Wednesday, May 31, 2006

the first time

Everybody remembers their first time. I'm not writing about that first time. I'm writing about my first time in Paris. It was the winter of 1998. I remember getting a week off at Christmas. I decided to spend Christmas with family in London. Family members encouraged me to take a couple of days of that trip and head over to Pairs on Eurostar. It takes 3 hours. I remember getting out of my aunt's house at 7 am on a cold, wet and dark wintry London morning; took a bus and the underground to Waterloo train station. Aunt Mary lives in North London. First class on Eurostar is a fantastic experience. During mealtimes, there's a waiter who waits on you and you get proper cutlery. It's very pleasant. I've been on second class since then. You pack a lunch or you buy something from the dining car. Before I embarked on that trip I bought a stack of this Christmas card to send to friends. At the back it read, "The raven" by Monet; courtesy of Musee d'orsay, Paris. I knew I would be near this museum in Paris. I remember rushing over in the late afternoon on my last day. I searched all over the museum for that painting but couldn't find it. Finally I asked for help and found it on the first floor. I still remember that sense of marvel. A few weeks before, the decision being made at a Barnes & Noble to see this painting live and there I was standing in front of it in Paris.......

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