Thursday, January 10, 2008

A bit of a confession, a new addiction ...

As part of the play, we were asked to check out videos on YouTube for the interludes. One was to have an oriental theme. What does that mean? Depends on whatever creative work we get from the video research. It wasn't my part so I didn't have any input, still, I always do the research. Well, I checked out a few from Bollywood and sure enough, I'm a full blown addict. Check out a few favorites.

The Lemon Song featuring Aishwarya Rai.

Dholna means boyfriend. This one is typical in that people are running through nature and it seems that at every new angle shot, the actors are in different colors.

This one takes place in the old west - good cowboy theme. I asked my Indian lab mate and she said it is about competition for a beautiful woman, the name "Layla" is often used, she is from an ancient fable. The dancing is spectacular!!!

Another favorite!

Sorry, I couldn't figure out the youtube direct links like many of you do, some day I will be so clever. Until then follow the links to enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bonnefoi, le notaire

The play was fun and I got out of it what I wanted to get out of it. (When I start like that, you know it wasn't brillant but I don't want to rag.)

The play is very well written, no surprise that Molière has the reputation that he does - marvelous piece! I like my role in particular for a bit of history. Molière began his studies in law at the Université of Orléans but left to pursue acting en provence. I too studied at the Université of Orléans and I even had a law course. Playing a notary, it was neat to have all the connections.

I got my school credits (I even got an A), I got to be in a show, I got back in touch with the craft. And it was a period piece. Typically, I do stuff that has no budget; it wasn't big budget but is was enough to call it a budget. Cool costumes! I think mine was one of the best too.

After the show, I said not antoher here. The day after I said, I'm too close to the show; it was tough also because I was so sick. (My eyelid was infected for a couple of days it was more or less swollen shut, then I got a chest cold.) Now, I think, maybe. The first show they put you in a big production to see how it is to work with you. Afterwards, you might get into a smaller maybe 8 person show and all the actors are experienced. If I could do that which is often not at the end of the semester when preparing for exams, it could work for me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I forgot to mention ...

On my lovely adventures, I fly first class.

They give you this nice little case with a toothbrush and paste, lip-balm, hand-cream, blindfold, earplugs, socks, folding comb-brush, tissues and a few other things I don't recall ... oh and a wee packet of mints.

About the second week of December my sister in Paris called to find out what I was doing for Christmas. We had plans to fly down to Buenos Aires together to see my brother. But she was tired; she's an accountant and had a lot to do for year-end so she was staying put. It felt like she didn't want to be alone and neither did I, so I checked online at the Continental website (I fly them because my sister works for them, so it's cheap for me) and thinking that the best day given my calendar was Friday the 21st of December, I'd see what's up. It was certainly a popular day to fly home for the holidays, the work-week is done and leaving on Friday means maximizing the time with the loved ones on the other side of the big blue ocean. Economy was full; oversold by 5. My sister said, just fly first class. She gave me a free pass but even if not, it is only $130 for me to fly first class one-way to Paris (1/2 that if economy).

I had flown first class before - short flights to/from Latin American cities - but never on a flight over that big blue ocean. And I must say it was lovely.

I arrived at my seat and there's a thick wooly blanket and the wee case just waiting for me. Plenty of room in the overhead compartment, wide chair to settle into when a delightful person greets me and takes my order for an orange juice and asks if I want ice. He returns to serve me the drink in a real glass and hands me the menu. My sister had recommended that I get the steak, "It's huge!" With shitake mushrooms it was an easy winner. That's right no one pushing a cart asking, "Wo'd ya like 'e chick'n o' 'e beef?" Nope, four course meal plus warmed cashews with an aperitif - I like a nice kir or a red or white porto, this time I felt a bit tired (up early for my last final exam) so I went with a Perrier. I did have red wine with dinner and snuck in a port with the cheese. The ice cream sundae was rich and heavy so I needed a cognac to rinse the palate. Delicious!

I pulled up the screen from the arm rest and saw they have 300 movies to choose from. I was tired but feeling too stuffed for sleep and what the heck!?! I've got Netflix at my finger tips. I didn't want to spend hours looking at what to watch so I picked the first thing of interest - Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix - and ordered another cognac. Delicious!

I had replied "Yes" to them waking me for breakfast, so I enjoyed an omelette with lots of cute delicacies. After the full meal from the night before, the fresh fruit got the most attention. The other charming slices of cheese and grilled veal mini-steak were a lot yet looked irresistible. I questioned if I should force myself through the trouble of getting stuffed before arrival; where's the pleasure in that? Sacrifice myself with belly aches just to not insult the chef? Oh, in French there is an expression "you have to break some eggs to make an omelette"; I took it upon myself to clear the plate after all it was clear that the chef had cracked fresh eggs to make the omelette. In my own way I returned the compliment.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chantilly...still feels like home.

During my time is Paris, I snuck out to the suburbs to visit some friends who were my host parents for three months while on a high school student exchange (back in 1984-5). CP stayed with the same family; twenty years on, we're all still in touch.

Prior to meeting up for lunch, I strolled through town to see what was new. Not much had changed; it is still a lovely slice of French suburbia. The main road, rue de Connétable, was adorned with lights and the season's decor. There were also loudspeakers playing Christmas music; half the songs were in English.

Another tourist snapped a shot of me by the statue of the Duc Condé then I took a peak in at the horserace track (in the background of the picture). Finally I meandered down to the château. It was featured in the James Bond movie "A View to a Kill" along with a few others I believe. A bit of construction going on so my pics aren't anything special, check out the link.

Lunch with my former hosts - let me tell you, I was so lucky. I stayed in five families during those 11 months, and in each one, Mom was a fantastic cook. Lunch was heaven. My host sister, now married with two children, brought over the kids as they were out of school and she headed off to work. We all went for a walk to work off a wonderful meal at the Etangs de Commelle.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ahh, la belle France…

Christmas in Paris is delectable, I just eat it up. Hemingway wrote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” And it was great to go back and freshen up the grand buffet of the heart that is Paris.

Some of you know that I was an exchange student to Chantilly, France a way back when. (Perhaps a few also know that is how I know CP, he too was an exchange student to the same town two years before me.) More on that tomorrow but by way of an intro, when I was 17, once maybe twice a week, I’d hop the train to experience Paris.

Christmas with my sister was lovely! She’s been in Paris for 8 or 9 years now and is very much at home. It was a great joy for me to have her open up that petit home. (I think she is the only one in the family to have less space than I. Aahh but we live out – we’re city people; that’s why we live in great cultural centers of the world.) The pictures show she has a lovely place with a courtyard in the 6th arrondissement – Saint Germain des Près. It’s right near the center of Paris – a quick jog over the Pont des Arts (no pun intended as I do jog across it to run in the Jardin des Tulleries) and cross the Seine; the Louvre is at your feet.

Naturally, after being there for such a long time, my sis has met some wonderful friends and we were seven for Christmas eve dinner. She loves to host so it was a bit of work preparing and all but so worth it. She’s a wonderful cook and a very cheery host. I did quite a few holiday meals for our big family of 7 kids plus the parents so she confidently turns to me to pop in where needed and it’s a thrill to be a part of the ritual. Still, it is really her favorite recipes that are on the table and with time, trouble and love, she’s made them her own – a personal something special to share.

I greeted guests while she worked the kitchen so I don’t have any pictures of her. What I do have is a couple of guests arriving and enjoying the tree.

May the joyous, giving and heart-felt togetherness of Christmas last with you all throughout 2008 when a year from now we can once again smile and eagerly offer the same simple gift to each other.