Saturday, February 04, 2012

Fruit Salad à la française.

Friday, February 03, 2012


One of the reasons why I'm not out every day enjoying my ballon de rouge in a café along the Champs Elysées is that that's an awfully expensive pastime*. Another reason is that I'd most likely end up suffocating after about a week or two of this sort of thing given the state of my lungs and the air quality in The City. Some days are better than others and I've learned to look out the window to see if it's worthwhile to quit the digs in suburbia and possibly paint the town red (or, in my case, something secondary like a muted purple or orange).

Was having a pretty good run of things breathing-wise up until last weekend.

After a period of relatively clean, clear, slightly damp weather, things took a turn for the worse last Sunday morning. Actually woke myself up choking, despite the major doses of antihistamines I've been taking to calm the effects of some scary food reactions. Popped a pill, donned a dust mask, then waited for both the coffee to brew and the breathing passages to clear up. On heading over to market, noted this:

Keep in mind that, as the crow flies, the Eiffel Tower is 6.7 km/4 miles from where I took the picture and it was relatively dry out.

Ran my errands, headed home via the Back of the Hill (more trees and also, hopefully more sheltered from this), took it easy for the rest of the day.

Headed out in the evening, saw that the air had cleared somewhat and so profited from that.

Still a bit hazy, though a little afterwards a fog did roll in. The light from the beacon was reflecting off whatever particles were in the air.

The next few days followed in a fog, or a cloud of dust, or something. Concentrated on cleaning house, finding healthy stuff to eat that wouldn't close up my throat** and just breathing.

When I can, I get as far from The City as possible. Wooded areas are my preferred stomping grounds. Wooded areas with ponds or streams, even streams that have been covered over and run out of faucets, are my favorites.

View from the Parc de St-Cloud, approx 8 km or sixish miles from the Eiffel Tower. Note the well-defined layer of brown in the air. There was a nice breeze blowing from my back while I was facing The City. From here, my eyes and nose were running a lot and I did cough some, but wasn't having trouble breathing.

Today - more of the same.

Again, from Mont Valérien. Just beyond what I think is the Tour de la Porte Maillot is Sacre Coeur atop Monmartre. That's roughly six miles from the house. The Eiffel Tower is to the right of the edge of the picture.

From what the Frenchie tells me, this haze of pollution is going to last at least through the weekend, possibly longer. Will deal with it; I'm old hand at that sort of thing. Am wondering, though, if taking up smoking might not help strengthen me up some more.

* I can't even imagine how much a glass of red would cost at Foquet's. If I really want ambiance with my coup de pinard, I'll go to Rond Pont in the Cité. Love the headwaiter there; he's like Jacques Tati, only with a voice. Is totally on cue with my accent and anglicisms. I am (and no doubt many others are) going to miss him when he retires. Is kind of the soul of the place and, more in general, a living symbol of a Paris that is disappearing as time marches on.

** Another story for another time.