11 FRANCE, PART FOUR:
The next morning, Jacky-Georges leaves at 6:30am so it really is quite silenceuse. I get a lot of E-mail work done. I meet up with Francoise for the Laughter Club at 11:00am. The number is again small, about 8 (including 2 newbies). I am invited to co-lead (I guide a half-dozen exercises). We have a rollicking good time.
The weather has actually turned all the way to quite “hot” (mid-80’s I’d estimate) but I begin traipsing around town with my Elmo puppet, filming him in scenic locales. Over the next days we dash over to (partial list): Theatre du Chatelet, Hotel de Ville, Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Luxemburg Gardens, Notre Dame cathedral (gotta love them gargoyles), and Parc de Buttes Chaumont. The video will be lots of fun.
I am able to by some decent tickets for a Musical/Opera being performed that evening at the elegant Theatre du Chatelet, and Francoise agrees to join me. “Magdalene” (the name of a river) is a work of the Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos, more opera than Broadway, and dates from 1947. The music is lively, sometimes the rhythms prove a bit too much for the chorus (there is some tripping-up). There is a sumptuous scene which takes place in “decadent” Paris, for which the décor was really neat; the rest of the design seems a mélange of Brazilian Jungle and Bird costumes apparently borrowed from “Lion King”. The choreography occurs as “arbitrary” (no sense of natural flow) but intriguing. The singers are excellent, but when they speak the required English dialogue, some of them are amusingly awful, putting accents on the wrong syllables, mangling the slang… Fun! It is a pleasure to hear some spoken English, even if it is occasionally squashed into the accents of other languages.
Another Laughter Yoga Teacher, Kalinda (from Switzrland) found me via Facebook; she is in town taking a training but will be free Sunday evening. I had offered to cook, but when I get back from my day’s travel all the markets are closed, so instead we go to a nearby Thai restaurant. Francoise joins us – the restaurant is not bad – but Jacky-Georges tells me the next day that the Indian resto across the street is better. Nonetheless, Francoise and I HAVE to go (lunch) to the Indian restaurant in “my” old neighborhood, the 14th arrondisement. The restaurant is ther; and (despite this being the Mnday holiday) it is open! It’s named “Rajasthan.” We have my favored dish, Palak Paneer (deeply-spiced spinach and homemade cheese), plus Lassi - flavored with Rose. Ecstatic! After our Indian feast we go to the Parc Montsouris where we spread out a picnic blanket and Francoise dives into a deep slumber for two hours. It’s the heat! (Also the frequent long walks.)
Tuesday May 25, my last day in Paris. Jacky-Georges returned just past midnight. We go to Francoise’s place for an early lunch (driven in a car, what a luxury!) and have a spirited conversation on mostly spiritual topics. I figure out how to reasonably translate into French Madhuri Kataria’s quote (“If you want to be happy for an hour, buy an ice cream…”) and thus feel like I made a modest contribution to the chat-session. J-G drives me to the Gare de l’Est and it’s up onto my nearly-last train: to Basel, Switzerland.