Sunday, August 9, 2015

Secret Brunch and Speeding Bikes

In Paris I often have either very calm, uneventful weekends, or weekends jam-packed with events and ridiculousness. On one such particularly ridiculous time involved two consecutive days with my American friend from taking French classes back at the Sorbonne. Weeks ago, we had decided to attend an event called "Secret Brunch", which had been recommended to me by Hot Blonde Cousin. She had gone to the event in London, with successful results, and thought it would be something I might be interested in as well. It is essentially a planned party whereby you purchase a ticket in advance but are not told the theme or the location until right before. Anything involving the word "costume" is right up my alley, especially when a bit of mystique is involved. 

It turned out that, rather fortunately, they let you know the theme a few days prior, so you are able to put together the appropriate outfit. This was going to be a yacht party, we were told, so stripes and navy and boat-looking attire would be required. I have to admit that I was just a wee bit disappointed since I was hoping for some sort of full on regalia, but I did my best with what was demanded, and I frankly thing my friend and I were the best dressed of the group. The morning of, we received the information that it would be held at a Seine-side restaurant, not too far from where I live in western Paris. The party would start at 6pm and the first hour included free drinks, so it was a small surprise when we showed up and found that many people held true to Parisian decorum and did not arrive remotely on time. Still, it was a perfect opportunity to get the lay of the land and get a little tipsy.

As the day progressed, the sun was shining but with a cool breeze that bordered chilly. We had an occasional view of the Eiffel Tower and at one point sat down to lunch once we figured out how the table system worked. There was a spectacle later in the afternoon wherein which a half naked lady played with fire, but for the most part we concocted our own entertainment... More specifically, there was a very odd-looking woman who was making her way around the floor whom we had spotted early on in our "mean girls" sort of way. For reasons completely unbeknownst to us, she had chosen to wear one of those trendy rings of bright colored flowers atop her head and the rest of her outfit was all black and white but in a hippie pattern and fabric. Since the theme was basically yacht-chic, we were baffled by her choice of wardrobe. More importantly, she was definitely on the older side of 40 or 50, had tons of makeup on in an attempt to cover this up, and seemed to be eyeing all gentleman passersby. As we became more intoxicated, our tale of the notorious femme fatale became more elaborate. She was a cougar in the worst way, a notorious gold-digger looking for fresh meat, known simply as the "Black Rose." She became even more infamous when one (or several) of her scandalous rendezvous ended in a violent death, sending her to prison for an undetermined amount of time. However, à la "Orange is the New Black", she ended up having a female following that at one point turned into a girl group. She ultimately used her wiles to escape her longterm sentence and was now back on the hunt.... Now, I am not sure if that was the true story we told or if my friend and I would even agree on the details, but that is how I tell the tale, thank you very much.

As the day continued, we managed to befriend two Italian lads, both very intent on conversation, though who on earth knows what else. One of them was very smitten with my married friend and let's not forget that Italians are even more notorious than French for infidelity. The guy I was chatting with was cute, chatty, and ten years my junior. Done and done. But I think both of us ladies at least felt the call of flattery by day's end. And with that checked off our list, we both stumbled to our separate homes and crashed until the following day.

I had originally made no plans for my sunday afternoon, and the skies were ominously gray. American friend, however, sent a text reminding me that it was the final day of the Tour de France and asking if I might be interested in an afternoon picnic to watch. Since this was a once or so in a lifetime opportunity, I gladly accepted and we arranged a meeting point. She ended up coming with a couple of her other friends and we all met at the Arc du Carousel, overlooking the Tuileries. Unfortunately, when we finally found a spot we thought would work perfectly to see the cyclists, two things happened. #1) the skies opened up and it didn't stop raining for the next several hours, if not all day. And #2) we realized that the race wasn't starting for an hour or so after we thought, leaving from the original destination. Meaning that we would be standing in the rain for about 4 hours when all was said and done.

Even still, onward forward we prevailed! At a certain point, the lady cyclists came riding round the bend. Sadly, they don't do much in the way of promoting the women, but I was glad to lend my support. We did our best to nibble treats and sip some wine (not that I needed more after the Secret Brunch) and at long last, the men came gliding into view. After a few loops around their path, I had caught my pictures, felt my thrill of delight, and it became time to escape the raging showers. I made it home as the sun peaked out over the horizon and took a luxuriantly long shower to warm myself up and settle in for the night. Despite the crazy weather, brunches and bikes made for wonderful weekend.