Bon Jour!

red cafe umbrellas on the Champs Ellysee

So we’re in Paris for our summer vacation! There’s a never ending panorama of beautiful sights, but this last week has been a photographic challenge as the weather has been grey and rainy. We are thrilled with the cool, rainy weather (so opposite from Tel Aviv right now, it’s a wonderful break for us) but photographically, much more difficult to achieve great photos. Most of the old buildings are a cream color, lending themselves to black and white or sepia tone, but I’ve found a few colorful subjects in this wonderland of neutrals.

the metro
Paris metro sign

I really wanted to bring the girls to Paris so they could practice their French and experience France as French speakers; I think it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. They all three study in a French school in Tel Aviv, they’re fluent in French, Hebrew and English; I felt that they should have the real French experience. BUT, it seems they are not the least bit interested in seeing the monuments, museums or touristy sights, all they want to do it SHOP! To the girls’ credit, the only museum that I remember visiting as a young child was the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (I was probably 10 or 11 years old); I remember that my brother, sister and I loved dropping coins into the wax mold machines, watching the souvenir machine make wax molds of an Abraham Lincoln bust, then the mold dropped out still warm for us to take home and I remember the lake Michigan beach that was nearby. I don’t remember one thing from the museum, but I do remember the experience with my family and I think that’s the most important part.

Rue Boubourg, Paris

 I will have to say that shopping here is vastly different than shopping in Tel Aviv, there’s so much more to choose from! I’ve tried to strike a compromise, a little shopping, a little Eiffel tower, a little shopping, a little Louvre, a little shopping, a little Notre Dame….I’m hoping one day they’re appreciate the experience a little more than they seem to now.

My experience with children on vacation: 
We were in the Pompidou Center,
Emili (9 years old)-shortly after we arrive: “Can we leave now, I’m tired and bored.”
my husband: “We’re all tired and bored, that’s the price you pay for culture.”

Paris France
The Eiffel Tower, Paris

When I visit a new place, my goals are to take some great photos AND I like to collect accessories like shoes or eye glasses; I search for these special things as I wonder foreign places. These accessories become my souvnenirs from the places I visit. I haven’t found anything here that strikes my fancy yet.

little dove outside my window

I’m shoving the girls out the door now, we’re going to the Louvre. I hope that as we roam the galleries of the Louvre,  my enthusiasm for art will rub off on them a little and the recitation of my art history lessons that I remember will entertain them for as long as it takes to drag them past some of the most famous art in the world. I’ll promise them creme brule if they finish the tour without driving me crazy!

My Birthday Photo Essay

fleamarket shirts
vintage shirts

July 1st was my birthday, I started the day like off at the flea market. Going to the flea market has been a yearly birthday ritual of mine. I went by myself this year which made it a quiet, reflective and enjoyable trip.

quaint apartment
apartment overlooking the flea market

This is a beautiful, old apartment overlooking one of the main streets of the flea market. When I see interesting homes, I like to imagine who lives in them and their lives might be like.

smoking vegetables
nargila shop

I wandered through the crowded streets, looking at the old, vintage/junk items for sale. This year I wasn’t as excited about being in the flea market as in previous years; I found everything was messy and crowded together, which hadn’t bothered me in the past. I felt a need for order and peacefulness as I manuvered through the market.

old building
an old shop with lots of character

I left the flea market and crossed the street into the old city of Jaffa. The old city is on the sea, I felt the need to be by the sea. I’ve been to the old city so many times that I challenged myself to to see things differently, so my photos would be new and fresh.

jaffa church tower
funny, tall trees next to the Jaffa church tower

The first thing I encountered as I approached the old city was a dilapidated building, as I passed it I heard very loud chirping. ! ?  I turned around to peer into the glassless windows to see what was making so much noise. The crumbling, vaulted ceilings were COVERED with little bats hanging upside down. There were four owl bodies hanging down from the ceiling, obviously they were meant to scare the bats away, but it wasnt’ working at all. There were so many of them that the ceiling appeared black and undulating. I continued on.

Jaffa port

I ate lunch at a seaside restauant that looked Greek. After lunch, I continued on my way down the smooth, ancient and winding stairs of the city, into the port area. The Jaffa port is authentic, it’s dirty, the boats are working boats, there are piles of fishing nets topped by florescent buoyies, there are no fancy yachts. There are no chic boutiques lining the port area as there are in many other ports I’ve seen (the Tel Aviv port being one of them), but there is a  fish restauant and a bars/art galleries in the old warehouse spaces which appealed to me very much. There is art all over the port inside and out.

outside art
giant murals cover a warehouse

One warehouse in particular was covered in huge murals, all the characters appeared bleak and many offered to mutilate themselves for something in return, I think it was the opportunity to be taught something. All the graffiti and art I saw was depressing. Is that the state of affairs of Israeli-Arab artists? I suppose it could be, Israel is an intense and often depressing place if you live in reality here. Many choose to ignore what’s going on around them, it’s how you live a more peaceful life.

warehouse bar
huge bar/gallery space

I found a huge bar/gallery space in the port. Such large spaces are rare. The walls were covered by wire sculptures.

wire sculpture
man trying to fly?

This figure seems to be trying to fly or he is floundering in some way-interesting, but depressing-again.

old building
crumbling Jaffa building

I noticed that I had a bit of a sunburn, so in the late afternoon I started heading back home.

time to go home
heading home along the sea

I was pleased with my day of photography and the moments I’d captured. It was now time to go home and take a birthday nap!

Bon Voyage Helene

childhood friends
friends at the beach

Yesterday was Emili’s last day to play with her best friend Helene; Helene and her family are moving back to France. The girl friends from their school class spent a poingant day with Helene at the beach.

fun at the beach
making childhood memories

The girls were very busy building sand castles and  laughing and splashing one another!

ouch, jelly fish
jellatenous globs of jelly fish

We found jelly fish washed up on the beach; these are very small compared to previous years.

Forget me not

As a going away present for Helene and Emili, I needle felted two dolls, one for each girl. Emili the girl received Helene the doll and Helene the girl received Emili the doll.

Helene and Emili dolls
Needle felted Helen and Emili dolls

 Helene and Emili have been in school together since the first grade; I am still friends with my best friend from the first grade!

needle felted dolls
needle felted friends

We all tried to be brave and not cry, but Emili and Helene’s last parting hug broke me. We now have a great reason to travel to France!