Our second day in Paris started early in the morning. I woke up to the dawn and peered out the window to the city limits. It was the golden hour for which I am seldom awake.
We lingered in bed for longer until a more regular hour approached. It was a Saturday morning out in Paris. So I assume things were a little slower than the usual lundi à vendredi pace.
It must have been around 8am that we started to stir and get ready to go out. The plan that morning was to walk to the nearby Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. Apparently, it’s the world’s largest “flea” market. A quote-unquote flea market because it has very high end antique stores that seem to defy the traditional thinking of a flea market.
I was brushing my teeth when I leaned forward to grab something from the sink’s counter. That’s when I felt a tickle in my nose and let out a big sneeze.
That’s when I let out a big yelp. I hunched over in pain clutching my back. I hadn’t felt this kind of pain in quite a while. I spat whatever toothpaste I had in my mouth. My wife helped me to quickly shuffled to the bed, which was thankfully nearby.
I lay down on the bed looking at the ceiling thinking this could not be happening. Every tiny movement of my muscles sent shots of pain up my back. I couldn’t move for who knows how long. My wife just shook her head and resigned herself to a game of Candy Crush Saga while I tried to rest.
Luckily, I had packed my back brace for our trip. It’s not a usual travel item for me. The only reason I threw it in the luggage was because I felt a twinge in my back on the morning we departed Vancouver. I’ve had back issues in the past. So I’ve had this back brace for quite a while now. I’ve used it probably for two previous stretches of back pain. Third time lucky in Paris, I guess.
I put the back brace on after resting in the bed for a while. On some previous occasions, the back brace would just allow me to move normally without any pain. Unfortunately, there was still a fair amount of pain even with the back brace on. Every time I tilted my head forward to look down, pain would travel up my back. This was not turning out well.
Our visit to the Marché Aux Puces was a total write-off. It wasn’t high on my wife’s plans. I guess if I was going to miss anything on this trip, the Marche would have been it. It’s still a shame that we couldn’t go.
We were going to go out for breakfast and lunch, but that was another write-off. Of all things, we had packed some Shin Ramyun, that devilishly spicy Korean instant noodle. Good thing we did pack some with us. We just had that for lunch instead of me searching for food in the streets of Paris with a painful back.
I was okay to waste one morning in Paris, but I was not about to waste the whole day. I pushed through the pain, for better or worse, and decided to go out in the late afternoon and get something done at least.