Sunday, December 30, 2007

Many trains, much travel.

I suppose that I could have predicted it: a lot of traveling has both worn me out and shifted my senses in potentially radical ways. Alighting in Paris on Friday morning, I found myself hungrier and hungrier for advertisements and signage: so many idioms, so much more language than I knew myself to know. "Oh!" I kept exclaiming. "That means..." Some things were beyond me: what's "thon"? my father asked at lunch. I didn't have a good answer--but now know it's "tuna." What's an "émeutier"? I wondered as we watched world news in French while we awaited our food. "Rioter" was what I guessed (correctly) (the context made it pretty easy).

This morning, I left my family on the other side of a ticket barrier in central London, waiting for an airport-bound train, nearly all by themselves in a station that Sunday had emptied out. I waved and waved and waved, then decided that I couldn't just keep waving for eighteen more minutes, and so I waved one more time and strode off into the Underground, to wander the streets of Covent Garden with the other tourists who wanted more things to be open before noon. I paced in front of closed bookshops' barred windows before remembering that I could return to London as early as next week, for as little as £2, if I wanted to.

That didn't stop me from buying three blue blank notebooks at perhaps my favorite office supply store in the world before boarding the train that took me to the other train that bore me northward to where I'm perched now, in the dark, typing to you while my friends settle to sleep.

Soon, I will offer you picture posts from my time away, but accounts of my adventures will probably just filter to you the way my stories always have: one at a time, as associations make them necessary. Suffice it to say that I've gone and seen some things while I've been quiet here.

Happy Night Afore, as they say where I am now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also delight in the urban signage of Paris. Store/shop names are fun too. I think it's as much an urban thing as it is a revelling in the visual aesthetics of the French language. I know you're a fan of Mrs. Dalloway. You might look out for urban signage stuff on your next reread. . .or try the same thing on Madison Ave. the next time you are in NY.

1:08 PM, January 07, 2008  

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