eiffel

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

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.

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Cooking, Tightrope Walking, and Dancing in the Streets

Cooking, Tightrope Walking, and Dancing in the Streets

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.

pinkpiano

Pink Piano

Pink Piano

“[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 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. .)

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When in France

When in France

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 sort of like spam, but mushier 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 than I imagined. Pictured here is dessert. My dessert was a strawberry and white chocolate extravaganza: Mille feuilles de fraises au chocolat blanc and 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.

backoftruck

back of the truck

Back of the truck

The Weavers

In Teotitlan, the pueblo of tapetes,
even the children have learned
how to make yellow turn

to pink with a pinch
of cal, how to color
wool with pigments

squashed from plants or
insects, how to weave,
running the looms as

we might pace a treadmill,
their workout turns
lana into rugs, bags,

wall hangings, a living. Zapotec
is their first language,
but they know enough

Spanish, English, French
to bargain over shade,
intensity, pattern, the three

months each brilliant textile
took from their lives.

Glossary:
Teotitlan – a town in the state of Oaxaca, near Oaxaca de Juarez
Pueblo – town
Tapetes – tapestries
Cal – baking soda
Lana – wool