With my time in Paris coming to a close, I prepared my gear for my visit to Ireland. At this time the Icelandic volcano mischief was wreaking havoc at airports around the world, especially in Europe. My flight into Ireland wasn’t effected but that’s not to say that I would escape the cloud of chaos that had descended upon Charles Degaul Airport. Per Arletty’s suggestion I got up extra early to go to the airport; good thing too. I got on the wrong train twice, went to the wrong terminal and qued up in the wrong line before I got to the correct ticketing area. I’ve never seen or felt so much disorder than during my visit to CDG airport. I searched for someone or something that would give me a bit of guidance. There were tons of flat panel screens all over the check-in area and none of them had any useful information on them. The AirFrance staff was far a few between and the ones that appeared to be of service were surrounded by travelers hungry for answers. The picture doesn’t do it justice. This was only one section in the AirFrance ticketing area. More than half the people standing in line had no flight or had missed their plane. They were just standing in line because they didn’t know what else to do. I realized that if I were going to make my flight I would have to slice through this mob of stranded travelers, which I eventually did. To my dismay the woman at the check-in counter had no record of my booking. I had checked in online, but didn’t write down my confirmation code. As a last resort I pulled out my laptop and tried to get online at the check-in counter and pull up my ticket, but before the Wi-Fi pirates were able to take my money she found my booking which was under my first name instead of my last name… doh! A wave of relief came over me as she printed out my boarding pass and she didn’t bat an eye at the weight of my checked baggage. I was used to flying Ryanair which only allows 15kg for checked bags… my bag was over 20kg and my carry on was stuffed to the gills. With all the speed bumps, wrong turns and mishaps I was still not on the plane. I needed to navigate through security and I was 10 minutes away from boarding. Another mad dash and line cutting maneuver was required. I pulled an OJ Simpson once through security, no knives or bloody gloves were involved, I’m talking about the classic TV commercial where he dashes through airport, hurdling suitcases and then eventually hiding in the back of a white Bronco that he rented from Hertz rent a car. So I’m on the plane to Ireland after quite an ordeal. The lesson learned was “surrender”. When I walked into the AirFrance check-in area and saw thousands of people in line, first I panicked, then I surrendered realizing whatever outcome happened was for the best. With each new obstacle I took a moment to be thankful and let go of any attachment to an outcome. It was quite a challenge. My arrival in Ireland was the complete opposite of my departure from France. I eased into my new surroundings and the relaxed pace in Ireland. It was great to see a familiar face upon arriving in Dublin. Donal, my roommate in Spain, picked me up from the airport and also assisted in preparing for the upcoming class. After the class he also gave me a tour of Dublin which was unforgettable. I have to say I’ve been blessed every step of the way of this journey. More to come from my adventures in Ireland. Keep It Live!
Sunday was class day and Arletty and I gathered our strength, for I had to teach and she had to translate. But first we had to schlep all of our ingredients and equipment over to Bob’s Juice Bar. Now Bob’s Kitchen was right around the corner, but not the Juice Bar, it was 3 times further… not a fun hike. The class went great. Everyone seemed happy and well fed. With our weekend duties behind us we were ready for some restin’ and chillax’in.
Did I mention that Arletty is a phenomenal host? I told her she should offer a rawfoodist travel and tour support for people that come through Paris. She’s got Paris dialed in, especially the out of the way places that most tourists don’t know about. And of course there’s her culinary creations. At the moment there aren’t any rawfood options in Paris, so it was great to be able to connect with someone who speaks the universal language of rawfoods. Over the next few days I was able to do some exploring on my own and also visit some places with Arletty. I went to the Louvre one morning and got a healthy dose of painting and sculpture. The weather seemed to be cooperating with us and we were able to visit some of the Parisian parks that were bursting with Spring growth. These were my favorite excursions, when I was able to be with the trees and plants, a brief respite from concrete and cars. Call me a “candy ass” if you wish, but Paris is a little to busy for my taste. A nice place to visit but I not sure if I could be happy living there.
When we left off, Arletty and I were preparing food in her tiny flat for the Thai style dinner at Bob’s Kitchen. The picture above is of “Bob’s Kitchen” kitchen, not Arletty’s. I spiralized zucchini in the living room and cracked coconuts while Arletty prepared smoothies in the kitchen. Eventually I took my turn with the Vita and prepared the almond miso sauce and the Thai coconut soup. Some where during all of this I also made the green papaya salad. Dinner went from 1 seating to 2. I was unsure about having enough food but we had just enough soup to feed the masses and portions left over of everything else. Some how Arletty was able to seat people, take drink orders and serve all the people in the restaurant while I focused on finishing the food prep on location and plating everything. We were under staffed but pulling through some how. A friend of Arletty’s, Jeff, showed up for the dinner and offered to help… we took him up on the offer. Mark also rolled up his sleeves and rescued us from the mountain of dishes that was forming in the sink. The reviews seemed to be good. There were some complaints regarding too much “spice” in some of the dishes. No one told me in advance that French peeps don’t like “the heat”. The same seems to be true in Italy and Ireland as well. Wow! What a night. We got out of Bob’s Kitchen at about 11 pm, but the night wasn’t finished. We had invited a couple of dinner guests that had driven in from Belgium (Katarina and Karima) back to the flat to talk about the rawfoods scene in Europe. Katarina invited me to teach a class in Belgium which we scheduled for the end of May. We were able to turn in for the night at about 1am. The following Sunday morning, with no recovery time, we put on a raw food class… not the best idea, but we pulled it off. The class was held at Bob’s Juice Bar and 12 folks packed into its cozy confines. I taught the class while Arletty translated into French. By the days end we were both wiped out. With the dinner and class behind us it was time to enjoy Paris. More to come. Keep it Live!
Paris, what can I say, it’s an amazing city. It has art, history, culture, fashion, music and cuisine… actually there is one aspect of cuisine in which all of France seems to be lacking: Raw Food Cuisine. It seems that Paris and France in general are a bit stuck in their old ways when it comes to health and food. This is the country that gave us foie gras, not the most conscious of food creations. While there are a number of organic grocery stores in Paris, they’re unfortunately lacking any of the raw decadence you can find in any of the major cities in the US, Canada, England and …Ireland? Yes, it was quite a pleasant surprise to find out that Ireland is totally hip when it comes to conscious culture and cuisine. I’ll be sure to fill you in on the details of the Irish rawfood scene in future posts. My host in Paris is the beautiful and gifted Arletty Abady. We met at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center a couple of years ago when she was a guest there. We kept in touch through email and of course on Facebook. It’s great being able to reconnect with the growing minority of conscious eaters around the globe. Everyday in Paris we had the opportunity to wow each other with crudo (raw) culinary creations. She has been working her raw food magic and doing healing work in Paris for the past year. While staying in Paris for my first stretch, she organized a dinner and class which was a great success and quite a learning experience. The dinner was hosted at Bob’s Kitchen and the class at Bob’s Juice Bar. Both locations owned and operated by Marc Grossman… aka “Bob”. Arletty tells me that “Bob”, pronounced “Bub”, is the hoop name that Parisians throw around typical American’s, so “Bob’s Kitchen” and “Bob’s Juice Bar” represents that American style… or something along those lines. Dinner at Bob’s Kitchen featured a Thai themed menu: coconut curry soup, green papaya salad, Pad Thai noodles with almond miso sauce and mango pineapple sorbet with passion fruit and chocolate topping. Before we could pull off the dinner and class we had to purchase all the ingredients and schlep them back to Arletty’s flat. We did almost all of our buying at “Place d’Italie” in Paris. “Place d’ Italy” of course is China Town… duh? In the past this area of Paris was populated by Italians, now it is where the majority of Asians live and have their shops. We made two visits to “China/Italy Town” and returned home with full loads each time. I think we ended up buying more than a dozen young Thai coconuts. Once we got the ingredients back to the flat we had the task before us of prepping everything in her tiny tiny kitchen space. When I say tiny, I ain’t kidding; imagine 3 phone booths lined up, narrow and tiny. No worries though, it was proof to me that raw foods can be prepared just about anywhere.