I saw oj simpson on the street next to the notre dame cathedral. I think I actually physically brushed up against him. I lamented not being quicker of thought with my camera. after he was gone, it occurred to me that more than almost any celebrity, he'd be glad to be recognized in a positive way and ask to have his picture taken with me. too late I realized the wonderful irony that would have been a black and white photo of me and oj. oh well. maybe next time, juice.
contrary to my understanding, the catacombs of paris are a tourist attraction. super touristy. we got there about 15 minutes before they closed for the day and there was a line like 40 americans long. not only that, but it says photography is not allowed. that sucks. I have been looking forward to the catacombs since before I got here. instead, I walked around the nearby cemetery and took a bunch of photos. in preparation for the underground low light catacombs, I'd loaded 3200 film. that's super low-light, super grainy film. I wasn't going to do the cemetery thing, but I had this unusual film and I figured that might make for interesting cemetery pictures. we shall see.
next we went to a new neighborhood to which we'd never been. it was the 18th, for those that know paris. it reminded me a lot of harlem, where my brother lives. lots of folks who looked and sounded like they were born in africa. or somewhere in the middle east. a lot of signs and businesses being in some arabic type language and not french. at one point, we walked down this one block and it was packed. both sides of the street had approxiamtely 6 foot wide sidewalks. they were both full. there were people walking in the narrow street. there were people hanging out on the sidewalk and in the street. talking, drinking, doing whatever. my brother and I were the only white folk. at the end of this two-minutes-by-foot block, we saw a police car stationed there. 4 white cops insdie just chilling and watching over the block.
we ate at a restaurant that was not of any specific country we could determine. the sign outside said something about panama, but neither of us thought central america. we ate really good cous-cous.
then we walked on and got dessert and talked to the shopkeeper at the dessert place. the only desserts we recognized in the big glass display counter were baklava and doughnuts. I asked the shopkeeper which ones were his favorite. I told him to pick two for us. we got some interesting desserts and chatted with the shopkeeper. after a while he asked where we were from. we asked what he thought. he guessed italy, spain, belgium (dude... as if we speak french as well as the belgium folk), england. he gave up before guessing america. rock on.
yesterday, I finally got off the metro at chatelet. it was quite chichi. but we found a swell old used record store and a very enthusiastic french guy (I think he worked there) was all to happy to show me around some french music when I asked. I also had a higher percentage of people saying yes to having their photo taken in that neighborhood than anywhere else so far.
last night, we went to shakespeare and company shortly before they closed. I got my passport stamped. I also took pictures of two people sitting at the front desk. so far, I have 4 peoples' portraits sitting there. including george the owner. I think that would make an interesting photography book. portraits of shakespeare and company. perhaps when I live in paris, I'll do that.
also last night, at like 3 am. my brother and I sat around the apartment, smoked some hash, then read on the road aloud to each other. is that too cliche?
still no haircut or keyring. but joe (as my brother will heretofore be referred) did solve a problem that's been plaguing him for a while. his metro orange card got bent and never worked right, so last night he got his picture taken in an amelie photobooth and got a new orange card.
at that dinner party a couple of nights ago, the guy made a mozzarella tomato basic appetizer which I ate (have I ever posted about my hate-hate relationship with tomatoes which I've since improved?) and liked. then he brought out a meat lasagna main course. I ate that too. it was really good. when I complimented the dish and told the chef that I'm a vegetarian, he got the cutest distressed look on his face as if I didn't realize that I'd just eaten a bunch of beef. I told him I knew and it was cool. he still looked a bit worried.
I learned yesterday that a euro is worth more than a dollar. not much more, but let's hear it for the world protesting our corrupt economic system. speaking of which, I saw a wanted poster of gw bush yesterday as I walked around the 18th. it was neat.