None of these pictures were taken by me. I was too busy enjoying the JUNGLE MUSIC and the CANDY COLORS.
If you've ever been to the Detroit Metro Airport, you already know about the Psychedelic Party Tunnel. If you haven't, the only thing you need to know is that the Psychedelic Party Tunnel is THE GREATEST TUNNEL OF ALL TIME.
Seven hundred feet of strange music synchronized to sweeping color. Traveling on its moving walkways is something akin to accepting a boat ride from Willy Wonka.
It is more than enough to distract oneself from that whole Nigerian terrorist thing.
So here I am. In Detroit. With an eight hour layover. Doo dee doo.
Oh, by the way?
I AM ON MY WAY TO PARIS.
I'm renting a (teeny tiny) apartment on the Île Saint-Louis, one of two natural islands in the center of Paris. (The other is the Île de la Cité, home of my favorite Famous French Thing, Notre-Dame). Here's a description from About.com, because I'm too lazy to think of a better one:
"This small island is like an oasis from the rush of the city. It's almost as if someone dropped a small French village into the center of Paris, as it features markets, bakeries, fromageries and cafés. While much of Paris has modernized over the years, the ile remains romantically frozen in the 17th century."
And I'll be living there for the ENTIRE MONTH of January.
Me. In Paris! Staying here:
After spending the last few years reading book after book on the subject, it's difficult to believe I'll actually BE there. Tomorrow. I'll walk where my characters walk, eat what they eat, see what they see.
I'm choking up — in this very public airport — just thinking about it.
My sister has graciously offered to accompany me the first week. This is because I am, in short, a Giant Weenie. And my sister is brave. So when I'm too terrified to leave the apartment in fear of offending someone with my heinous American ways (even when I know better than to think that!), my sister will kick my butt out the door. And when I'm too scared to say something in fear of butchering their beautiful language, my sister can botch the words for me. Ha!*
[NOTE TO MY SISTER: You did agree to this, right? Right??]
The second week, I'll be solo. Which will be . . . good for me. And the third and fourth weeks, my husband will be there.
I'm going to Paris.
Weird, huh? I mean, it's not weird. It's perfectly natural. People go to Paris all the time. But . . . it still feels weird. France means something different to me. The only thing I can compare it to is if C.S. Lewis got to vacation in Narnia. Even though Paris is a real, tangible place — one I've even been to, albeit years ago — it doesn't feel that way anymore. I've created something there. I have inserted false memories into its monuments, restaurants, and parks.
And I'm about to see those places.
If all goes according to plan, I'll be blogging and tweeting my adventures. Expect tales of pastries, cemeteries, and Famous Stuff! I will try my best to be brave for you.** Please send happy, warm, fuzzy thoughts my way.***
And HAPPY NEW YEAR! Feel free to leave bogus resolutions in my comments.
* The handful of people who have already read Anna will recognize something in this paragraph. Yeah. Those first few chapters? The similarities are most certainly intentional.
** Seriously, you guys. I am really nervous. Did you know they speak FRENCH in France? Did you know that I do NOT speak French?
*** I mean, it's awesome, right? The going to France thing? So why can't I breathe? Should I take another ride in the Psychedelic Party Tunnel? When is my sister getting here?? WHEN DOES SHE ARRIVE???