Thursday, April 10, 2008

Notre Dame

I don't want to lose track of my days...
I think its easier with the time spent talking verbally about how things go and how life seems and the nature of things (because Paris breeds that or I breed that or a mixture of the two).

Being alone its so much easier to tell your verbal story to someone. The world. 

Two days ago we went to the Notre Dame.  Which is much larger and more majestic than it is in any photograph you've ever seen.   I'm always struck when I stand beneath something with that much history by the passage of time, the number of people who have stood in that very spot and thought the exact things that I thought. The people who spent their entire lives building and perfecting every inch. The people who went through great pains to restore it after parts were destroyed. 

A note about the woman begging from bk's photo. The whole situation was a little intense. She followed us across the courtyard in front of the Notre Dame, asking for money because of the photograph. I can't say I was nonplussed by the whole thing. He seemed a little less phased.  I think I'm not sure I agree with his whole idea of not paying someone who is begging, especially considering that its the least you can do if you're going to snap their photograph and exploit their lifestyle for your art. 

There are lots of impoverished Romany people in Paris. (what we call and probably offensively gypsies). They're outside of every major tourist attraction. The first thing they say is "Do you speak English?" though I believe its the only english they speak, once you say yes (and I think for the first day bk kept saying yes) they'll show you a hand written note. I have not, since I've been here seen anyone give them money. You'll also find a few women, like the one in the photograph, sitting or kneeling (sometimes on Metro stairwells) saying nothing, heads bowed and holding a cup.  There is something about it that I find slightly unsettling. 



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