Friday, October 15, 2010

Out of Africa - for awhile now

Goodbye Abidjan, land of winged termites.
No more sweeping up the wings in rainy season.

The day I left Abidjan - June 24 - there were flash floods. My only concern was how would this affect traffic on the way to the airport. Really, you get very focused when it's time to go. I had reservations at a hotel in Paris, folks! I was meeting my sister Pat.

Here is Pat at a cafe near our hotel.

Every time I go to Paris, I climb something. This time we climbed to the dome of the Parthenon. The view was (as is usually the case with places that are popular for tourists to climb) worth it. Though I admit this view of the parking lot is lacking.

I wanted to go to the Parthenon because Louise Braille is buried there. Louis Braille is one of those things I happen to know a lot about. I had an excellent childrens book on him when I was little, and in Grad School, I wrote a play on him.

Braille invented braille when he was 12 or 13. Two theories - he was a musician and wanted to write music; he was a kid and wanted to pass notes in school. I like the later better. He was actually buried in his hometown, but in the 1950's when France finally got around to making braille the official alphabet for the blind (sighted people kept insisting on raised letters - braille was a grass roots movement) they interned him in the Parthenon.
Here is a bust made from his death mask:
And a copy of his signature. Yes, he was blind.
So give him a break on the handwriting.
So, the thing everyone wants to know (everyone who knows about my interest in Louise Braille) is: Is his name written in braille on his tomb?
The answer is no.

I honestly cannot think what idiotic philistine was in charge of the decision NOT to put Louis Braille's name in friggin' braille on the tomb that HONORS him for inventing BRAILLE, but whoever they are, I'm sure they were an arrogant twit. And don't give me any, "Oh, but all the tombs in the Parthenon are the same, blah, blah, heroes of France, blah, blah." His name should be in raised dots, damn it.

Ahem. Happier thoughts. Here is Pat at the Church of St. Sulpice. It has one of the world's largest organs (which sounds kind of dirty). We attended mass, listened to the organ concert, then lined up to go up into the organ loft. I thought it was neat, but I know nothing about organs (again, sounds dirty). Pat, however, played the organ back in her Catholic schoolgirl days, so she had lots of questions for the organist.
I had no real interest, so I took this picture.
And now it's time to say goodbye to Europe.
Posts on my exciting home-leave in the United States of America are on the way.

1 comment:

Squirrelette said...

You are completely correct about the sculptor of Louis Braille's tomb being an arrogant twit, but then, isn't arrogance what the French are known for?

(And I did not know of your Louis Braille expertise... neat!)