Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Market Day

I love my new apartment on the 5th floor of a building on Rue Croazatier, just a 10 minute walk from the apartment I was in the last 4 weeks that seems, oddly, worlds away.  I am literally around the corner from the colorful, bazaar-like outdoor part of the Place d’ Aligre market now.  Oh, and I now have an ELEVATOR.  I am cooking for friends tomorrow, so I made four trips down there today, because it was so easy to come and drop stuff off.

Of course, it is always interesting shopping in a foreign place, because there are things that you cannot seem to find.  For me, today, it was nutmeg.  I looked and looked.  Well it turns out that after all that I am walking by this international market on my corner and in one of the windows – I am talking floor to ceiling – there are bags and bags of spices.  So I go in and it occurs to me that I don’t even know the freeking French word for nutmeg. I guess I thought I would just figure it out?  Uh, no.  So thank goodness my new apartment was just steps away.  I looked it up (muscade, most likely would have never guessed that one) and went back to look again.  Well they had it but it was 3.70 euros for the bag.  It seemed excessive for a bag of something I only need 1 tablespoon of, so I didn’t get it.  After all that!  Dang I drive myself crazy sometimes.

While people are starting to understand me a little, and while I am starting to understand (I understood the guy in the wine shop today telling me the total – amazing!) I wish I knew how to go into a butcher and ask for some meat to be ground up.  I am just not confident enough to go there yet.  I did manage to tell the guy at the Italian deli in the covered market I wanted grated Parmesan cheese but believe me it had nothing to do with words but instead with a lot of gesturing.  Anyway he spoke back to me in English.  “No, we only have this” and pointed to that yucky ground up kind.  So I spent too much money on a block of the whole cheese  and I just pray that somewhere in my new apartment, there is a grater.

There was a long line at the Italian deli today.  In front of me there were maybe three or four woman who seemed to get enough cheese, sliced meat, prepared lasagna (something I maybe should have done, in hindsight), focaccia bread, meatballs, and other assorted items for an entire arrondissement.  The woman just behind me was getting a little impatient.  Everytime someone ordered another tray or something she said what I think was the French equivalent of “Porca Miseria.”  At one point when one of the women being waited on asked for a sample of some proscuitto and then spend 10 minutes ruminating and chewing the sample before consenting to purchase a finely sliced gram, the woman behind me was about 10 seconds away from a complete meltdown.  Suffice to say when it was my turn I did not lollygag – I did not want to have the 20 people behind me muttering under their breath something about what happened to Marie Antoinette could happen again.

Also around the corner from me is one of the Pink Flamingos chain of pizzerias here.  I think I may have to utilize that at some point.  But my nights are getting fewer and fewer and then I will be off to Venice.

If I do come back next year (and unless I get totally burned out on traveling this year, I will) then I really do need to take some French classes.  The guy who owns this place lives somewhere else and his neighbor let me in – the adorable Madame Fouquet.  She does not speak English so I tried to communicate and mostly nodded even when I didn’t understand a word she was saying.  Today I was putting away groceries and the doorbell rang, but I figured it was someone outside and didn’t worry about it.  Then I heard a key and the door opening and it was Madame Fouquet with toilet paper for me.  She went on and on about Saturdays and promenading around Paris and markets etc (at least I think that is what she was saying.)  Totally adorable.  And of course the toilet paper is pink.  I totally want to come back here and take her out for a coffee (or a whiskey) when I can communicate better.

It shocks me how easily I can move into a place and then just… be at home there.  I started thinking the other day – wouldn’t it be cool to go to a different city for a month, for, say, a year straight, then write a book about it?  Only I think I would try to go to places I have never been.  When this idea formulated some days ago, immediately I thought Istanbul, Hamburg, Marseille.  Maybe though I might have to throw in a couple of places I have been, but only briefly (like Naples.) I also had an idea to make a European guidebook or series of guidebooks about cool bars called Barhopper.   But, I think I may be getting a little too old to do that, and anyway, going to bars by yourself can get a little old.  Even in the name of research.

Well, one can dream, anyway.

2 Responses to “Market Day”

  1. nancyhol Says:

    You seem so at home in Paris – I know you are going to be sad to leave. How are you doing with your daily budget?

  2. Kathy (Trekcapri) Says:

    Hi Shannon, I always enjoy shopping when traveling. A necessity when staying in apartments but can also be an entertaining little adventure.

    Go get your dreams . . .

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