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Saturday, August 16, 2008 - Churros in the Air

Ah, Mexican fast food in Paris on mysterious Friday night in August – Our Man in Paris, Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, shows us around.

Churros in the Air

Montparnasse, Paris, Friday evening, August 15, 2008

Paris - Friday, August 15 - The weather never seems to turn out as low-key as the usual dire warnings promise but there is no threat that summer is coming back this year. Mid-August is the end of the big desertion in Paris. They, who know who they are, will fill the autoroutes this weekend, weeping and whining, about coming back to this gritty megapolis, especially after a mediocre season of super high-priced frites at the seashore - seashores cold and windy, or along the warm Mediterranean, threatened with a mass invasion of frilly but annoyed jellyfish.

The forecast called for gloom for the rest of the weekend. This Friday was mostly clear, in the evening, so I went down to the boulevard Montparnasse to see the sights and neons as the sky fell to blue behind the boulevard, beyond the Tour Eiffel. They called for 21 degrees but it was nearly 24 in the afternoon and that meant the terraces were full of people wearing their summer shirts. I didn't look to see if they were all drinking pink wine.

The Dôme had reopened and the black and white waiters were snatching some garlic-free air in front. The boulevard itself seemed to be whole again with only a few green barricades left. I think they repaved the centre bus lanes. Too many folks must have been tripping on bumps and getting squashed by them. The terraces were full the whole block and beyond Le Select, then some more on the other side. It was quiet and there were murmurs in the dark.

I got too close to the churros when the guy there poked one at the camera's lens. It was his way of telling me not to shoot. As you can see all his secrets have been exposed. The kiosque is on a dark stretch, lit like a theatre stage. He should be performing, doing his thing with flair, instead of worrying about his scraggly nosehairs. I couldn't resist it though. It's like the lighthouse of churros on the boulevard.

Montparnasse, Paris, Friday night, August 15, 2008, Churros Vendor

Across the wide street there's another neat little crêpes stand that I have trouble resisting. Like the street-eats carts in New York, no two in Paris are exactly alike. Lights and colors, and if you really like Nutella you must be in heaven here.

Montparnasse, Paris, Friday evening, August 15, 2008, "another neat little crêpes stand"

At the big place the cinemas splash around their blue neon, the pharmacy flip flops green neon crosses and Hippo glows in red neon. Somehow this mixes in the air, making everyone extras in a Technicolor movie far beyond the rainbow, a reality that makes Disney pastel in comparison. Maybe it's just because the camera was set to vivid. Well darkness had crept closer so there was deepening black too. Not, you know, like black velvet. Our nighttime black was crisper than velvet even if it was soft.

Friday night means the roller rando so I hung around the métro entry in front of the Miramar cinema, waiting for the horde on wheels to glide down from the station. You see some people you might like to meet, and then you see them hook up with dudes they've been waiting for. Isn't that the way? Very few seemed to go in the cinema right there, but there's another multiplex around the corner on Odessa, and two more across the boulevard.

It was just before ten so I crossed the street to see if I could get up on the patio overlooking the place but it was blocked off. Back down I went out in the place and on one of the bus islands, took a look around. Traffic was light for a Friday. Three cyclists scooted across in a lull, going totally the wrong way.There was a story about cops from Spain and Italy patrolling with Paris' flics. Concern about our behavior knows no borders, so I did wonder why there didn't seem to be any law around. All those people, out for good times on Friday night, and their pockets weren't worth searching, their mouths weren't worth testing? Maybe all the Olympic drug snoops are concentrated on the autoroutes.

The rollers must have gone the other way, south on avenue du Maine. I went up Odessa to Edgar Quinet and ripped off a last set of shots of the Café Liberté. It came out all red and yellow, like a café version of hell. I couldn't fix it. It was way off the scale. All the other photos were pretty much as they came out of the camera.

Montparnasse, Paris, Friday evening, August 15, 2008

I didn't make any of it up. Montparnasse looks better when you can't see it clearly. I guess that goes for most places. When I got home I unscrewed the filter and washed the churro grease off it. There's a rumor the coming reflex cameras will have audio and video capabilities, but I wish they could capture smells. Churros have a smell all of their own.

 ~ Ric

Montparnasse, Paris, Friday evening, August 15, 2008
Montparnasse, Paris, Friday evening, August 15, 2008  - Le Select

Text and Photos Copyright © 2008 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

[Churros in the Air]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik