Noilly Prattle: Omens, Burnout (and, as always), Images

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Omens, Burnout (and, as always), Images

Omens and Burnout

in a blue mood-
looked up and saw green
     The trouble with omens is that by the time you realize them as omens it's too late to use them. In our case, the cell phone snafu (reported in an earlier post) was an omen indicating that travel burnout was imminent. I define the phenomenon of travel burnout as the point in a journey when things seem to go wrong and when everything begins to look the same—a kind of déja vu.

one of many plaques marking
the line of the Paris Meridian
two musicians playing in the street
in front of our apartment one morning
       The nadir of total burnout hit yesterday on a calamitous trip to Versailles. Everything seemed to go wrong. The bus wasn't able to go all the way to the palace gate because of the 37th Paris-Versailles Race event that blocked traffic on the broad approach road three kilometers from the palace. We had to walk all those three kilometers! On finally arriving within sight of the palace I found that I had forgotten to put the SDHC media card into my camera and couldn't take any pictures. (For me there's no point in traveling if I can't take photos.)

pig and chickens roasting in the
window of a restaurant in the Latin Quarter
seen in a tailor shop
window down the street
       Versailles itself is beyond impressive, it is overwhelming—far too extensive for exploring on foot—excessive is not too exaggerated an expression for the impression Versailles gives. Given such excess, the French Revolution is understandable. It makes the 1% of our own time seem like paupers and Buckingham Palace in London a hovel in comparison. But, no camera, no photos.

scrap metal barge on the Seine
dining al fresco
       After roaming around the palace grounds, around 5pm we decided to call it a day and return to Paris. It seemed that the Paris-Versailles race was over, so we waited for the bus for about an hour and then discovered that there still was no bus and we would have had to walk the three kilometers back or take a nearby train for extra cost. Unwilling to walk anymore, we went to the railroad station and waited in line to buy a ticket from a machine only to discover that it takes only coins of which we had none. We had to move to another long line to buy tickets from a human being . . . finally got tickets and got back, hungry, to Paris. A restaurant across the street advertised hamburgers for 7 Euro, but, once seated, the menu said 17 Euro so we left and eventually bought Falafel take out across the street (after an extra large daiquiri in the apartment) and ate it in our apartment.


Eiffel Tower at night
street musician in a Montmartre park
       Today is our last day in Paris; using up unused Metro tickets (from yesterday's Versailles fiasco) and strolling the Champs-Élysées. Had my first encounter with a pickpocket at the Arch of Triumph—a real amateur, amusingly transparent. I shooed her off and noticed her accosting another mark with the same gambit. She got close enough to get a hand in his bag, but he caught her in the act and a struggle followed—I fortunately had my SDHC card this time.

dusk on the Seine with Notre Dame
smoke break in the Latin Quarter
       I've been noticing that I've been adding more and more people in many of my photographic images. I'm not really sure why. Perhaps they only serve as foreground to increase the depth of the image. Yet that explanation, although part of the process, seems specious at best. Perhaps they add an emotional impact that brings the image to life that an otherwise ordinary image might lack. Or, maybe, I'm seeing the image through the eyes of the people in my images. It's like you and I are here at this time, experiencing the same place, and I'm wondering if you see it like I do or in a very different way.

F1 racer in a Renault showroom on
the Champs Elysee
roses on Edit Piaf's tomb
in Pere Lachaise Cemetery
       Most likely, it makes no difference. Ultimately, we see the world through our own eyes and try to make sense of something that makes no sense. An old cliché states that the world is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived. I live my mystery and try to interpret it through photographic imagery. Here, then, are my favorite images from our short stay in Paris. They don't define Paris, since Paris (or anywhere for that matter) is ultimately undefinable. But, definition is not the issue...only what it is for me.


street conversation

on the banks of the Seine

caught redhanded pickpocket
and the mark who caught her
probably a PR photo for Nespresso

living La Boheme

La Pyramid du Louvre

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