My time here is coming to an end, and I start to wonder more and more what the practicalities are of me moving here. Karin asked if I miss anything about home (before already giving me one answer, my cat). I thought about it, and decided that I do miss days in my pajamas where I sat around doing nothing, and the smell of my guitar.
Also, my callouses seem to be slowly disappearing. I brought my Joolie my ukulele1, but haven’t had much of a chance to play, although Karin and I did try to do some Radiohead covers together, with her on vocals. She even has a cavaquinho, a Portuguese predecessor of the ukulele, tuned the same way but four semi-tones up. It also has metal strings and a tiny, tiny fingerboard, which makes it extremely difficult to fret.
The weather has always been in our favour. When it rains it absolutely pours, but only does so is short bursts. If caught amidst a downpour, one can usually seek shelter by a bistro and just wait it out. We’ve never had to worry about rain when doing an outdoor shoot over a large area.
Féerie at the Moulin Rouge
Karin took us to a show at the Moulin Rouge, probably the most touristy thing I’ll do here. It’s one of those things that most Parisian’s rarely do themselves, as they often plan on doing it one day, knowing they’re so close, but never get around to it.
It’s not assigned seating, though the hall is situated well enough that pretty much anyone would have a good view, just not necessarily as close to the stage. When you get in, an usher walks you around and shows you to a table.
The venue is a very wide with much of the original architecture and old paintings still intact. It’s also filled with black and red accents, giving everything a luxurious, indulgent look. We had a bottle of champagne on ice to ourselves, which we came close to finishing (though Karin definitely did most of the work there).
Neither of us had any idea what to expect, and it turned out to be a mix of things over a two hour show. Most of it was energetic can-can dancing, but in between was speed juggling, acrobatics, and ventriloquism. The latter portion was quite funny and the only part in English, though the ventriloquist spoke various languages, including Mandarin. He even had a dog come out on stage, wearing a mask that looked like a real dog mouth, only the ventriloquist could control when it opened by remote so he could use the dog as a dummy.
You really feel like you’re witnessing both a piece of history and an evolution of the show, as each revue has a ten-year run and all the songs, costumes, and dances are updated every decade. While not exactly a poignant or profound experience (and I don’t think it’s meant to be), it was a thoroughly entertaining night.
There were people of every nationality in attendance packed into the hall (we sat next to an Austrian couple and a British couple), and each dance in the show itself had themes from countries all over the world.
Lots and lots of breasts. Probably more breasts in one night than I’ve seen in my life.
I had no idea most of the show was done topless. At first it was strange to see that their dancer who specializes in frolicking in a pool of huge live snakes also doing it half naked. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, mind you.
- Which got cosmetically damaged during it’s time in checked-baggage. To be expected, this wasn’t exactly an expensive instrument. [↩]