I Just Can't Stop Thinking About Paris.
The trouble with traveling is how much a new place can occupy one's mind long after the trip is over. In just short of a few weeks, I acquired some little habits in Paris I really enjoyed and miss like crazy.
I crave those tiny espressos with the little teaspoon of foam on them.
I miss the knowing grins I got from waiters when I asked for un carafe d'eau--aka tap water--so we could avoid getting nicked 5 Euros each for a bottle of mineral water.
I miss the insane drivers, the death wish motorcyclists and the 70-year-olds riding bicycles in the middle of traffic like they thought they were immortal.
I miss the sound of those crazy police and ambulance sirens that go ReeRoh-ReeRoh in some ear splitting pitch.
I miss the fancy little dogs all over the place--in restaurants, department stores, anywhere a human can go, a dog is welcome. Fat French bulldogs are very popular there, and all the male Frenchies have their testicles intact. The dog in the cafe picture above was named Hula Hoop, and she was so mellow and well behaved it took me 30 minutes to even notice she was there sitting next to me.
I miss sending someone a text message and 45 minutes later meeting at some cafe or bar that's nowhere near where either of us lives. I miss flower and chocolate shops as available as beer and Marlboro reds are in Texas. I miss how good the place smelled, even though it should smell as old and musty as a great-granny's panty drawer.
I miss drawing strangers into conversations as I walked the streets, with my horrible French not even being that much of a liability. French people are very, very friendly, and anyone who denies that must be an unfriendly asshole with an outrageous sense of entitlement. I came home with a pocketful of e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other ways to contact the wonderful French people I encountered.
I hadn't planned for Paris to embed itself into my psyche like it has. Once all the touristy crap had been gotten out of the way, just walking around by myself on the streets made me feel like not just a true global citizen, it made me feel absolutely Parisian.