It was a wet Tuesday morning, our second day in Paris. There has been no respite from rain since the day before. It was past 8 am yet the cafe near our hotel, a few blocks away from Jardin du Palais Royal, looked like it opened just then. A guy in an all-black uniform, who I presumed was the manager because of his demeanour, was standing on a chair turning on the outdoor heater hanging under the awning like a lamp. A pretty black waitress in black long sleeves shirt, shorts, stockings and high heels was fooling around with him, pretending to push him off the chair and then laughing. The guy didn’t seem to mind though he did not laugh with her. Her hair was pulled up in a big bun on top of her head accentuating her high cheekbones and elegant forehead. I was amazed at how chic she looked. She greeted us with a cheery “Bonjour!” as we sat down in front of one of the tables lined up outside the cafe. All the chairs were turned towards the street, and I felt like being in front of a theatrical stage where the performers were the passersby who were rushing to work.
Sandeep ordered a decadent breakfast combo, 17 euros to be exact. I was tempted to order the same. I thought why not, we are in Paris, I should drop my low carbs diet on this trip. The pieces of baguette alone that the waitress placed on our table tasted divine, I can’t wait for the other Parisian treats to land on my tongue. The waitress laid down the feast on our table in three sets; first was a plate of danish, croissant and a cinnamon roll, then a plate of salami, ham and some cheeses and finally a plate with an omelette. Then came the cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice. Given that the tables were so tiny we had to put one of the plates on a table next to us.
As we devoured our breakfast leisurely I felt a little guilty while I watched the Parisians walking briskly with their long legs, some with umbrellas, some without, impatient to start with their, I could only deduce, a busy day. It almost felt like a sin to be sitting so indulgently, sipping our cappuccino, dry, warm as if we have all the time in the world while everybody else who was passing by looked wet, cold and off to do something productive. One female passerby with curly blonde hair did glance at our table with longing eyes, probably thinking how nice it would be to stop for a while for a hot cup of brew. I saw her shake off the feeling, and with determination, she marched on towards her destination.