Ahh...I feel much better after having been out of the apartment, Maylin-free, for five and a half hours. I really needed that. I was cooped up too long without too much of a break from Maylin. I feel rejuvenated!
John suggested that I take a ballet class, which I did. I tried a different teacher this time -- the class was even better than the last one I took at the Centre de Danse du Marais. I prefer the standard workout at the bar which we started off with. I'm quite good at that, so it was a good beginning for me. We also did a slow dance routine which wasn't too bad. It was very beautiful and many of the students danced it very gracefully. One of the following short routines which included an unfamiliar step totally threw me off and I had to practice on my own on the sidelines until one of the most experienced dancers kindly came by to explain it slowly to me. The teacher (not the usual one) was tres sympa -- very nice and funny, too. I didn't feel any pressure at all, even though everyone else looked like they had taken the same class for years together. Most of them seemed friendly -- the smiley ones were Asian and Italian, but one French lady did smile at me, too. I'll probably come back to the same class again next week, even though I heard it will be the regular teacher who isn't as funny and who is very strict with technique. That's okay. That's exactly what I need.
The dance school isn't far from the Hotel de Ville, where there is a free Willy Ronis photography exhibit until mid-February. I don't know if he's still around, but he's been taking pictures of Paris and its people since the 30's. Most of them were wonderful black-and-white prints of an innocent, romantic Paris -- a smiling boy running down the sidewalk with a very large baguette under his arm, lovers kissing under a bridge, a misty morning near Sevres-Babylone. I was near tears of happiness, living in this other world for a brief moment. It was a wonder to be able to use the free toilet in the exhibit, too.
Afterwards, I walked along the Seine towards the Louvre, eating my supermarket ham-and-cheese sandwich (I'm trying to be thrifty now). It was too cold outside to sit down, so I just kept moving. It was still romantic, looking at the Left Bank across the Seine. And I felt sexy in my skin-tight black dance outfit under my black wool coat. And I could hear my confidence in the click-clack of my high-heeled, knee-high black boots. It was ego-boosting to receive the admiring glances of people from both sexes.
I crossed over the eastern side of the Louvre to Rue de Rivoli. Lots of tourist shops that I tried to ignore. But with the big January sales, I found myself in a handbag store -- purses for 10 euros. Purses for 4,50 euros! Wow -- nothing for me, though. I walked past Galignani's -- a very overpriced, but very elegant bookstore that has an English language book section. I passed by Angelina's, the fancy salon du the (tea room) that serves an amazingly rich, dark hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream...
I went to the British bookstore, W.H. Smith, to do some research. I did some reading on jewelry-making, acrylic painting techniques, and Italian cooking. I wasn't going to spend thirty euros on one book, so I left after I had memorized what I needed to know.
I could have walked back home, but I took the fast line 1 from Place de La Concorde to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, home of the Arc de Triomphe. And now, I still have a glorious one and half hour to myself. Me-time will cure me anytime. I think I'll leave the house messy and make some jewelry.
Have a great day!