Last week the usual suspects – the two of us and the extremely small dog got into the car at midnight ten and headed for the bright lights of Paris. It’s about 500 km to Paris and we had an appointment at the US Embassy just off Place de la Concorde at 08:50 sharp. Dog settled under her blanket in the soft basket she travels in when we drive – the definition of a ‘litter’ is a mode of transport powered by humans (often slaves) in which the high-born travel in luxury. That pretty well says it in terms of The Bean in transit.
The two of us are well versed in long drives living where we choose to. So one of us drives for 2 hours and then we swap, the theory being that you get some sleep. We at least rest. Nonetheless, arriving as we did in the City of Lights at a little before 6 a.m was slightly hallucinagenic. I was driving as we headed down the right bank of the Seine and Two Brains snapped like a Jap as le Tour Eiffel loomed ahead. Frank (pronounced Fronk after the wonderful wedding planner in ‘Father of The Bride’), our SatNav, called us ever onwards to our destination and was surprisingly accurate in finding a carpark right opposite our destination in Rue Gabriel. So amazed were we that he had pinpointed what we had asked for (he has a talent for getting tired and emotional at the most inopportune moment) that we drove past and had to do a sweeping circuit back again. Safely parked we surfaced into the great iconic square and this is the point – it was almost empty – insignificant traffic around, the sky lightening and for once an almost uninterrupted view of a landmark.
The drive was entirely worthwhile. Whatever awaited in the Ambassade (and for that you will have to wait) somehow didn’t matter in that moment in the slicing chill of the early morning which could only come close to being spoiled by a hugely rude waiter at breakfast. And believe me, he tried ….
PS: The quote is, of course, from Casablanca and is attributed to Howard Koch one of several screenwriters who came and went in the process of producing that miracle of a film.