Monday, 26 May 2014

“It's time for a small shopping spree ...” (part II)

(Part II)

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Saturday, 16th of March 2013 (Paris, France)

As one of my friends used to say ...

"Being a woman, it is your prerogative to change your mind.”
... and so instead of returning home, I decided to follow up on a lead regarding an internet cafe.
Since the metro Opera was only two stops away, it only made sense to do so.

Ascending onto the busy footpath I approached a young guy for help ...

“Exuse moi, si tu pouvez m'aider? Je cherche un internet cafe “La tête dans les nuages” par ici. ”
He said that he recalled seeing a place with computer games around here, but was not able to give me any specific directions.

I decided to ask a vendor at the newspaper stand and he was able to tell me how to get there. Unfortunately, I must have muddled up left and right turns as I ended back at the starting point.


Feeling a bit embarrassed to ask him again, I took a wander around the area in hope of finding this place by chance ... so with my feet firmly on the ground I was looking for the internet cafe called   “A head in the clouds”.

“Is this a joke?” ... (some of you may ask)
Yes, this did cross my mind. However, I decided to stay positive and ...

                                                       I found the “Milk” instead! Hooray!

Well, they do have some great names in Paris ... (don't you think so?!)
As I accessed my emails, I was touched by the number of birthday wishes forwarded to me by my friends and google+ community.
I informed my friends that all is well and that I am having a ball - giving only a few headlines to keep them under suspense.

It was now 4 pm and I felt hungry. Luckily I didn't have to look very far as only a couple of doors down from the “Milk” was an organic “Exki” cafe.



At a very reasonable price I had a beautiful soup with a bread roll, a rhubarb crumble, an espresso and a bio-organic wine.
Though it may not sound like a lot, my stomach felt very satisfied.

Now I was definitely heading back home!


Upon reaching my cosy abode, I decided to spend the rest of the evening reclining in a armchair with a book and it's very intriguing story.

To make things perfect, I needed some wine as well as some extra cheese and bread to accompany it. I am sure you agree that one can not survive on a book alone.



With the choice of three wine stores on my street I selected the one that gave the impression of being more upmarket as I wanted to get a really nice red wine.

I was attended to by a young assistant who was very helpful in trying to pick a wine that would satisfy my taste buds ... I have to say that he got it right!

Since I forgot to check if there was a bottle opener at home, I gave him the pleasure of opening this special drop for me as I watched with envy.

Removing the cork from a wine bottle is like an excitement of an upcoming holiday and I love both of those feelings. Unfortunately, with the screw tops dominating an Australian market it is not very often that I get to use my old friend ... the bottle opener.

With fresh bread, a new selection of cheeses and “a ready to pour” bottle of wine I hurried back home to the tune of the drizzling rain getting heavier with every step

I couldn't wait to get acquainted with the chosen companion ... and yes, my taste buds were thrilled with the choice!


After a few sips of wine and a few bites of cheese, instead of reaching for the book, my “creative self” decided to make a use of the sketching pad and charcoals which I have brought with me just in case. I am sure you will agree with me that one can not ignore artistic spontaneity ... especially in Paris.

Self portrait ...

and my “artistic blossoms” of going with the flow ...

After a short burst of creative juices, I happily settled with the book until the sky (or maybe wine?) lured me to sleep.

Photography and drawings by Olga Kulanowska
.   .   .   .   .   .   .

It is possible that some of you may not be familiar with my earlier blog titled “What's around the corner ...” containing a selection of short real life stories.

If so, here is the link ...    
Thank you, Olga.

Friday, 25 April 2014

“It's time for a small shopping spree ...” (part I)

(Part I)
Please scroll slowly or refresh the screen if photos do not appear.

Saturday, 16th of March 2013 (Paris, France)

Since “today” wasn't eager to get up, I decided to linger in my bed for a bit longer. Having nothing planned for the unfolding day I was in no rush to abandon my cosy burrow.

As I waited for the sun to light up the sky, a suggestion from a client of mine popped into my mind ...

There is a lookout at the top floor of “Galleries la Fayette”. It is worth checking it out.”

... and so combining this with a small shopping spree felt like a great idea to begin my day.
Well, one needs to experience a bit of everything!
Don't you agree ... (girls)?


Charged with the excitement of a new adventure, I was now ready to embrace my “ground hog day” routine* ... a prayer, romance and cheese with bread to be followed by a compulsory “step class” (a descent from the 6th floor) completed in no time as I always looked forward to my morning ...

Yes, you guessed it correctly ... espresso!
 *Please read previous stories for the explanation.

Unfortunately life is full of distractions and since one needs to be flexible at times to “survive” I was left with no option, but to surrender to the silent call of temptations from across the road.


Moments later, I found myself sharing a queue with a lovely four legged friend while waiting for my treat and I hope that he was going to get one too!

If I remember correctly, an apple tart caught my eye on this occasion.

I must say that I really love the way the French wrap their merchandise, so that the yummy top stays preserved for the enjoyment of our taste buds rather than that of the wrapping paper ...

Or even worst (as often experienced in Australia) ... when a serviette placed inside the bag does a fantastic job of wiping our dessert instead of our fingers.


Happy with my morning catch I was now on the way to my usual cafe for a cup of well deserved espresso with a difference.

Don't they say ... “Vivre la différence!”
Today, for a medicinal purpose only, I complemented my coffee with a small glass of cognac to boost my circulation.

Invigorated by the cognac's warmth, I was pleased that I no longer had a need to join the weekend joggers on my way to the metro.

Armed with “Le Parisien” and a sweet temptation, I was also ready to ... 

Upon entering this well known department store it dawned on me that today was a Saturday and maybe not the best day if one wanted to avoid a crowd. Though on the other hand, an opportunity to experience a vibrant shopping atmosphere could make this moment much more enjoyable and memorable.


Overtaken by the buzz of shopping energy it wasn't long before I found myself at the “Reminiscence” counter selecting three pairs of earrings as presents for my girlfriends

I have to say that the customer service offered to me by this particular young sales assistant was simply superb. Having worked in retail in my younger years, I could sense that she was very genuine and thoughtful.

Her suggestion to discretely place a recipients' initial on the gift bags to help me identify them without reopening was very much appreciated.
She also politely ignored my earlier error when I mentioned that I was buying the earrings as “l'cadeau pour mes copains” before moments later correcting myself by saying that I meant “pour mes copines” ... to whitch we both exchanged a giggling smile.

I will definitely reminisce about this moment!


Without a care for time, I was cruising from one department to the next, collecting a few more presents ... a wallet, a lacy piece of lingerie, a designer scarf, another pair of earrings, Maxim's chocolates and a very special water colour painting.


 A story behind the water colour painting ...

Across from the Maxim's chocolates section, I spotted a water colour artist in action with his artwork displayed around the desk.

Since his style appealed to me I decided to buy one of the paintings as a gift. After making my selection I made a mistake of glancing at his current work in progress, which very much resonated with me.


It was “le village en Normandie” where many Parisians like to reside as I was informed by the artist.


I asked him how much longer before this particular painting was going to be completed as I would like to purchase it.

About 30 min.” ... was his reply.

As this was fine by me ... the deal was on.

Next to the artist's desk was a cafe and the smell of coffee was too hard to resist, especially when one had some time to kill. Sipping my espresso it dawned on me that I totally forgotten the main reason for visiting “Galleries la Fayette” ... the lookout!

The timing of my revelation was just perfect.

                                                        Zooming in on the city's skyline ...


All excited about collecting a precious gift I made my way back from the lookout. However, upon reaching the artist's desk neither Jean Luc or the vibrant Normandie were nowhere to be seen.

Though I did place a bit of pressure on him, I assured myself that he did not flee the country with an unfinished Normandie under his arm and all was going to end well.

Having nothing else to do I decided to hang around while observing the shoppers.


About 10-15 min. later he reappeared rushing towards his desk* ... a man on a mission to fulfil a request from this “femme spontané”.

I watched as he applied the last finishing touches before taking a photo of his barely dry water colour to be whizzed away from him to a far, far away land.

I would like him to know that I really appreciate his willingness to fulfil my somewhat demanding request and that his work of art is proudly displayed in my friends' home.

*I wonder if he had to go to a hairdressing salon to do a quick drying.

                                           Overloaded with gifts it was time to head back home.

To my lovely blog readers ...

For someone who hates deadlines, I have to say that I did a great job of being on time with my monthly stories (plus an occasional one in between) for the first eighteen months of blogging.
Unfortunately my April story had to be delayed as the universe has thrown a few extra corners and challenges onto my path ... and something had to give.
Moreover, it looks like the universe has not finished with me as yet and so for the next few months things might be a bit unpredictable.

You can rest assured that my Parisian journey will continue to be shared with you as every story needs to have “an end”, and a happy one if possible!
Thank you for your understanding. 
If you haven't had a chance to visit my earlier blog titled “What's around the corner ...” here is the link ...

In this blog you will encounter ...
... beauty of the unknown, together with a kaleidoscope of real life stories and other bits and pieces that will encourage you to follow your intuition, to look with your heart, to listen to your body, to dream and to cherish every moment of your life.
It is never too late or too early to enrich your life with more joy, laughter and better health!

Photography by Olga Kulanowska