I hadn’t realized how excited Mark was to see the Eiffel Tower until a few days before the trip to Paris. It’s rare to see him show enthusiasm about something that doesn’t belong to “his world,” i.e. Fortnite, new movies, toys, going to the beach or the swimming pool, etc.
“Look, I promise you’ll see it. I don’t think we will go up, though.”
“I know that. It’s only in the movies.”
“No, you can actually take the stairs up to the second level but I don’t have the patience to wait in line for hours.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of what I meant.”
I picked up the guys at the hotel—Feng took a nap, Mark probably did not—I suggested to start our stay in Paris with one of the world’s most famous landmark. We were rue de Vaugirard, close to Montparnasse, a twenty-minute walk from the Champ de Mars. Hell, even I was excited—the Eiffel Tower is impressive and unique when you see it up close.
We finally got to the Champ de Mars around 7 p.m., sweaty and tired—it wasn’t that long of a walk but we hadn’t slept in way too many hours by then.
“Can you see it?”
“Ah, sorry, it’s too late, then. It must have been taken down and put away for the night already.”
“Well, yeah, it’s kind of in the way. So, much like you clean up your toys before going to bed, the Eiffel Tower is taken apart every day.”
“No way! You’re joking, right?”
Mark turned around.
“OMG IT’S HERE!”
Paris did change a bit, after all. It was a day after Bastille Day, so the area was a bit of a mess with bleachers being dismantled, but I also discovered the bottom of the tower was now surrounded with bulletproof glass walls. You used to be able to wander around—you still can and it’s free but you have to go through security and there’s a long lineup.
The following day, we came back to the Eiffel Tower around 11 p.m. to see it lit up.
This time, we arrived from the Trocadéro side and it was very crowded. “Warm Tuesday evening in July,” I shrugged. “Obviously, everybody had the same idea!”
Suddenly, Feng pointed to the moon glowing on the right side of the Eiffel Tower.
“Wait a minute… wasn’t it full moon yesterday? Or close to?”
“Eh, you’re right! I remember we joked about it, I said something about French people not knowing when it’s full moon because we don’t have a lunar calendar…”
“Maybe we dreamed it, we were exhausted. Because look—definitely not full now.”
“I’m pretty sure I didn’t dream it! We clearly saw it! And… eh you’re right, it’s a half moon now!”
We were completely puzzled and forgot about it until the following day.
“What the hell? It’s almost full moon again!”
This time, we Googled it—turned out there was a partial lunar eclipse on Tuesday, July 16, which is also probably why so many people showed up to see the Eiffel Tower that night!