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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today we headed out to the Louvre, which as Luke said has to be one of the largest assemblies of human ingenuity under one roof in the world. From primitive carvings to Egyptian mummies and Greek chiseled gods, to jeweled trunks and medieval armor, to wall-sized paintings and tapestries, the span of civilization is collected within the sprawling cavernous halls of a former palace. What was once the booty of kings and the purview of princes is now displayed to the world. And I mean the world. Thankfully Julia and I discovered how to buy tickets electronically while searching for a bathroom near the metro stop when we arrived, thereby avoiding massive lines again. We did have to elbow through some throngs around the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Millo, but generally we kept moving. Caleb mastered the maps and laid out the plan of attack, and we saw a LOT. Not everything, by far. But plenty to satisfy four teenagers. You have to love the fact that we hit Paris while Luke was still 17, as many things (including museums) are free for kids under age 18.
The Louvre was lovely. But lunch was fantastique. While we were sitting on a malfunctioning metro this morning, a lady struck up conversation after noting our American accents. A missionary, from Maryland. And when Scott told her what we were really here for the food, she told us to take the Metro line 7 after the Louvre and get off at Place Monge and choose any cafe for fondue. And so we did. An angel? Pretty peculiar encounter, but we found ourselves nestled in a cozy bistro with interesting artwork and real French clientele, sizzling chunks of meat in oil and dipping bread in cheese over a leisurely meal. Abundance and freshness and atmosphere and tasty sauces. Memorable.
Last stop today, the Arc de Tiomphe, the monument built by Napoleon that commemorates French victory and soberly remembers the price paid. And has spectacular views.
Well, many missionaries might not blog about stopping in Paris. But we have been blessed to grasp this opportunity for culture and cuisine. I see this as the decompression chamber, the space between Africa and America where we leave one behind but do not quite encounter the other, where we equilibrate. And the truth is that while missionary life involves a lot of roaches and pus and humidity and rebels . . . it also occasionally offers an opportunity way beyond our technically-poverty-level incomes. Grateful for the paradox, or, in this case, Paris-dox.

1 comment:

Jan said...

What a delightful account. I'm smiling after reading it. Feel like I've just had a vicarious mini-trip to Paris!

Wonderful that you've had this stopover/in between time en route to the States. What wise counsel you received all those years ago.

Jan B.