Wednesday, May 25, 2005
on yer bike
Now, while we both bought our bikes at the same shop, I've had a little more luck with mine (touch wood...dammit, no, that's chipboard...gah! so is that, aha! a wooden elephant statue, whew! lucky...). First off, within about 3 hours of usage, one of the bike pedals came off. Unfortunately because the place of purchase was located in the major business district of La Defense (read my previous bicycle article re the horrors of trying to get in and out of this area on a bike) we had to trickily arrange it into the back of his small car, in much the same manner as those rope and wood puzzles that you buy at markets just so you can taste a little insanity. Two days and 3 hours of bike usage later, the pedal broke again. He had no option but to leave it chained up inside the perimeter of his place of work until he could fetch it with his car. Of course, the obvious ensued, and it was stolen. Karma curse them with a shitty bike I say. So, being a man, he bought a better, flasher, shinier one (with theft insurance) and immediately began beligerently pestering me to join him in trying to kill himself in Parisien traffic.
So this weekend we took a very long hike up to the forest of Saint Germain, which, while being a very lovely forest, involved quite a lot too much road and not nearly enough forest time to make it a calm green destressing kind of experience that a forest visit should be. We actually had to try twice, because on the first day, his chain broke! (really, how much luck can one person get?). But it did mean that we tried a completely unexpected route along the bords of the Seine (a river whose borders change remarkably during its traverse through the greater Parisien region). Finding a small rarely used backwater track through a lot of charming shrubbery, we were soon confronted by a different side of life in the outer districts. That of several gypsy encampments, in disused condemned overgrown buildings, and ramshackle dwellings of their own construction. But what was really an eyeopening experience was arriving at the base of a massive double highway spanning the Seine river. Traffic 24 hours a day; giant concrete pillars and the noise amplified by the natural amphitheatre form of the surrounding land. There, in the middle of these two vast and trunkless legs of stone was a forgotten building, several stories high, whose top stories were mere metres from the base of this colossal double highway bridge. The residents couldnât have been renting such a rat infested monstrosity in any legal sense of the term, river views or not, and in the end I didn't really know what to make of it at all. Forgotten? Conveniently overlooked? or not worth the effort..., whatever the case, quite a few cars parked around the vicinty were not altogether shabby. It was a bit of a puzzle all round.
Now in other news, my dear Monsieur, while having somehow annoyed the bike dieties, does have a job interview in Toulouse this Friday. So this weekend will be spent in the southwestern part of France, one of the major geographical bits I haven't yet seen, and who knows? Maybe this roving reporter will shortly be changing location...?