bowing down to consumerism

Hello from Paris, the city of lights or as some called it, the city of love. For many, I think it’s the city of shopping, based on the hordes of tourists I see everywhere spending towards the benefit of the French economy. I am not exactly a statistic of that. On Saturday, when the shops are all open in full force, well at least the areas that I was at, walking along Rue St. Honore can be an extremely dangerous affair if you have weak willpower. The cobblerstoned street, flanked by all the various brands that you can think of, luring you in with the glitzy window displays. I don’t know, maybe I have greater priorities in life now but shopping doesn’t seem to factor as high anymore. Despite that everyone’s gushing about shopping in Paris and coming out triumphant from the Chanel flagship at Rue Cambon, I went in, took a short turn and glanced at the accessories, before emerging empty-handed. Walking past the Pradas, Louis Vuittons and so-on, I did a double take on the pieces of leather lining the shelves, and what would have got me really excited and tempted to walk in and swipe my plastic a couple of years back, no longer hold as strong a pull. What’s wrong with me?

Sunday in Paris is a totally different story altogether. Although Champs Elysees still brims with the busloads of tourists with queues forming outside Louis Vuitton, Laduree, Paul and Brioche Doree (yes, even bakeries!), the rest of the shopping activity takes a backseat on this day. The places of interest are abuzz with people still though, with (again) queues and crowds forming at the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Palais museums. I was just walking around and getting baked in the scorching sun. Even though the day started slightly chilly, it got gradually warmer and the merciless sun without the benefit of any shade made my skin burn. And all this was below 30 degrees. Just a few days before the temperature was sliding pretty low close to 10. It’s beautiful weather that we had in the weekend, but today the rain came back and throughout most parts of the day, it was just gloomy and wet.

Maybe I am just sensitive but I do find some Parisiens snooty, even the ones working in the cafes. I would really have liked to sit at a sidewalk cafe and enjoy a coffee and maybe sink my teeth into a tart but these cafes don’t make me feel welcomed at all. The wait-staff seem to look down on you if you are not having a fancy big dinner at their cafes, and so after trying it once, I ended up just ducking into a Starbucks. I don’t suddenly feel all the warm hospitality that I would have received in some Starbucks outlets elsewhere in the world but at least there seem to be less animosity. It’s weird how even in the supermarkets, the cashiers appear judgmental.

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Years ago, someone told me something that I made a joke out of. As I reflect back on those words today, I think maybe there is some truth in it after all. In many areas of my life, I need to change my perspective, but it can be so tough. I’m trying and each day I struggle to remind myself about it. Maybe if I think that this is not going to last much longer it will get easier to steer myself in that direction.

I can’t seem to stop eating. OMG!

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