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Photography

Saturday, May 3, 2008 Tropical Spring

The first Saturday in May in Paris, from Our Man in Paris, Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis.


Paris, Saturday, 3 May - After a lot of false alarms it looked like, it felt like - spring, like it seemed to be really real today and this was confirmed on tonight's TV-news when they said, but did not show, temperatures of 31 degrees in Biarritz where the surfers hang out waiting for a wave. Most of the time it comes when the temperature is only one degree, but that doesn't make news.
 
Instead they showed some inlet they call a creek east of Marseille. It looked pretty barren at first and I thought they could have shown Cassis but that may have been too snooty. So, anyway, at this creek that looked barren, folks were lying around on the beach, looking not a bit snooty. Nobody was topless. That tells you that these folks were rounded up at a bus stop in a hurry and dragged out to this creek so they could pretend to be enjoying spring on the Riviera.
 
In fact the TV-news found some brainless teenagers who went in the water. It must have been another creek because it looked like a photo from travel agency brochure. Yeah, like paradise. The kids went in and came out in 30 seconds, gasping. Yeah, cold they said. Like it always is in May.
 
Meanwhile the TV-news showed some spring in Paris. At Trocadero folks had their feet in the water. People will do anything for the TV-news. I forget their other clips. The ice cream dealer. The drinks vendor. I'm not sure where they were.

The first Saturday in May in Paris, from Our Man in Paris, Ric Erickson

Your reporter was out east, in the 12th arrondissement, which is famous for the Gare de Lyon, where you can get a train to take you to Marseille in three hours. East of the station there is an area where computer shops have gathered. This is where the kids go to find parts for hot mods. It isn't something you would ever see on the TV-news.
 
I kept on going and eventually hit the sunshine at Bercy, the location of Paris' only true pyramid covered in grass. There were a few kids strumming guitars and a few others were riding their skateboards part time. It wasn't a scene of interest to the forces of law and order, regardless of a sign hanging off an adjacent apartment building saying that folks should shut up.
 
Coming off the heights I spied a feature I never noticed before. This was a sort of canyon, down which tumbled water from a scummy looking pond behind it. Closer to it I could see that the pond wasn't as scummy as I thought. Up close it reflected the sky which was mostly blue. Now you know how they make those photos in travel brochures. A maiden waded in the water. When she got out she lifted her Greek dress to check the scum level on her white legs. At least she hadn't been showing off for the TV-news.

This was a sort of canyon, down which tumbled water from a scummy looking pond behind it. Closer to it I could see that the pond wasn't as scummy as I thought. Up close it reflected the sky which was mostly blue. Now you know how they make those photos in travel brochures.

Inside the park, at the right bank end of the footbridge; there is a waterfall that steps down steps. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to turn some boring granite stairs into a place where kids can play, always at the risk of falling down and bruising their scrawny necks. The minders sitting around were watching for dirty old men, and the kids were having a high old time. Again this was a completely unrehearsed scene the TV-news overlooked. Even I didn't realize it at the time.

A maiden waded in the water. When she got out she lifted her Greek dress to check the scum level on her white legs.
Inside the park, at the right bank end of the footbridge; there is a waterfall that steps down steps. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to turn some boring granite stairs into a place where kids can play, always at the risk of falling down and bruising their scrawny necks.

Crossing the swoopy bridge was an anticlimax. There are three things you can do on the bridge. You can walk across it to get to the other side. You can stand on it, deciding to cross or go back. Or you can look at the view. You can see the biggest library ever built by a Socialist president. You can see the world's only finance ministry with a porte cochere that has water on the floor. You can see the Batofar, the city's floating but empty pool, and the metro line six flying across the river. And you can see the three-masted ship tied up beside it. I figure it has overstayed its six-week visit by a couple of years. Too lazy to take down the masts I guess.

And you can see the three-masted ship tied up beside it. I figure it has overstayed its six-week visit by a couple of years. Too lazy to take down the masts I guess.

Riding back to Montparnasse I decided to skip Chinatown. A lot of people with a lot of luggage got on the train. I thought they were going to Montparnasse to get the train to Biarritz but they got off, like me, at Denfert. They must have been heading for Orly or Roissy. You have a choice at Denfert. I went to Monoprix and got a weekend's supply of bananas. I'll put on a Hawaiian shirt and kick off my winter shoes, and have something tropical to eat.

 - Ric

Text and Photos Copyright © 2008 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

[Tropical Spring]

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