Friday, June 12, 2009

An unexpected trip - Part 1

So the trip to Paris started off rather inauspiciously with an 8 hour flight from Chicago to Dulles. Yick. Missed the flight to Paris, had to get rooms for the night, and the next afternoon flew from Dulles to Ohare (yet again) to Paris. After all of that, I decided to stay until Saturday instead, so that I could decompress before dealing w/ the airlines again.

Finished Book #7 on the trip from Chicago to DC - Eugene Onegin: A novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin - translated by Douglas R Hofstadter. Had this been written in prose, I would have struggled with it, I'm sure. It could have ended up like the Austin novels that I just can't get into. In verse, however, the stuffiness fades quite a bit and the fondness of author and translator for language comes to the fore. Hofstadter is very fond of wordplay, but considers this faithful to the original, as Pushkin used many plays on words himself. The puns, goofy rhyming, and what Hofstadter calls "poetic lie-sense" brought several smirks to my face while reading.
The story itself is one of missed opportunities and stubbornness blinding people to the happiness right in front of them. One trouble spot I had was in the final chapter, where Pushkin jumps ahead and seems to leave out a section of the tale.

Did a ton of walking around Paris. Love the city, but the homeless seemed more prevalent than I remember - of course I did not spend a ton of time in tourist spots when working there, but still. I was struck by their plight. I felt for those caring for pets. The woman with a very young baby almost brought me to tears. And I kick myself now because I just kept going. Was it because a band of girls with the same note written in English about Dad dying and having no food approached first to scam money, and so I felt I needed to guard against appeals? Maybe partly. I was stressed about how much I had and what I needed for the little spending I was doing a bit too. Still, to go back and give, just what I could spare.... In any case, it was tough to see and I wondered about the stories behind the lost eyes...

Good numbers of smart cars, more than here, definitely more than Dublin, but less than expected. Lots and lots of scooters and motorbikes - definitely more than when I was last here. Trouble is, a Parisian driver on a motorbike is still a Parisian driver and can squeeze through more spaces and pull in and out of traffic even more easily than in a car. Chaos ensues.

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