Monday, May 7, 2012

Paris Apartment and "le Bain"

Our first week in Paris, we were able to stay at the apartment of some friends.

The apartment was small, but very serviceable and it is located in a delightful area of Paris.  You cannot fall out the front door of the apartment building without running into a brasserie or cafe!!!

In the street a half block away on Saturday morning, most of the shopkeepers put tables out on the sidewalks and the cobble-stone road with their goods, a table dedicated to cheeses, one to breads, several to fruits and vegetables, a sausage table, etc....  It is a wonderful street!!!!

The apartment had a small bathtub with a sort of shower head attachment to the faucet.  "Sort of" in the sense that I really couldn't stand with the attachment in a shower-like stance.  The tub had a seating area which was raised from the drain area about 4 inches.  The tub also has high sides so that I could barely straddle my way into it without getting high-centered, not a pleasant experience without the benefit of clothes.  The design is such that, after perilously stepping into the tub, I needed to sit down on the short seating area to be near the shower attachment.

The French word for bath is "le bain" which makes sense as this particular bath became the bane of my existence.

It is possible that an athletic young person could use this particular le bain without significant injury.  However, for an overweight guy in his late 50's, the entry and exit were not only not pretty but potentially life-threatening.  Once I was seated low in the saddle (picture the Queen Mary permanently docked in Long Beach or President Taft), I turned on the water.

The hot water heater at the apartment is in excellent condition.  I can swear to that, and did.  The handle for modulating the temperature of the water was a bit trickier and I never quite got the hang of it.  There was really hot, really cold, and then cool, with the ability to slip into really hot or cold at random.  From the bathroom, I sounded a bit like Wiley Coyote falling into the canyon with my various high pitched screams.

The water from the shower attachment, in addition to its variety of temperatures, was more of a trickle than a stream.  It worked and made me damp, but not with much enthusiasm.  Sort of like washing a car with a toothbrush.

Karen saw me do it once and decided that she could wash herself with a hand towel and do her hair in the sink.  She can get away with that.  As a guy whose hair borders on fur and whose sweat glands operate as faucets, I cannot, so I diligently climbed into le bain each day and thought about calling a crane company to help me out.

At one of the local art museums, I came across a painting of a guy in what looks like a similar tub.

Of course, he looks more comfortable and it is pretty clear he wasn't going to wash his hair.

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