I was so excited to get to Paris this past Sunday from the previous week in Istanbul. It was my wind down to the summer vacation; I had planned on going to Versailles and Chartres for a day trip, take a night cruise on the Seine, visit the Musee Rodin, make my pilgrimage to my favorite park, Place des Vosages, eat shwarma from L’As du Falafel, and of course linger at any cafe to do some reading (side note: currently reading The Help). I love the relaxed feeling I have in this town. You want to sit at your table at the cafe all day with only ordering one tea? That’s the French way! Well, all of that fell through when I woke up Monday morning feeling a bit under the weather. I didn’t think much of it though and just headed to a pharmacy to pick up some cold medicine. With Monday also being a bank holiday everything was pretty much shut so I figured it would be a good day to lounge at a cafe and take the night cruise.
After reading for hours along the Seine, I decided to go in. Yes, I took a nighttime boat cruise around 9:00pm as the sun is finally setting. We cruised along the river as the lights were turned on each of the bridges and accentuating the landmark buildings hugging the river. We ended our cruise in front of the Tour Eiffel as it sparkled upon the hour.
Great day. Great meds…or at least I thought.
I woke up the next morning with a sore and swollen throat, ear congestion to the point of not being able to hear out of my left ear, and plenty of coughing. But how often is one in Paris? I headed out for the day to travel to the suburb of Versailles. It started off as a great day. The temperature was in the mid-70s, the sun was shining, and my lack of hearing had not posed any major issues in attempting to communicate. Things went downhill quickly. At Versailles, I waited on line for two hours just to purchase one ticket to get inside the main house. After getting through the winding line through the blazing sun and stuffy portions of visitors center, I finally hathe golden ticket. I get inside and it is a complete madhouse. It’s like Oprah is in every room handing out her favorite things. And you get a gold plated chair! And you get a gold plated self-portrait! And people acted accordingly. I wish that they would limit the amount of people they allow in per day so that visitors can enjoy touring the home and gardens. Regardless, it is a sight to see. Of course, the hall of mirrors was worth all of the hassle.
After arriving back in Paris, I located a chair in a park near the Lourve and read some more with my symptoms progressively getting worse. After getting ready to go to sleep for the evening, my ear decides it wants to kick things up a notch. I will spare you the details, but I knew for sure I needed medical attention in the morning. What happened to my Parisian wind-down? It was more like a medicinal trip to Paris with all of the drugs I purchased over the past four days.
Wednesday morning, with the help of my friend Laure, she arranged a doctor’s appointment for me. This doctor’s office was nothing like I have ever experienced. My consultation actually happened in his office. Desk. Computer. Files. Books. I thought for a quick second I was at the wrong kind of doctor. I don’t need to lie down and talk to someone. I need you to diagnose me with proper medical professional protocol. We discussed my symptoms. He looked in my mouth and ear. He made his diagnosis and wrote me a prescription. All within 10 minutes. Oh, USA if you could only be this efficient. Needless to say I took he rest of the day off and slept so I could prepare to fly back to the states.
While I am disappointed I did not get through my checklist, I did get a surprise when I visited Pere Lachaise Cimiterie. Normally, I don’t visit cemeteries for sport, but after numerous recommendations and research, I decided to pay it a visit. As I walked through the grounds, numerous people’s final resting places stood out. Author Colette. Musicians Chopin and Jim Morrison. Former leader of the Dominican Republic Rafael Trujillo. And one of my favorite writers Richard Wright. While I also don’t find cemeteries all that relaxing and peaceful because of the implications, this experience was different. Maybe it was the uniqueness of each plot. The quietness of the grounds which are in the middle of the city. I don’t know, but it quickly became a highlight of my trip.
I will be back, Paris so I can continue to chip away at my list, but I think you knew this already.