Journal and photographs by Fidel C. Hart
The map has been put away. I’m simply walking now. Reading street signs that begin with Rue, rolling my tongue trying to pronounce them. I know that I am ready to see Paris’ show stopping boulevard, the exquisite Champs-Elysees, I’m just not in a rush and I prefer to stumble upon it rather than map it.
It is my first day ever in Paris. I’ve been in the city for about five hours, after arriving from Bruges, Belgium by train. For a city with a reputation for being filled with rude citizens, I’ve heard nothing but people saying, “Bonjour, Monsieur,” with accompanying smiles. I already love this city.
Seemingly walking on air, lifted by the aroma of baked baguettes and street vendors pressing crepes, I glide through the city.
In a city beholden with beautiful architecture, it isn’t proper to say that something you saw stopped you in your tracks. Something I just saw has stopped me in my tracks.
Fast forward 2 years, 3 months…
Without newsfeeds from my friends, I’m really out of the loop when it comes to new music. Mostly by habit. I like classic soul, rock, jazz and hip hop. I’d rather watch old Soul Train performances on Youtube than the latest MTV music video awards. Being overseas, it’s rare that I’ll watch MTV Japan and see an English language video.
It’s early morning for this Sailor. Time to prepare for the work day. I wipe the cold out of my eyes and turn on the television. As I’m about to change the channel from Armed Forces Network’s (AFN) playing of MTV Hits to ESPN, a voice so beautiful stops me.
I’m familiar with the name Adele and her popularity. Yet, I hate to admit that I am unfamiliar with her music. I was familiar enough to know it was her voice I was hearing. I watched the video and felt a familiarity with it. I felt that I had been where she was walking. Her voice was drawing me closer and closer to a memory. Then, at the 1:38 mark of ‘Someone Like You,’ I saw the images of the bridge that stopped me in my tracks.
The Pont Alexandre III bridge. Perhaps the world’s most beautiful bridge. The day I saw it was a day similar to the one Adele filmed for her video. It was overcast and wet, yet the bronze shimmered off the cherubs, nymphs and horses that adorn the bridge from end-to-end.
I walked across and did not want to leave. Paris had me!
It’s nice that there are movies and videos that not only inspire us to see places, but remind us of the places we’ve gone. Hard to believe that a song about being heartbroken can remind me of falling in love, but it does. Merci Adele!
Do you have a song or movie that reminds you of a place you have been?