Monday, March 19, 2012

Jumping Hurdles While Running in Paris

Trusty ol' running shoes...
Somewhere between the first cramp in your side to the first sensations of runner’s high that leave you feel like you could keep going forever, you start to realize what a challenge it can be jogging through Paris.

Gone are the days when the university gym offered me numerous treadmills complete with cable TV and air conditioning.  Long gone, in fact.  A student again but paying much less tuition, I am also left with many fewer options when it comes to exercising.  The Sorbonne isn’t exactly known for its gym facilities – I think it has more of a track and field arrangement similar to those that Greek gladiators trained on, if not the same ones.

But running is free, and I live in a city best experienced by foot, with motorbike, bicycle, boat, and bus trailing behind.  But no one ever said at what speed one must explore foot.  I prefer an increased rate of discovery clad in comfy New Balances and some gym shorts, running the streets and parks.  But this is no easy feat while dodging dog poo and old French grandmothers…

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sweet Change

The lemon tart...

I was 19, so sex wasn’t really a taboo issue, but still, exiting the Pigalle metro station and stumbling upon the Sexodrome and its neighboring sex shops was not something I was ready to experience.  My French textbooks never talked about Paris’s red-light district.

It was my sophomore year abroad and my school had found me an apartment – no small feat, I would later learn, working at the same school two years later.  I was headed to meet my landlords on the supposedly chic rue des Martyrs.  I wasn’t sure if in French chic meant transsexual porn and leather whips.  Maybe a nuance was lost in translation. 

I found my way through the neon lights and advertisements for poppers and other erotic paraphernalia that my innocent young self did not yet understand.  Finally stumbling down rue des Martyrs (thinking that sex shops and allusions to death were, ultimately, good bedmates) I arrived and met the landlord for our first encounter.