I stumbled across this celebration outside of City Hall. M and I attended a conference reception in the building the evening before, and here I was witnessing a quite different government function.
The marriage caught my attention because of the woman tossing rice rather than the bride with her understated dress and unfussy bouquet.
French: Entre deux coeurs qui s’aiment, nul besoin de paroles.
English: Two hearts in love need no words.
The Eiffel Tower is eighty-one stories high and more than 10,000 tons. A restaurant and a radio tower, it is a breathtaking art piece that, among other highlights, sparkles (around ten at night as if it is decorated with thousands of the Fourth of July sparklers) and features the names of mathematicians and scientists.
This man is roasting corn in a barrel of fire on a bustling street corner close to a Metro station. No one seems excited by his presence or his occupation other than those who want a delicious ear of corn.
Last night, as we walked along the Seine, the banks were swarming with people picnicking into dusk. In one area, a group had fashioned a tightrope (perhaps two feet off the ground) between two trees, and people would take turns attempting the journey, laughing in the cool night air.
Across the way, there were small amphitheaters. Each area featured a different form of dancing and music. People walked up or rode up by bicycle and strapped on their dancing shoes.
“[When] humans come together for any reason, music is there: weddings, funerals, graduation from college, men marching off to war, stadium sporting events, a night on the town, prayer, a romantic dinner, mothers rocking their infants to sleep … music is a part of the fabric of everyday life.” Daniel J. Levitin, THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC
This piano was in the Eurostar station in London. The keyboard lid, opened, asks: “Play me, I’m yours.” This tiny virtuoso was highly skilled at capturing crowds of attention as he tinkered with the keys.
Since I’m focused on language and culture here: According to Karen Sprey of gizmag: “It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words but the same image can have different meanings across cultures. Music, however, may bridge the cultural divide: a new study has shown that regardless of culture or previous exposure, people were accurately able to recognize three emotions in Western music – happiness, sadness and fear.”
Sprey, Karen. “Music Really Is a Universal Language.” Gizmag, n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2012.
Knowing no French, and with little assistance from our waitress (she offered, but I was feeling brave), I requested Terrine de campagne du pere Lefevre. It was a pate, but it was more like spam and meatier (if that’s possible). I ate as much as I could (not much) and had M help me. The waitress said I should have had it on the bread at the table. The main dish was Onglet de bouf Angus poele, pleurotes et pommes de terre sautéed. This was, despite the oceanic saltiness, quite savory. I knew I was getting beef and potatoes; this was far more delicious than I imagined. Pictured here is dessert. My dessert was a strawberry and white chocolate extravaganza: Mille feuilles de fraises au chocolat blanc. M had a stunning chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet: Feuillantine au chocolat nor et sorbet framboise. It seems fitting that the first post from France should feature food and the disappointment and delight of discovering what words taste like.