Parisian Palooza!!!

Trip Start Jul 25, 2008
Trip End Aug 13, 2008

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Believe it or not, the word P-A-L-O-O-Z-A came to me and I didn't even know what it meant..but somehow I knew that what I had experienced was a Parisian Palooza!!! Based on web searches, palooza means party, party, party! and that's what it felt like, the continuous pursuit of what can we do next so that the day will never end.

Unlike the palooza's of drunken gatherings and concerts, this one definitely had a french spin to it. Lets bring out the wine, the cheese, the salads, the snacks and the BABIES??? Yes! For 14 hours we enjoyed the sun, the cushion of the grass, the comfort of friendship, the beauty of our surroundings and the joyous sounds of the guitars as day turned into mid-afternoon, turned into a bright-skied evening, turned into a late night dusk, then a nearly midnight barbeque and finally a brisk walk home, following the moon to our destination.

When I think picnic, it means packing up the car and driving somewhere. For Philippe and Angele and most people in Paris, it means packing what you are willing to haul and hitting the road 'a pied', on foot! If you are not organized, this will NOT work. So we had baby carriage, baby Lisa, a small suitcase on wheels and our sacks together as we began our journey to MontSouris a beautiful park in the southern region of Paris. I love the name because it means Mouse Mountain :) Or it could mean Smile Mountain :) Either way its beautiful and lush and the weather seduced us horizontal and there was very little reason to move once we got situated.

But first, a five minute walk to the train stop. We met Valentin, Angele's 15 year old son on the way. Its not unusual to make plans to meet friends and EVERYONE is on time. I like that. We continued on from RER B, to Chatalet, to RER C down to Cite Universite, then off to the park just past the exit. Wow. A beautiful oasis in the midst of a jungle of buildings.

I took a moment to stroll around the park. I could be anywhere around the world. Its a beautiful, tranquil day and the children everywhere are making the most of it. Then I heard some music and was surprised by its unique source...and even better, look at the two ladies singing! So charming, so french, and right in front of the espresso and crepe stand..there is no doubt, I'm in France.

Our day continued on the grass, chatting, napping, munching. We passed 6 hours in one spot, and I marveled how the babies, one 9 months old (Lisa) and one 10 DAYS old, just went with the flow of the problem at all.

My french friends help me redefine 'hanging out'. I was ready to pack it up and call it a day when we started gathering our things at 7pm. But we weren't heading to the station. Instead, we took our baby caravan across the street to another park where we could play Petanque a french game which is something like marbles and croquet. I could imagine my chinese ancestors shaking their head in disapproval. No goot, no goot, baby too young..hai yah!

Without a peep of resistance, the babies continued to eat, nap and play. I, on the other hand,was fatiguing! Can we go home now?

Parisian Palooza continued through 2 hours of Pentanque. It was my first time playing and after being chided for playing like an American...hey now, I REPRESENTED! Yeah baby, I found the sweet spot in my game and did some flag waving in the end. So a victory lap and head home? No way! This is La Palooza!

So off we went to the train station to our next stop, BBQ at Gabby's (a friend's house). After a prolonged stop to coordinate who went with whom, we were finally on our way. It was after 9pm and I was wondering about my next meal. Sheesh!

One train, one metro ride and a 15 minute walk brought us to Gabby's building. Although some of the group arrived by car, we arrived within minutes of each other. But one quick call later, we were buzzing off to the supermarket. Our BBQ host has NO FOOD! what? It was 9:50pm, 10 minutes before the store closed. Team Palooza made its way through the aisles grabbing bottles, sausages, meats and goodies. OMG!

By 11:30pm we were feasting on some fine barbeque and laughter. By 12:30am the guitars were out and we were making quite a ruckus. By 1:30am, they called it a day..and I leaned into the finish line!
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