Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 66. Paris, Paris...

Natasha offered to celebrate my birthday in Paris this year. Of course, I agreed. Well first of all, we had not been to Paris for quite a long time, and the second, my wife's word is a law to me. We chose a Mariott hotel, which is at the Avenue des Champs-Elysees (Elysian Fields). It turned out that there are four Mariott hotels in Paris; and we stayed at that one at the Elysian Fields, when we were in Paris last time. We liked the hotel; rooms were excellent, service wonderful, restaurant meals super, we decided that the best is the enemy of the good. We did what we had said, and on 23 September we landed in Paris.

Hello, Paris! Yes, for the twelve years since our first visit to that city, changes had taken place and not for better. No, I am not going to scare you and write boo things, but admit that there are noticeably more people in Paris, and they are far from being of French origin. And loved by Natasha and me Monmartre or "Mon-Mon", as a character of a famous film called it, was difficult to recognize. When we came to Paris for the first time in 1999, we stayed at a hotel at Monmartre. How charming it was! Those narrow, twisting and clean streets and small stores were attracting and tempting up to the degree that once we got lost together with Natasha.
And what about the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris? Do you remember the film A Window to Paris? Its famous stairs, where young people in love loved and still love to sit, are covered with garbage by midday. And the whole Monmartre started looking in a damn it way. One can more often hear Salam than "Bonjour". And how many beggars there are on the streets of Paris! If before they, too, were there, they were French nevertheless. I remember during our first visit Natasha and I laughed, when we saw at the corner of the Elysian Fields and Boutie street a begger, with a half emptied bottle of champagne, and he was loudly singing something.

Now there are more beggers, and they are often gypsies. And gypsies make a living in the streets like gypsies do, meaning, fool people, or try to fool them. Every time when in Paris we come to the Opera Square.

We were there that time as well. And behind the theatre there is a famous Paris store "The Galleries Lafayette". How could Natasha miss shopping there? So we were walking around the Opera from the left side, and a gypsy woman was approaching us. Suddenly she bended and as if picked something up, something from the asphalt and then held her hand out towards us, and there was a yellow ring in it, and in English, consider that, not in French, asked us: This is gold, isn't it? Together with Natasha we burst into laughter, and the gypsy woman said again in English: Slut, which in Russian means a bitch and something else indistinctly. We laughed because just a couple of minutes before that I told Natasha that we looked not like dupes any more, as that was our second day in Paris and nobody tried to fool us. And there it happened. And in a day, we were coming from the right side of the Opera, there was the same gypsy woman and with the same ring. We laughed again. Yeah, life had burned down the poor gypsy, she had lost her scent and her memory had become very bad. Well, enough about sad stuff.

On 25 September Natasha and I had a busy cultural program planned. We wanted to walk on foot along the Elysian Fields, have a walk at the Tuileries Garden, then visit the Louvre and finish by visiting Notre Dam de Paris and having a water tour along the Seine. Just tell me, why for the whole day we were haunted by that vulgar dialogue

between Avdotya Nikitichna and Veronika Mavrikievna from a joke about whether they swim in the Seine or are occupied with something else there. We played around it in most different ways during the day!
We left the hotel at eight thirty in the morning. The city was empty. There was nobody in the streets except for street cleaners. The weather was great, the sun was shining brightly. We were strolling along the Elysian Fields, and suddenly from direction of the Arc de Triomphe there came roar of engines and several Ferrari and Peugeot convertibles flew past us and then more and more of them. And at safety zones in the middle of the Elysian Fields paparazzi were crowding and taking pictures of those cars. It was later, when we came to Place de la Concorde, we learned that those races were arranged regularly every weekend in Paris. That way with impressions we reached the Tuileries. I've almost forgotten, on the way we met a police patrol of two women. One was black and another Caucasian. The black one was pretty and the Caucasian looked like an American because of her colonic bulb like figure. They looked so cute and funny together that I wanted to take a picture of them. But Natasha started making me to ask for their permission; for some reason she believed that in France agents (policemen) could easily shoot anyone, they did not like. Of course, I was afraid and with gestures asked for their permission to take a photo. The colonic bulb like one made a face and prepared to pose, and the pretty Afro-French also with a gesture showed categorical "No!" and turned away, and we resumed our walk.

The Tuileries Garden is beautiful. And at the end of September there is such a riot of color there! We were taking pictures, walking with our mouths open, admiring flowers, trees and sculptures. And suddenly I felt a need to use a toilet. Don't worry, not to do my number two, but my number one. There was a small cafe nearby. It was not open yet, but there was already motion inside it. It was amazing, at 9.20 a.m. the streets were empty, and the park was empty, just once in a while there would run joggers running away from a heart attack.

There was nobody around to address a question to. Nevertheless I found a soul alive in the cafe; that was a woman who was arranging tables and chairs outdoors. Not caring about tact I started asking her, using gestures and an international word toilet, where the latter was? And she pointed for me that it was at the entrance to the park. I remembered that yes, at the park entrance there were signs with figures of man and woman. I left Natalka to admire a crow and rushed to the park entrance. All those runners could not match me; one should have a very reasonable motivation for records. Perhaps, I broke a record in running, however at the finish there was another blow awaiting for me. There was a toilet there, but it would be open only at 10a.m. Poor French! How many swearwords they did not deserve came out of my mouth! I am not going to repeat them to you as well, as I was not original, when using dirty language to express my indignation. I was not running when returning to Natalka, continuing scolding the careless French, and to my horror realizing that, generally speaking, I had nothing to swear at them for. That was something unimaginable; I felt extreme need up to the point of gnashing my teeth, and suddenly I no longer wanted anything. Nevertheless, I did not give up and found a toilet, thought not in the Tuileries Garden, but in the Louvre. Now I have an absolute right to ask anyone: And you, did you use a toilet in the Louvre? Of course, all this is very stupid, however that was a real life situation, and it really took place. I am not going to describe our impressions of visiting the Louvre. My vocabulary is not that rich to accurately describe our feelings of delight and even some timidity, because of the beauty what we had seen there. Tired we went to the pier, which was near the Louvre to have a ride on a river bus and rest from the impressions and physical fatigue. Because except of walking from one exhibit to another, from a picture to a picture, I also was running around the Tuileries Garden, as you remember.

On the way to the pier, we could not miss visiting the Bridge of Sweethearts. All the more so I had planned that beforehand and brought with me a lock, though not a big one. We fixed the lock and locked it as it had to be. We kissed with Natalka and went to the pier.

Believe it or not, but after that ritual procedure all traces of our tiredness had vanished as if by magic. So we enthusiastically boarded, went up to the top deck and enjoyed an hour on a steam boat chatting and discussing who finally was right Avdotya Nikitichna or Veronika Mavrikievna in their views on the Siena.

The day was almost over, and at the Notre Dame Cathedral there was a huge crowd of tourists. The Japanese were taking photos. No, this is not my phrase; it was said by uncle Misha Zadornov. It was said so accurately, that I cannot help, but repeating it.

Nevertheless fatigue and too many impressions had their influence on us, and when leaving the Cathedral, Natasha and I decided that, if God wished and we would come to Paris once again, then we would for sure visit Notre Dame, but in the morning, not overloaded with previous impressions.

Yes, the day before my birthday was a success. What was left was to go to a restaurant, where we planned to have our special dinner on the twenty sixth, and to have a general rehearsal the night before, simply speaking, we were going to eat. We had appetite and it was reminding us about its presence very loudly. Just tell me, why on Earth I put on a chic suite, which I had prepared for the next day for the rehearsal? Natalek was gently grumbling at me, she was not strict, or I would have never put it on. Natalek had already learned a bitter lesson. About three or four years ago we were going to fly to Hong Kong, and in Kiev during another flight connection, when our luggage had already been registered, I dropped a croissant into my cup of coffee in a cafe. It was unbelievable how that much water could splash out of such a small cup, and what kind of water: I added three helpings of cream into my coffee! Just imagine, we had to fly for sixteen hours via Amsterdam, and there were big greasy stains on me from my shoulder down to my hip, as if I had been shot from a machinegun.

Yeah, there was a situation! Poor Natasha, she was very angry at me then and threatened that she would never go with such a sloven and a blockhead anywhere anymore. Everything went well that time. Everybody understood our situation and sympathized with us. I especially liked sympathy of flight attendants; though we were flying in business class, where level of attention to passengers was high, and to me it was exceptional, as I enjoyed even more care if compared to the general caring attitude.

That time in the restaurant salmon tartare was delicious, and we ate it in a moment, but when we were served Argentinean beef with some kind of unbelievably delicious sauce, something that had been predestinated happened. Before Natalka and a waiter's very eyes I dropped a piece of beef from my fork in the sauce. Of course, the sauce splash was smaller than tsunami in Fukushima, but it was strong enough to absolutely spoil my jacket and trousers. Ouch! Natasha and the waiter said simultaneously and rushed to me with napkins. There I had to be given a credit for stopping them with a gesture and explaining to them that good manners rules taught us not to pay attention, when someone next to us spilt sauce over himself. I sprinkled all the stains with salt. Just imagine, I with salt all over me continued eating the beef.

Yes, the meat "vagu" was magnificent. Natalek was silent, but I had a feeling that when in a hotel room there was a good scolding waiting for me, so I was prolonging the dinner by all means. The waiter realized that it had not been his fault and gaily served our meals and changed tableware. The dinner was successfully finished. We calmly arm in arm walked across the hall to elevators. And in the room Natalek announced to me that, if it had not been for my birthday, she would have told me everything she was thinking about me. That way the incident was resolved. And the next day I had dinner in my casual, but nevertheless nice suite, and spent the whole day of my birthday without any adventures.

On the twenty seventh of September at seven in the morning we were on the way to the airport, we had with us one more chestnut we had found at the Elysian Fields.

We observed our tradition to bring a chestnut after each trip to Paris. Good bye, Paris, see you again!

29 September, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21207230564

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content