One Night Abroad Project
I blame the incoming exam week for my intense daydreaming lately. I have been longing for the great escapade for a month now, since the very first day of college, which is like an evolved form of high school.
The subject of my daydream is usually Paris, in the middle of the night.
In my vivid imagination, Paris doesn’t have pickpockets, lovers shoving each other’s hands, or drunken Asian tourists yelling nonsense to invisible men. My Paris is calm, a bit cloudy, vintage, and charming. More Woody Allen than Tim Burton.
Stores were open 24 hours with no one sitting inside and the servants were sleepily whisking cappuccino for no one. I would enter the first cafe with yellowish light, vintage wooden bar, and squeaking old table. The waiter handed me a menu with beautifully selected dishes, and I would pick some kind of latte (cappuccino…. Oh, I know! Hot Belgian chocolate with less foam!) No phone is allowed in my dream. No Instagram. No Twitter. No pop-up emails, just me, that servant (and a barista, I suppose) and Paris. Quiet, with one or two automobiles pass by frequently. Umm, did I mention that in my dream we are all in 20s and automobiles are happening? Well, you got it now.
After finishing my cappuccino/hot chocolate, I would walk down slowly along the Seine. Listening to old violin (Moon River) playing in the background by an old man wearing huge Oxford blazer and an old beret. My next stop was Louvre, of course. The beautiful Louvre basking in dim lights, securely keeping all of the masters’ artworks inside it’s twisting corridors.
I would sit in front of the Pyramid, looking up at the cloudy sky and stare at it so long, thinking about life (so…. romantic! I am a philosopher in this story) and death and what it means for us. Getting a little bit bored with all of those metaphysical questions, I stood up and made my way to Paris little alleys with beautiful little plants hanging above your heads. Strangers in black tuxedos and friendly eyes waved at me from the distance, asking me to join them. Nah, I waved back. I entered a gloomy bar with a sleepy old man sitting in one of the chairs. I ordered some beers for him and me. We talked all night about Paris; the culture, the people, the charming little alley I just passed, and the government, perhaps. He would tell me all about his life in stuttering English with some French slangs slipped from his mouth (in this case I used Google Translate or even better, Smartling). Events he had seen with his own eyes, events that he hope he can see.
After an hour or two I stand up lazily and say my goodbye. Slowly, I make my back to the hotel. The weather feels warm because of the beer and the same violin player is still playing a slow melancholic melody. So sad, it makes my heart ached knowing that, in less than a minute, I will wake up and face the real world.
Nonetheless, it was a perfect night.