Day 18. Paris

margot

Saturday the 18th started calmly, with no worries or big events in sight. I knew I was only going to meet Margot in the afternoon and shoot some pictures, so I took my time waking up and then chilled with Romain at home for a few hours. I tried fixing the Windows on my laptop once again, but with no success. We needed a PC to build a bootable USB drive and Romain only has Macs. Like the one I’m typing from and that he lent me.

I asked Margot if we could meet at 6 instead of 5 and then at 6:30, as I knew I was late. Organizing my next days always takes a lot of time. I left in a hurry towards the park Saint Cloud outside of Paris. I had to take a train to Gare Saint-Lazare and then another one until the park. Before getting to the first train, I got stuck in an elevator. None of the buttons was working, not even the alarm. To get out I had to force the doors open. And run, of course, as I was already late. Choosing the right train from a panel with 20 trains towards various destinations turned out to be a 5 minute nightmare. But I found it at last and embarked on it, happy that I didn’t have any more obstacles to pass. But, like Murphy says that if something can go wrong then it will go wrong, my ticket was not appropriate for that train. Telling the controllers it was the only ticket I had, that it was given to me by a friend and that I don’t carry any money on me didn’t help at all. The great French Republic was built on strict and exigent people like these 35-40 year old controllers, not on the foolish generosity and understanding of the old lady who offered me a ticket, so that they wouldn’t kick me off the train in God knows what station.

Margot was placidly waiting for me and welcomed me with a smile, even though I was half an hour late. The park was less than 10 minutes away by foot, but with 2 phones with GPS, more than 5 people giving us directions, a long walk and a tram ride, we only managed to get there in TWO hours. It was late, the light was fading, but those two hours took me through the Alpes where Margot lived until 14, then through Spain and Argentina, then Chile, France and Germany. And in all these places Margot has acted, mainly on stage. She is only 22, but has been an actress for 17 years and studied acting in different schools around the world for almost 14 years. Acting since she was 5, she comes from a really known family of actors in Argentina, but with which she has never really been in contact. Her life story amazed me and her passion for theatre can be seen in every look, every gesture and every word that she uses.

Our plan was to take some natural, classy portraits but when we saw the park of Saint Cloud we immediately changed our mind. The pond, the big stairs, the sculptures, the fountain that looked like an Inca temple made us think of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. And that quickly became the concept of our shoot. As Margot let her imagination lead her emotions and gestures, I was shocked to see how chameleonic she can be. Her face could actually change with the changing of her moods. Even when she was just switching from English to French or from French to Spanish, her features would change and different women were being exhibited in front of me.

Taking the photos was more like a pretext for a great adventure. We climbed a huge and very tall construction of fountains while playing a word game, forcing our dialogues to only contain movie titles; we ran into a little forest as the rain caught us having a beer 20 meters above the domain, admiring how the lights of Paris were burning in the distance; we got stuck into the park as we stayed way more than the closing hour and had to call some guards to come with a car and open the gates; and finally we ran through the rain to the nearest tram station and headed back to Paris.

Wet and happy like two kids after a day at the amusement park, we had two kebabs that Margot took somewhere near Saint Martin. She wanted to invite me to one of her favorite spots, where they have “the best hot dogs”, but it was closed at almost 1 AM when we got there. It was hard to say goodbye to the good vibes that Margot was spreading all around, but we were losing our last trains. She offered me a ticket as a gift, but I said no. Today was already a gift, I thought. So I turned away, I jumped over the checkpoint and went back home.

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