Algeria and Rick Steves French Italian Phrase Book
Trip Start Aug 21, 2006
70Trip End Dec 18, 2006
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On my way here, I stopped in to sunday mass at Notre-dame. It was a full house and what appeared to be a full mass. The music and incense and flashing cameras really made for a spiritual experience. It appears that the desire to snap a 'still' transcends the desire to be in the moment and feel the experience of the place. Perhaps it is our dense and busy daily experience that keeps us moving through life without actually experiencing it as we might at a slower pace? Being extremely guilty myself of going through the motions, I have been making a mighty effort these days to remedy the situation
Last night I watched the most amazing roller bladers. The had a ramp set up near the Seine and were doing these crazy and rather dangerous stunts. The crowd continued to fill up around them, clapping and getting in to each. The bladers kept upping the ante on their tricks until I actually had to step away....thinking of my brother and his skateboarding friends and hoping these guys would not get hurt! I dropped 10 euros in their collection hat as a thanks for the great show and effort.
As I was leaving I stopped in to Notre-dame to see a film about the history, architecture and overview of the primary historical/religious figures who had played a significant role in the construction of the place and to hear music scheduled for the evening. The place was lit on the sides by the chandeliers and a bold light lit the cross and religious figure at the front of the church. A large translucent sheet had been suspended above and a historical sketch of the cathedral was displayed. The air was cool and a faint scent of incense filled the air. I sat at the front noticing quite a few visitors who stopped briefly and took pictures (with flash) before deciding that they didn't want to stay. The elderly lady taking collection tapped a man on the head (sitting in front of me) with a disapproving look motioning him to remove his hat. He looked up in surprise and then like a little boy who had been naughty, removed his baseball cap, smoothed his hair and looked down. His son, next to him, looking on as this happened snapped a few more pictures and then they left.
I emerged from the cathedral to quite a crowd in the courtyard, the streets of Paris lit up with delicate lights and sometimes neon signs depending on where you looked
(As an aside to my brother: I'm staying on well - lit streets that are well traveled, so don't worry!)