Monday, March 21, 2005

Semana Santa : Palm Sunday

The palaspas vendor looked at me in disbelief. "Why would you want that one? It's broken!" She pointed out.
I smiled calmly and held out my hand for the broken palaspas. "That's okay.' I replied, tucking it beneath my arm. " I'm broken too."
I could feel her staring at me as i walked into the church.


Palaspas - Braided or twisted palm fronds, sold outside churches on Palm sunday.


Luctor et Emergo said...

Summer 2001. Paris.

"... The heat, the humidity and the lineups to get on a lift to the various stages of the tower were long enough to discourage us from queueing up. I sat down to rest and watch the multitude of tourists and hawkers of little brass Eiffels, keychains, playthings, ice water. Some couples went onto the sand directly under the tower and -- I guess -- did the french kiss. Missus and the little boy decided to shop for souvenirs. After a long while, they were back with a snowglobe and a post card depicting the monuments of Ile-de-France.

"We proceeded to the adjacent park to take more pictures. Then, voila, a playground, so the kid decided to get in the dustiness of the slides with the other Parisien kids. The cold water from the drinking fountain was a relief

"Later we were on our way to the Arc de Triomphe. The boy happened on a carousel before we had to cross the bridge to Rive Droit, so he took his first carousel ride. His mom held him carefully on his horse for he seemed scared, hanging on tightly to the pole as the horse bobbed and the carousel went its usual way.

"Across the bridge was the Trocadero and its large fountains. We stopped to have a waffle and a drink. Then up up up this way to the building the map says would lead us to the Arc de Triomphe. Up this building is a completely magnificent view of the Tour Eiffel. Latin or Brazilian drumwork and handclaps were thomp-thomping in the background, filling the air, already saturated with the quiet din of the fountains and the noisy traffic. It was getting dusky at 9:30 and the tower lights and city lights and the half moon began to give Paris its unusual joie de vivre.

"Onto the other side of the building, the lighted tower disappeared from view. We walked a bit and hit upon a Shanghai restaurant. Not having to be of two minds about it, at 10:30 we got dinner. Mixed veggies and beef avec champignons were on the menu and were shortly passing our palates. The little boy skinned the velvety peanuts one by one and he was putting them in my mouth unless I was picking them up with chopsticks. Two pairs of German tourists at the next table were not having trouble using their chopsticks.

"We headed out back on the street. The Arc de Triomphe, huge and historical, stood like a mansion, immobile and riveted as the large tricolore jostled with the breeze, the tourists and the vehicular traffic at close to midnight on the brightly, spritely lit avenue de Champs Elysées.... By then, our boy was snoring soundly in his stroller. The Champs Elysées, an avenue so unimaginably wide, was teeming with diners and shoppers and whoever else at that late hour. We were making out way back to the Latin Quarter.

"On Day Two, we missed breakfast at the hotel by five minutes. It was past 10 o'clock. We had what was left of the boy's cookies and biscuits, and the bananas... went to church for what appeared to be a French mass at the Jussieu church; this grandma kept fainting, and who appeared to be a daughter kept propping her up. The `sermon` has taken half an hour already and we were hungry; so out we went in the direction of Notre Dame. 11:30 we hit on a Restaurant Indochine on rue Dante, and decided it wasn't too early for brunch. My wife had crevettes and I got poullette roti; the little boy a little bit of both.

"We continued on in the direction of Notre Dame. It was there across the bridge, not very imposing (in my view smaller than the church in Heidelberg), but it was sculpturally very well erected. I began to tell my wife about the hunchback and gypsy Esmeralda... but all that didn't seem imaginable because of the tourists that arrived every minute toting very sophisticated photo equipment.

"We fell in line, and an old hag with a begging bowl said "Merci, Madame! Bon journeé!" when the missus dropped a couple of francs in her receptacle. Mass was going on, so the length of the dark church was off limits. We were on the way out shortly after. I ran my hands on the sculpted pillars and tried to imagine the amount of artistic work that had to be put in to erect this church. Some souvenir shops away and we were off....

"This grand palace, the Louvre, is not one for understatement. Built to house the empire's aristocracy, it now functions as a repository for paintings and sculptures. There was a long queue to get in through the "pyramid", but we were told to jump the line just because the little boy was a "bebe" and the temperature was in the 30s already.

"... All in all an overwhelming experience in an overwhelming place, the Louvre. By the way, the kid spilled his Smarties in one of the Richilieu galleries and began to cry, like only a two year old could get upset over something his own fault.

"We went back the same way to the Notre Dame. We each of us had ice cream (cookies and cream, chocolate, and strawberry). Since it was still early at around 7:30, we decided to take a 1.5 hour boat ride on the river Seine. It took us from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and back. By 10 o'clock, the boy was sound asleep in the stroller. There was some going-on in the Notre Dame square, a bunch of teenagers doing daredevil stunts (slalom, high jumps) on their rollerblades. We watched for a bit before we decided to buy take out to eat at the hotel.

"The following day, we headed out to Gare de l'Est, when we missed the 10:54 train to Luxembourg....

"We returned to Paris for another weekend post 9-11, stayed in Montmartre this time, and very amused and curious about those couples making out at the foot of Sacre Couer... Paris's street puppeteers are the best in the world... The kid made a friend of Brit-boy Harry who was on an outing with his grandparents. We went up the Tour Eiffel this time. A changed place, gendermarie everywhere... We chose to relax in the city gardens and we took in the end of the summer as the autumn started. We took home a music box souvenir. You'd turn the levers to the tune of La Vie en Rose. To take us back, a mussette to the ear or a freshly baked croissant suffices for the journey of the days ahead."

Jer said...

i knew you were madrama...but that one was just too much. ok to be honest that one was quite good...almost spiritual in a way.

broken, the only way to become whole.