That Trip… Septième Jour: The Longest Day

When in Paris, do give yourself plenty of time to let your feet recover – the BEST way to see the city is in foot. And I’ve just learnt that it’s more difficult for me to walk 10-15 km in a day than it is to cycle 30 or even 60 km. Then again, the grass is always greener on the other side. While in Alsace, we prayed for a respite from the heat. So God granted our wish and we’re experiencing 20 deg lower than last week. That means bundling up in those layers, and hoping for no rain.

Whining done, we’ve actually had a couple of glorious days in Paris. Out on the Rues and the Boulevards, everywhere you look there are historical monuments rubbing shoulders with glamorous brands, that make you leave behind any sort of discomfort you might have started out in. I write this because I’ve been groaning while going to bed, then waking up in the morning with cramps in my feet, real or imagined, then a few minutes on the road, probably after the coffee and croissant, all that is forgotten.

Our first full day in Paris, and we were drawn to the top 5 famous sights of the city. I specifically chose to be here on June 21, the longest day, because of the Fete de Musique, but more about that later. We started from home, and walked past Hotel de Ville, along Rue Rivoli, and were lured in by the Louvre. No tickets to go in, but the grounds were engaging enough, particularly the pyramids.

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Walked on further through les Jardin de Tuileries

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Then through the Place de la Concorde

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Up the Champs Élysées,

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Crossing ‘under’ to the Arc de Triomphe

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Climbing to the top of the Arc for views of the city

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Then walking down Av. George V across Pont d’ Alma, past the Musée du Quai Branly for this view of the Eiffel Tower:

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After spending some time in a quiet spot around the Tour Eiffel, we walked back to Place de la Concorde to meet our neighbours from Delhi over a glass of chilled Chablis and a bowl of hot French soupe à l’oignon.

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Who’s noticed the difference in meals from our Alsace days? We’ve cut out 3 of those 4 courses, and are happy enough eating just the one. Lunch was a shared Nutella crepe (most popular tourist snack) and hot dog/ sandwich on the go at Champs Élysées.

Then on our way back home from dinner, we ran into the music festival. I’d heard about this festival from a friend, a few years ago, about how musicians perform on the streets, and had been intrigued. All our day long walks yielded no music performances, but at night it all started to get going. Unfortunately, the reality was quite different from my imagination. We came across a few loud, many tuneless rock bands, some techno stuff, only some of it was performed live. One of the low points was hearing Beyonce and Bruno Mars songs, the appeal of which was redeemed, somewhat, by male strippers dancing in the window! The atmosphere was party-like, lots of wine flowing and people getting drunk :-/. Disappointing.

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Then a couple of lanes away from home we found what we were looking for. Some honest melodious musique, played from the heart, without amplifiers, fancy lighting or other pointless tricks.

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Java Jazz Again

Last weekend was Java Jazz time – one of those must-do events in Jakarta. Last year had been eye-opening for me, to see how popular is the jazz scene among the youth here, plus there was a slew of big names to draw us in. I’m not a follower of jazz music, love it when I’m listening, had no idea of who was playing this year, but went along with some friends who are far more keen. What can I tell you, it exceeded my expectations! We only attended some shows on Sunday – Butterscotch, David Helbock & Earl Klugh, and loved every moment. What’s more, there was vegetarian food available at the food court too!

Plenty of colour, fashion, light effects photo ops:

Java Jazz March 2013

 

Java Jazz

We had a delicious bit of soul food just before I left for Malaysia – an entire Saturday spent at the Java Jazz festival. Souvik is the jazz nut of the family, and he’d been researching the music of practically all the performers, so we were quite clear about which shows we wanted in. I was simply tagging along, mildly interested.

After a bit of Depapepe and Laura Fygi (both good), we went in to hear Pat Metheny. And I was floored. An instant convert. His music was magical; there was only the single sore point of ‘VIPs’ sitting behind us and opting to talk to each other LOUDLY while he played. Souvik, the non-confrontational man, went off in search of another space in the music hall, while I stayed put and gave those oldies a very small piece of my mind to shut them up. Pat Metheny played an encore which was probably the most heavenly piece of music I’ve heard in a while. Hats off!

Some of the other shows were super, particularly the Alfredo Rodriguez trio. The final performance was by one of the masters, Herbie Hancock. Excellent too, but that day, my heart stayed with Pat Metheny!