as complement to the entry « Shadows », there is another aspect of most restaurants here — that is, good restaurants but not in the sense of Michelin-rated haut cuisine, where the tables are fairly close together in contrast to what is often seen, or considered, comfortable in most cities. Yogi Berra's quip that "it is so crowded, no one goes there anymore" would suit this kind of place, with barely a gap between tables in the entire restuarant. yet, for me, there is great allure to such arrangements, whereby one can sense the enthusiasm of lunch, not to complete a routine of necessity, or seek refuge from work, but to immerse into the life of others. even the body language is quite different as people will comfortably contort their bodies to better engage with their company. the major, subjective, impression is that sitting so close to other parties doing the same, is that there is a bit of acknowledgment that there are others nearby: it is a clan of strangers having lunch, and not about seemingly providing a (false?) sense of privacy by ignoring the other parties.
Christmas Day is rather quiet, everywhere. I noticed that it was actually most quiet on the evening of the 24th, than on the day: the amount of places open is a very good indicator. yet, going to the park for those that are still within city is not unusual: for both, locals and visitors/tourists. in knowing that it was to be quiet, and a nice overcast day, going to Tuileries was a good start. what surprised me was that I ended up at Palais Royal in the drifting about — one thing about city walks is not to follow the dots. on my first visits to Paris many years ago, I sought some quiet and reflecting-on-life moments at this small park, where most people are distracted by the famous columns, and the park can be mostly a transit to walk through. the photo posted is a bit of a full circle, where I soon transitioned to going to the grand Le Jardin du Luxembourg park, and photographically grew enamored with taking photos at the parks, and nothing more focused than the tree "hedges" that are so carefully manicured and maintained. this photo feels as a way to look at the Palais Royal in the same (photographic) way, though much more limited in that sense, and that still has its quiet charm.
in the book In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki principally laments the increased lighting that is brought on by progress in early 20th Century Japan, compounded by the aim by restaurant to please foreigners growing accustomed to brighter restaurants/bars. there is something about the shadows not being revealed, or perhaps just-so revealed, in such a way that makes familiar objects and scenes be appreciated at anew. in many ways, the "city of lights" offers such a view of the street scenes in serendipitous ways by the placement of lamps. still, many locations can offer this counter to even brighter modern, or "hip", restaurants in San Francisco (for instance) where there are no shadows to give an ambiance: everything is to be seen, or at worst, flaunted. photography has followed suit with a bright-no-shadows approach that can be seen in many settings-photography for restaurants and cafes, akin the look promoted by Kinfolk magazine. (a snarky Tumblr shows this take on presentation: The Kinspiracy. )
it may be said that we are unique like snowflakes — which turns out to not be quite unique, and very fractal — and that is sensible to approach other people as unique, in that being much better than an approach based on stereotype. however, the surroundings and situations would say that it is all too familiar, and consequently, the snowflake is going to trigger some memories in my past. that was the experience in visiting this couple from Serbia and Croatia (though 50+ years ago, when they left for France), I was transported in spirit of conversation and atmosphere — its essence, not its particulars — to when I was a kid and visiting relatives in the countryside. and therein lies one of the magics of multiculturalism: triggering a childhood memory from the yet-to-be-known people of other culture that have a big overlap, even with a very insular culture.
one "last" swing through the Salton Sea. it's a magical place, and nothing best than the cathedral of the three trees at the Red Hill Marina. made it before sunset, but once the sun was below the mountains. magical as always.