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Tuesday, 31 January 2006

My dad

My dad has been here since Saturday. He's here until the 8th. So we've been doing the tourist thing. So far, he's seen two cathedrals, medieval buildings in the Marrais, the Arc de Triomphe, the world's first flea market and has been to the shopping district on rue de Rivoli.

When did I start liking shopping? I've become downright conventional.

The gigantic soldes are drawing to a close, which means everything is marked down even steeper than before. I felt kind of weird taking my dad to the men's section so that I could try on pants, but they do fit me better. Also, since I'm rather scrawny for men's pants, my oddball size meant that there was a much wider selection of things that fit me on sale. So I got two pairs of pants. All I have left now on my list is a nice stripey scarf and a suit. Maybe with a vest.

There's a restaurant around the corner from me that specializes in wine, lamb and string beans. And oh my god do they have a fantastic goat cheese. (Have I mentioned today that I love the food here? I love the food here.) So I took my dad there. I really like that place. They recommended a Haut Medoc wine. Any Bordeaux appellation is good. Haut Medoc and Graves are especially good, probably along with every other one. Every time I try a new Bordeaux, I think it's the best wine ever until I try the next one.

My dad is growing out his hair. It's at the awkward length between chin and shoulders. He's also growing out his sideburns to comb backwards with his hair. He looks grumpy most of the time, so he's really got that biker-about-to-smash-you look down. It's a little alarming. His hair is stringy like mine (which is also much too long). I would suggest we go get haircuts together, but he wants it as long as possible. Kids Retirees these days!

With his hair, he looks completely unfrench. As non-french as somebody could get. Not that it really maters because he doesn't speak a lick of it anyway. I taught him how to order coffee after introducing him to the proprietor of the local brasserie.

You may have heard that it's impossibly to become a regular at a Paris café unless you've lived on the same block for 20 years. This is not the case. Five years will do. This particular brasserie, however, opened within the last few months, so I became a regular sort of by default. It also helps that the two guys that work there are exceedingly friendly and wave and whatnot when I walk by. The proprietor seemed extremely pleased to meet my dad. He's a bilingual guy, but was speaking to my dad in French for some reason, I think to make a joke. Have I mentioned that my dad has never been to Europe before? He hasn't even been in a non-English speaking country (Mexico) since his childhood. So he gets a little bit panicked when people speak french to him. I can relate. I felt exactly the same way the first week or two that I was here. Of course, the majority of my conversations were with the Prefecture de Police, trying to get registered.

In other news, Cola's toothache has been referred to a specialist, who, thank god, is an anglophone. Why she needs a specialist rather than a normal dentist has not been made clear. Dental stuff in Paris is just as annoying as dental stuff in the US, but much much cheaper.

My dad wants to go see the Mona Lisa soon. I don't think he realizes how small and unexciting it is. And then the Eifel Tower, which at least is as big as he expects. If Cola's tooth recovers, I want to go Armagnac tasting. It's super-fantastic brandy. One of the main Armagnac towns is called Condom. (No really.) Maybe I don't want to go with my dad . . ..

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