Sunday, June 7, 2009

All Good Things Come to an End...

Tom, whose only glimpse of Paris had been the taxi from the airport to the train a week ago, decided that he would like to spend a couple of days in the City of Lights. So, on Friday morning we returned the rental car to the train station in Dijon and climbed aboard the fast train to Paris for a short weekend of debauchery. Well, maybe not debauchery, after all I was with Uncle Tom for God's sake.

I kept threatening him that I was going to take him to the famous Pigalle so he could sew some wild oats, but not Uncle Tom! Oh no, he had to see the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower and the Seine and all this other touristy stuff! So when we got to Paris we hopped a taxi to our little hotel just behind the Louvre. We got our rooms and headed out. First on the agenda was lunch. Just a block from the hotel we found a nice little place and decided on our game plan. Tom went to the Louvre and I went to find an Orange telephone office to find out why my phone was not working. We agreed to meet where we had lunch that evening. We then both went our separate ways. My afternoon was delightful. After getting my phone problem rectified I sat on a bench and watched the "boy's" play petanque on the gravel surface of a local park. Tom and I met at the designated time and headed for the Place du Bastille and a Mexican restaurant, the El Chihuahua, that I like to go to. Tom and I have always been Mexican food aficionados and when I told him about the place he was more than willing to go. Only problem was that it was too early so I took him for a tour of the Arsenal a yachting basin located nearby on the Canal St. Denis, just off the Seine.

Finally, we headed to the restaurant and proceeded to have a less than memorable Mexican dinner. Seems like that always happens. I have always had a good meal there. This time it was mediocre -- go figure! At least the Coronas were cold and plentiful!

After that it was back to the hotel. It had been a long day and we were both tired.

The next morning we got up early and headed for Notre Dame. We got there around 9:30 and I stayed outside while Tom went in. There was absolutely no line and he was in and out in a flash. While I was waiting for him I did what I love to do -- people watch! There was a group of about forty ladies in some sort of a tour and a man talking to them in sign language, obviously telling them about the famous church. I decided that what I needed was a deaf woman! Forty of them chatting away and not a sound. There is a God!

We then hopped on the water taxi called Batobus and rode downriver to the Eiffel Tower. Now you'd think that that the french have already seen the tower, but since this was a holiday weekend the tower was packed. Lines a mile long to get on the lifts to the top of the tower. So, after a photo op or two we headed for the Metro at the Military Academy on the other side of the mall to catch the tube to go up to Montmartre. On the way a guy stopped us and asked if we would like a tour of the city. He promised a great tour for an hour and a half for sixty euros and he would drop us off at the place of our choosing when it was over. We said OK and headed out. What a great decision! This guide, Abel, spoke perfect English and gave us a tour with more packed into it than I could have ever imagined. I saw a lot of Paris that I didn't even know existed! At the end it started raining heavily and we decided to get dropped off at the hotel rather than Montmartre.

That evening we caught the metro to a seafood restaurant near the Gare du Lyon and had a good seafood dinner. Tom was reluctant to try the oysters without cocktail sauce, but he paid for dinner so that was good too. We had a nice evening after dinner sitting outside a cafe near the hotel watching life go by.

The next morning Tom headed for CDG and I headed back to the boat. It was a wonderful week. I have not ever spent any "one on one" time with Tom that I can remember. We both have had families and lives apart doing whatever brothers do while raising families and making a living. Oh sure, we got together at family functions, etc. but this was really the first opportunity that we have ever taken to spend some time with each other. For me it was a complete joy. Tom may have another opinion. I wish he could have stayed longer.