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Matisse, France, Travel, Creativity, Adventure, Expatriates, Dreams, Reinvention


Chasing Matisse: The Book

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Matisse, France, Travel, Creativity, Adventure, Expatriates, Dreams, Reinvention

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December 10, 2002

Between Dreams and Nightmares

We stayed in bed for 16 hours, and I'm not talking about a honeymoon. I mean hard-core, not-even-snoring sleep, when Paris was waiting outside our window, but we couldn't have cared. My dreams were coming one after another and were intense, visions with me looking down on water-from a small, placid lake in lush countryside to flying with ethereal wings above a huge lake and not knowing how to get down until I hit a gentle waterfall and slid into the big pond. The most disturbing fantasy was Jim and me standing on a huge cliff looking down on a swirling, restless sea (rather futuristic, I might add). Our son, Matt, was with us. A man walked up to the edge and stepped off. I knew Matt wanted to do the same and asked him not to, but he took the leap. Jim may have jumped too, and I don't know about me. But then I had an underwater view of them and others speeding around in a clear submarine navigating jauntily. I'd like to talk to my friend, Connie, who is the Dream Queen, about what all of this water and high-flying dives mean.

I went from Dreamland messages in my own head to trying to set up our French Internet connection. That was the real nightmare. We headed over to the Internet café around the corner. I could hardly think and my vision was blurry, still tired as can be. We spent two hours in the first foray and six hours more the next day. If one of our computers was up and running, the other wasn't, and then we still couldn't get email. This went on for days. Our hotel room and the Internet café were all we saw. Meals were sporadic. We couldn't stop the downloading of information from the ATT Global Help line to our ears and brains to our fingers typing the words and numbers in, clicking adding and deleting. We were frantically trying to fix the problems that prevented our associations with our friends and family, colleagues at home, and those we're yet to meet.

We were wrung out, when it seemed part of our setup was working. We grabbed a bite of lunch at a Vietnamese kiosk close by to the hotel and then went to buy a cell phone, so we could be communicado in that old-fashioned mode. In a matter of a half-hour, it was success! Not nearly as hard as dealing with our server (until later on when we really needed to know the language to press the right buttons). Bruno at The Phone Shop showed us and sold us, and we felt magnificent indeed walking away with our French cell phone like everyone else on the street. We sauntered back into our hotel. I waved and smiled at the tall thin man with glasses (who looked like a Rottweiller) standing at the desk, and he snarled at me. "You owe 43 euros for the Internet, and you must pay it now." Okay. I mean what's the problem. We paid the mean, snarly man and went up to our room. Then two boxes of books and supplies of Our Stuff arrived that had been shipped, and we knew we had to get out of there. No matter what, we had to leave.

Actually, it was minutes later that we discovered we'd checked into the wrong hotel. When we called our friend Mims, he asked, "Are you at the Victoria Palace?" The shock permeated our bones, horrible yet funny. We'd checked into the wrong hotel. How utterly imperfect.

But later that evening, as we tromped through Paris on the mission to find another place to stay, we found out we were saved! Randall Vemer and French Home Rentals and owner Michel Tessel dashed in like Musketeers! We had an apartment in the Marais!

posted by Beth on December 10, 2002 | View All Diary Entries

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