I spent my first night at home in Palaiseau with a nasty cold passed on to me by my niece Heidi. On top of that I also had been waking up to a swollen itchy eye every morning for the last couple of days.
Friday morning I realised that it might be the last opportunity to see a doctor before all of France goes on holiday for the week of August 15. So I walked to my doctor, who prodded at my swollen eye, tutted and sighed and declared it an eye infection.
I learned that ointment is called pommade in French. Instead of a swollen eye I now walk around with a a shiny eye that makes me look like I just stopped crying. But anything is better than itchy eyes.
We went out for dinner in Paris with Gergö’s colleague Michele and his partner on Friday night. They suggested a very good Italian restaurant which doesn’t take reservations. You have to be there before they open, queue and ask for a table and return at the time given (sometimes to queue again).
We were offered a table at 10.30 pm or a place at a bar at 7. We took the place at the bar and it was an excellent choice, even better than a table. The seats were with a view to the kitchen. So basically all through dinner I could watch people prepare food. Heaven!
We tried fish’n’kif for starters – fried fish with polenta sticks and tomatoes. Kif is used in French to mean either hasish or as kif-kif it means it doesn’t matter one way or the other. Gehupft wie Gesprungen, as we say.
The Pizza was delicious as well. We also tried the Burrata and the ham our friends ordered. Totally worth the queue.
I also liked the decor – the waiters all wore different tshirt designs. Our waiter had a woman on the back who was singing, using an artichoke as a microphone. The bathrooms used barrels instead of sinks. The one way mirrored doors were pretty weird, I have to say. You couldn’t see in but you could see out. I could watch people outside wash their hands while I was in the stall. That needs getting used to and I’m not sure I want that.
Even though the cakes were recommended and I had just spent half an evening watch a chef prepare desserts with two different bowls of cream, we were too full to try. Instead we had coffee, like Italians drink it (espresso, black), not like German and Austrian tourists (Café Latte after dinner).
I stole all the unused sugar packs, because I liked the design on the back and because one mentioned the tomatoes they use for their sauce. Gergö and I both commented on how rich it tasted and our friend just shrugged and said yes, they use this Neapolitan kind, very good.
The night ended on quite a different note, though – we got home to a blackout. The lobby smelled of burned cable, but the lights were still working. Our apartment didn’t have any electricity though. Gergö checked the fuses and went back outside to see if anyone else had their lights on but it was late and most of the blinds were down.
We decided that we couldn’t do anything about it now anyway and went to sleep. We woke up to the flashing lights of a firetruck at 3 am. There was some police as well. The people in uniform seemed busy, but there was no urgency that suggested we would be evacuated any second. I was dying to find out what was going on, but neither of us wanted to get dressed and be the nosy neighbour (even though we evidently are).
Around five am the electricity came back on, but remained unreliable for a few more hours. I only noticed it whenever the wireless connection disappeared. In the morning there was a piece of paper on the building’s entrance door saying the panne éléctrique had been repaired. I thought it means something like accident, but it’s just French for power outage. Later that day our neighbour rang our door bell to ask if our tv signal is also gone, but we don’t have a tv. I was hoping for juicy gossip but I had the hardest time understanding him and he didn’t seem to be better informed either.
I had ordered power banks for playing Pokémon and charged them both during the day. They came in really handy during this strange night. I also used the battery for playing Pokémon since – our current visitor V. had the game installed on her phone but only caught a couple of Pokémons. My interest in the game was contagious to motivate her to catch ’em all. Even after a long wander around Paris with ice cream, drinks in the shade, a wander along Paris plage (the sandy beach they put up along the Seine) and the quartier latin she was happy to go for a final Pokéhunt along the Yvette after dinner.