I heated it up on the toaster oven for about a minute on 250, and then generously buttered it. When I pushed the lever on the coffee urn, no coffee came out. I tipped it, and the end of the pot made its way into my cup. Luc was down there, and I asked him if there was any more coffee.
"Yes. Sorry about that," he said, and went and put a fresh pot on. I thought he already had some made, and was just going to go pour it into the urn. This was not the case though, he made a fresh pot, in a regular coffee pot, not in the urn. He did this without any sense of it being so close to noon (at which time breakfast stops, and it was about 5 till).
When it was ready, he brought the pot over, and hovering over my cup with a little left in it from the end of the pot, he evidently remembered me saying I taken the end of the urn. He stopped form pouring, walked over to the counter, grabbed a clean mug, and poured me a fresh cup of coffee in a clean mug. I thought this was very classy, and a real attention to detail, which is probably why these guys have been running this guest house so successfully since 1985.
While reading today's paper, I noticed the date, August 5th. Today would have been Donna's and my 26th anniversary. I thought of her, and that day 26 years ago. We were so young -- she 21, and me yet two months from being so, both of us with grand life dreams, and me, already then, harboring a deep, dark secret that I wouldn't let surface for 16 more years.
I read the obituaries, and noticed that when a woman survived a husband, most of the time her name was listed as her maiden name. It made me wonder if that was a convention to do that, or if it was common for women not to take their husband's name when they marry here. When it was a woman who died, it would have her maiden name, proceeded by "Nee," in parentheses after her married name, "nee" meaning "born."
I liked this ending to a paid condolence by a company named Dorfin, about one of its recently deceased employees, "She gave 20 years of devoted service and was a gentle soul who will be sadly missed by all her friends at Dorfin. May the family be spared further sorrow."
Before leaving the breakfast area, I approached Luc and told him that I noticed, and really appreciated, that first, he didn't make it seem like a bother to make fresh coffee even though it was so close to noon, and second, "little things" they do like getting me a fresh mug for a fresh cup of coffee.
He thanked me for saying so, and said, "You know," breakfast down here is from 8 until noon. Five until noon is not noon, so if people come down then, it's fine. And it's not like we're going to say, "Oh it's 12:00, get the fuck out of here." If people are still eating and drinking coffee until 12:30 or even after, that's fine." These guys understand customer service, and that repeat business is the lifeblood of a successful enterprise.
After breakfast, I went up on the roof to a most glorious day -- the temperature is in the mid-to-low 70's today, and caught up on yesterday's very long journal entry. After a while, Steve came up, and I recounted to him our day in my words, which he seemed to sincerely enjoy. He asked me if I'd send a copy of my journal entries for the week to him when we got back.
We talked about our plans for the day, much to my delight were that he wanted to go shopping. "Great, " I said, because I want to finish up this journal entry, and then, perhaps finish my book. I'm close to the end now. Pi has finally landed on that island that everyone in the book club said they didn't understand the significance of.
My battery indicator on my laptop came on, and I shut it down, and returned to the room with Steve. I read while he showered and prepared to leave for his shopping day. Just before he left, I grabbed my power cord, and returned to the roof to finish yesterday's journal entry. When I finally finished I started on this one up to here.
When I returned to the room, I found this note on my bed:
John, Thank you for being a special part of my life! Se u for dinner -- How about the place on the corner -- the one u liked -- lit up? outdoorsey? :-)
And up in the righthand corner, "See u around 6 or so" and "Steve" with a heart above it with the point of the heart extended down between the "v" and the final "e" in his name. How sweet is that! It brought a tear to my eye.
It's 3:46 now, and I'm torn about eating again. I haven't showered or shaved yet today, and before Steve left we agreed to eat out tonight, early. He's planning to be back at 6, and we will probably eat by 7. By the time I get ready, and head up to St. Catherine's in search for food, and finally get served if I don't eat fast food, I think that'll be too close to dinner time.
Or maybe I'll shave and shower real quick, and take the subway down to that place by Le Stud where Steve had that killer hot dog for a quick bite. Taking the subway will allow me to eat earlier than walking there, and I can walk back. Besides the week's winding down, and I still have 3 subway tickets to use. I like this plan.
I took a stroll down St. Catherine's, but once again did not eat. I finally decided to stop at the Dunkin' Donuts for a maple custard donut. Once in there, though, there was one person waiting to order, and one person waiting for their order, which was some kind of sandwich that the only person working in there was making. Being the patient (not!) person that I am, I left.
I considered stopping in the L'Aigle Noir (Black Eagle) for a beer, but passed it by without doing so. I stopped in a few shops along the way, and looked mostly at cards. One shop had the cutest porcelain bathroom sink soap dispenser and toothbrush holder. I lamented about whether or not to buy them. I really liked them, though, which is so rare that I thought I should buy them. I looked at the price, one piece $16 and the other $18, and thought about the drama of transporting them back to Raleigh. Back and forth. Get them. Don't get them. Would they go in my guest bathroom? I'd like them in my bathroom, but I think they'd look better in the guest bathroom. They have to go in my carry-on, which for this trip is my laptop bag. Not really conducive to knickknacks. I really like them, though. I left without a purchase.
I walked in and out of a few more shops, including the Second Cup coffee shop. I crossed the street from there, and sat for a while in the "sitting area" on that corner. It's a popular place to sit and people-watch, which is what I did. Four guys were sitting on the sitting area next to me, and their conversation was in French. One of them, I found attractive. The others I didn't, though they were not at all unattractive, just not my type.
A man walked by and asked me what time it was in French. "Il est cinq heure et dix," I said. He seemed satisfied with the answer.
I walked back to the hotel, and stopped at the grocery store on the way. I bought a Lindt Milk Chocolate candy bar, and a bag of Doritos "au frommage." I continued my walk back to the guest house, taking a little short cut behind the McDonalds, where I encountered three homeless men. They actually didn't say anything to me at all, they were talking among themselves, and laughing, actually.
I got back to the room at 5:15, and Steve was already back, sitting out on the deck having a cigarette, and reading. This is a good opportunity to mention the cigarettes. Did I do that in an earlier posting? First of all, you can't get American cigarettes here, not in stores anyway. Second of all, they are around $8.95 a pack. Third of all, all of the boxes have totally disgusting things and pictures on them: a mouth with a smile showing brown teeth and red gums, a limp cigarette, intimating a limp penis, of course, with the words, "smoking can make you impotent," black deteriorating lungs, those sorts of things.
I poured myself a coke, grabbed the tail end of the Cheetos bag, went out on the deck to join Steve. He caught me up on his afternoon shopping adventure, and I, him, on my walk up and down St. Catherine's. He read The Week magazine, and I read Pi. I am torn about this book ending. In one sense, I want to finish it, to read the ending, but in another sense, I hate the thought of not having it to enjoy on the trip home.
We left between 6:30 and 7:00 to go eat. We took the shortcut again, and this time saw that over in one corner of the parking lot we crossed as part of it contained a full size, fabric covered, living room sofa on which a homeless person was sitting up on. As we rounded the corner exiting the parking lot, we both, at once, smelled a horrible smell, and almost simultaneously said, "That's the last time for that short cut."
Further down St. Catherine's, we stopped at WEGA and found a surprising number of numbers missing from the video players indicating a good crowd downstairs. We moved on, next stopping at the liquor (Liquor? I hardly know her!) store, where we purchased a pint, I think, of Jack Daniels. I had my sweatshirt jacket on, and carried the bottle in a little brown bag in my pocket.
The place at which we ate was called "Le Club Sandwich," which was surprising to us. They had more than just sandwiches, though. We ordered an appetizer of onion rings, and two large glasses of beer. There was a lot of drama around the beer choices, which were "red," "blond," or "white." Steve asked what the difference was between the blond and the white, and the waiter went into a long spiel about how the beer is brewed, which he really struggled with. His English was good, but he really had to think laboriously about the words, and had trouble pulling the technical term he wanted to differentiate the beers, which we really didn't care about. We finally let him recommend a "local" beer, which turned out to be very good.
For dinner, Steve had what was listed as filet Mignon, but wasn't really. It was good steak, though, but it wasn't filet, which Steve was fine with. With it, he got rice and a small salad. I got the #48 club, which was pepperoni, provolone, and lettuce and tomato fixed as a club sandwich. I think it had bacon on it, too, and it came with a huge order of fries, only half of which I ate. Okay, maybe two-thirds.
It was a great dinner, and we were out on the patio in a corner overlooking the street, people-watching, which added to the ambiance of it all. Nice dinner -- good food, good company, hot waiters. Life is good.
On way back we stopped at the grocery store, and bought a liter of diet coke to go with our Jack Daniels. The total was $2.11, and I gave the cashier, who was busy yammering with a friend or another person working there, it was hard to tell, $2.26. The change of $.15 showed clearly on the register, which she promptly ignored, and starting ringing up the next person's order. I didn't say anything not wanting the extra change anyway, but had I known she was not going to give me any change, I would have given her only the quarter, and not the penny. Oh well; one less coin to drop into the "leftover change" jug at Le Conciergerie when we leave.
Back at the room, I caught up today's journal entry, while Steve read and then fell asleep for a short nap. Our plan is to go to Le Stud for 11:30. That's supposed to be "the happening" place tonight, with the bar called, "Parking," being tomorrow night's hot spot. So "the locals" say, anyway.
We left for "Le Stud" at about 11:45. It was very happening there, just-our-type of men everywhere. Drinks were cheap, too, $2.75 for Jack and Coke, which is what we started sucking down, Steve at the quicker pace.
At one point, I was standing by the pinball machine between the two main areas of the club, and a Spanish guy walked by, stopped, backed up, smiled at me, and said hello. "You have a beautiful smile," he said. "You smile much?" I thanked him, and said, "Yes I do," smiling.
We chatted for quite a while. I asked him where he was from, and he said, "Ges." It was hard to hear in there, and he had an accent. I said, "Ges?"
He said, "Yes."
"Where's that," I said?
"Is it near here," I tried again, "I haven't heard of it. Is it G - E - S?"
"No, ges!" he said, "G - U - E - S - S."
Lord. What a ridiculous conversation.
I guessed Miami, and he said, "No, bigger."
"New York City?"
"San Francisco," I said.
"Oh, so it's outside the U.S. Acapulco?"
"Close," he said.
"Mexico City," I said.
"Yes!" he smiled.
Whew. I hate those guessing games. At some point we did the same thing about age, which I hate even more. I guessed him either 32 or 33, I can't remember. I'm sure he remembers, as he was younger. I hate that. And I even do try to use the rule of "always guess 5 years younger than they could possibly be" when playing that game. I told him that I needed to go check on my friend, and would be back.
I found Steve in the other section of the bar by the pool tables. He wanted to meet Pedro, who at this time, I still hadn't exchanged names with. I knew that he lived in Montreal, was working for Kraft foods, whose Canadian headquarters is in Toronto, but he worked in an office here. His family is all in Mexico City. He's 30 years old, single, and definitely wants to have children. He has a woman friend in Mexico City who is willing to help him out with that. While he didn't explicitly say he was bisexual, he did say, "I like women, too," when making the point that it wouldn't be "hard" (no pun intended) having sex with a woman to conceive a child.
When we got back to Pedro he actually introduced himself to Steve first, which is when I learned his name, and I told him that I was John. We talked a little while, during which Pedro was constantly rocking back and forth looking like he wanted to dance. Steve said, "Why don't you ask him to dance?"
I did, and he said, "Sure," and as we took a step toward the dance floor, he said, "Why don't you ask your friend to dance with us?" "Oh, sure," I said and indicated to him to ask him since he was closer to Steve than I was.
We did some "dirty" dancing for probably about 40 minutes. During that time, Pedro put his hand up my shirt and started pinching my nipple -- just a little too hard for my test. I thought of Tony from Flex, and I moved his hand away after less than a minute, trying to give the hint that that wasn't working for me.
A minute or so it was back, and I pushed his hand away quicker this time. I was rubbing his chest, but on the outside of his shirt. After a little bit he reached inside the waist band of my pants, on the side, though, not in the front or back, and gathered up my boxers there a little and twisted them. Then he grabbed the skin there a little (and there's much to be grabbed if he'd wanted to), and started twisting that a little. Once again, I pulled his hand out of there. I found out later that he was doing the same thing to Steve, who absolutely loves that.
There was intermittent dick to butt rubbing going on as we danced up against one another, sometimes in a "train" with Pedro in the middle of Steve and me, sometimes just me and Pedro, sometimes just Pedro and Steve. The music was really good, the alcohol was really working, and it was one of those times you throw your head back and just enjoy the moment.
At some point, Steve left to go to the bathroom, and Pedro and I danced a little while longer, maybe 5 minutes. Then he said, "I have to go to the bathroom." Once he left the dance floor, I did as well, and found Steve. "I'm ready to get out of here, now," I said.
He thought something had happened, but I assured him not that I was just through having my nipples pinched, and was ready to go while we had a break from Pedro.
Steve had had much more to drink than I had, and we stumbled slowly the somewhat long walk home. Truth be told, we were heading to the McDonald's, which was on the way home.
We got two cheeseburgers and an order of fries each. Actually, he may have only got one cheeseburger, but I got two, since I hadn't had dinner earlier in the evening. Several homeless people hang around that McDonald's as it's on the main street, and open 24 hours. One woman went over to a freshly left tray, and picked up a cup with some coffee left in it, squirreling (look up spelling) it back to her table.
We passed by the hospital that's very close to our guest house, which we pass every day no matter where we go, and always comment about it looking totally deserted, as if it were really a morgue as opposed to a hospital.