Yesterday evening (Friday) on the Metro, I had a humbling encounter.
I was sitting there when I noticed a young woman and her boyfriend; she kept looking at me and finally she came over and asked: "you teach at Cal State Long Beach, right?" "Yes," I replied. "You taught a history class I had a year ago; what's your name?" I told her and asked what class she took. "I don't remember," she answered, "it was some history class I was required to take." I'm guessing it must have been either World History I or World History II.
To make matters worse, as we were making light conversation, I mentioned how I had brought so few pieces of dark-colored clothing with me. "Yes," she said, "I remember you always those tan and khaki pants." "Unfortunately," I responded, "I don't have the fashion gene." "Well," she added, making matters worse, "at least you have the history gene." Thank God they got off at the next stop.
Back to work at the BnF yesterday. On the way, I saw the lycees were still blocked by student protests, this time backed up by barricades made from garbage cans, while some of the doors were sealed with package tape.
Returning home last night, all this had been removed and I noticed a plaque on the wall:
I don't know why, but I seem to have a singular ability to find Holocaust monuments.
Back at the library I made progress on my research and had lunch with Bill, my retired colleague from the History Dept. He reminded me that next Tuesday is Armistice Day, so the library will be closed. I'm trying to figure out what to do.
Stopped for coffee and a plain croissant along the way home, then made sure to walk the way from Place de la Nation to the hotel.
Last night, I headed out to meet a friend of my uncle's name Eric. They're in the same running club. Luckily, Eric's English was better than my French, so we chatted a bit. Here he is with his new, uncooperative puppy, Gerry.
Eric had made reservations for dinner at La Maison du Jardin, a restaurant that the Michelin Guide has labeled a "Bib Gourmand." This means a "reasonably priced" restaurant with excellent quality food.
After a started of duck paté, I had my main course of duck meat, stewed for 8 hours and then stuffed inside a thin, filo-dough crust, accompanied by salad and sauteed figs. It was very, very good.
I noticed that for dessert they had île flottante, which I haven't had in years, so I ordered that:
The pink stuff dusted on top is actually praline powder. And yes, it was very good.
By then it was 10 pm and time for me to head back to my hotel. It's amazing to me how quick and clean the Metro is. I got from the Jardin du Luxembourg back to Porte de Vincennes (across town) in about 30 minutes. Paris really is quite small (at least the center of it).
Today is Saturday and the BnF is open, so I will head out there later today after breakfast and laundry. I tried to sleep in, so instead of waking up at 7:35, I got up at 7:55.