“Pick me up now;
I need you so bad.”
– Down, Blink 182
As I am writing from the Malaysian Hall’s Guest House in Cairo at the moment on my iPad, this will unfortunately be a brief one. Since we arrived here last Wednesday morning, our body clock hasn’t adjusted that well; we are up by four in the morning, and off to bed already by eight or nine o’clock in the evening, which leaves me with plenty of time to think — and write — about things during that long interval between the time we wake up and the time when this vibrant city starts to see some life again.
This week’s theme is ‘Descent‘ — one which brought me back to the time when my friend and I climbed the Arc de Triomphe earlier this summer, from where we could get a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower. It actually never occurred to me to climb atop the Arc de Triomphe when I was doing my exchange in Paris back in 2011, but then I also had reservations about breaking out of my comfort zone then; I certainly took my sweet time trying to break out of that shell. This photo was taken as we ascended the steps to get to the top, and was edited with a filter on PixlrExpress+ called ‘Harry’. (The other filter I was considering is called ‘Hagrid’.)
Revisiting Paris this summer was amazing to say the least. On my last Saturday morning in Paris before catching our mid-day flight to Copenhagen, I spent the morning roaming the city on foot, basking in the glorious summer shine as I walked along the Seine on the crowdless pedestrian footpath. I went back St Germain des Près to revisit my old university Sciences Po on rue de l’Université (rue de l’U for short) and at 27 rue St Guillaume, then walked ahead to Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier to find a Longchamp store to find a gift for my mother.
On my way back to our apartment in le Marais I made quite a few pitstops along the way: first, on Boulevard St Germain to revisit my favorite travel bookstore where I bought some of my travel books before embarking on my first backpacking trip. Sadly, when I got there, it seemed as if the store had closed down, soon to be replaced with a hair salon of some sort, much to my disappointment. But never mind; I walked along the Boulevard to the next bookstore located right next to les Deux Magots where I bought a couple of postcards. Then, off to the Seine.
The previous couple of days I’d actually been looking for a reprint of old maps of Paris, and finally found one for the right price at one of those green bookstands by the river. This particular one is located right across from l’Académie Française, and the owner was just about to open shop when I arrived.
Having ticked this off my list, I then crossed the Pont des Arts to find a FNAC in the les Halles area. I was getting heart palpitations on my way to the FNAC because I was about to make a big purchase, and with little time to think over it. I was looking to buy a camera, because I felt my impending trip to Scandinavia, where I was about to fly to in just a few hours when I got to FNAC, deserves some serious photographic attention. At the store, I was forced to wait as the staff attended to one customer after another, while I browsed around for a model that fit my budget and had significant Auto controls so I could take decent pictures without having to press a hundred buttons to get it fixed to the optimum settings.
I finally found one: a Canon EOS M, a model which a friend had bought and recommended to me. I asked for a white one, and after scavenging the stock room the staff who attended to me was finally able to find one — the very last piece, for which he offered me a 30 Euro discount that I was more than happy to accept. On our way back to our apartment where my friend was waiting, I attempted a few experimental shots around the Hôtel de Ville area, where I found a bustling fresh market in one of the back alleys. I had little time to linger however, for it was midday and we had to make our way to Orly.
I pretty much settled all these last minute things in just over three hours, and probably walked a few kilometres in that time. Still, nothing beats walking around this magnificent city in absolutely fantastic summer weather. Even if I don’t see myself settling down in Paris again anytime soon, Paris will always be (one of my) home(s).