only 16 euros wheeee. Next I'm still trying to comfort myself with retail therapy (for the scarf on the street, still hurts) - I briefly go into some sort of ethical handicraft store having an opening or something and walk out not willing to pay the bullshit prices even though the stuff was nice. Across the street there's a really sketchy store that I think might also be vintage but it turns out to be a whole-in-the-wall handmade textiles store where everything is basically in piles and hanging from the walls. I wind up getting a silk scarf made from saris and stitched all over, a block-printed wool scarf and at the last second a giant hand-loomed wool blanket. Yes I am also wondering how to get all this home but master packer here remember? I am like a donkey at this point, laden down with my packages but I'm built for this shit and of course I make it. The hostel is still about 40 minutes away and I manage to take some pics and not pass out any point.
I drop off my shit in the room and go downstairs to eat the rest of my cheese, my new baguette and yogurt, and the rest of the pate. I cash in my free welcome drink card for an americano and a pain du chocolate (I really can't help myself). It's 10pm and I am beat. I start cobbling together my dinner and realize maybe the pate did need to be refrigerated, the outside is gray - but it smells fine and is still pink inside so I do some brief internet research and compromise by eating half of what's left. I figure the yogurt will help me digest it all so I eat both little cups with some honey I jacked from breakfast and finish the cheese and of course eat the pain du chocolate. Unsurprisingly I am stuffed. I keep my eyes open a little longer and then finally go to bed around 1130.