April 15, 2009
I made plans to meet my friends E & T, hereby referred to as ET when they are together not because they are two halves of a caramel-chocolate colored extraterrestrial, but because they are out of this world adorable. The fell madly in love at the college newspaper. The Long Island vineyard wedding. The apartment in Paris. The still madly in love after two years of marriage. The plan to retire to the countryside just to spent more time together. The French countryside. Next year. At age 30.
Still don't think they're adorable? When I'm back in the states I'll post a picture, for proof.
I was supposed to meet E at a bustling dive bar called La Perle around 7:30. I got there a little late. No sign of her. I wandered around, checked the back room, waited by the bar a minute or two, then started getting worried. Normally getting somewhere 10 minutes late, especially in Paris, wouldn't be a problem, but what if we didn't cross paths? Maybe she figured I wasn't coming, or came and left, or was I at the wrong bar?
We set everything up via email, and I hadn't reconfirmed or been online all day.
I eyed a group of parisiens standing by the counter and figured that asking a trio would improve my chances; plus, groups are somehow more approachable.
"Excuse me, could you help out a poor little tourist?"
They were all ears.
"Could I buy a text message from you? I am trying to tell my friend that I'm here, and I don't have a french cell phone or a phone card."
"How much do I owe you, a euro? 5 euros?"
"No, come on, nothing."
Just what I was hoping to hear.
He typed the number and message for me -- "I'm here now, at La Perle. La Roxy" -- which was a smart move, since I've heard of schemes where people borrow your phone and then suck your minutes or call Santiago. This way, he had total control. And I got my message.
Later, E said I was lucky someone helped me. "They're not always very nice to visitors," she explained.
T joined us for dinner at Chez Janou, a quintessential corner bistro about 10 minutes away that kept us waiting for a table long enough for us to polish off a bottle of suave rosé. E started telling me about her boss. From what she said, he sound like just the right person to talk to about asking and negotiation. Gutsy, smart, a little crazy. And very, very successful.
"Is there any chance that I could meet him? Maybe come by tomorrow and chat with him for 10 minutes, interview him for the blog or just talk with him?"
E didn't think it would be a good idea. Not yet, at least - maybe with advanced notice.
Gained: a free text message and a wonderful night with two friends who are Paris in the springtime.
PS: My camera chord is still in the states, and I'm still in France. Photos coming the day I get back! Meanwhile, I've included temporary snapshots of La Perle by night, and the same dish I had for dinner at Chez Janou, magret de canard and roasted fingerlings.
More like this: travel ·