‘Allo ‘Allo!

I have a French phone number!

It’s a pre-paid program but it has a French number and 3GB of data per month – which puts my ATT international plan to shame.  That’s 120MB. For those of you who know me well, you know how hard it must be for me to limit my internet use on my phone.  I look up everything.  Wikipedia is my close friend.  And here especially, Google maps is indispensable.

They put in a new SIM card.  It worked.  But then I had to purchase the “recharge” at the Tabac.  Of course, not at the phone store.  Someone I met later told me the Rule of 3.  Whatever can be done in one step in the US takes 3 here.

And then once I had the coupon and the code, I had to call the number and of course I couldn’t understand.  But…

So the morning was taken up with – yup  you guessed it – shopping and getting the phone.  The afternoon was the Meetup for those over 50.  That’s where I found help and a wonderful French woman called and answered the questions correctly and now my phone works fully for the next month.

This is the most interesting Meetup yet.  The people are so varied – a guy whose wife works and he follows along (from Oakland…  near Broadway Terrace!), another guy who was in the Peace Corps and now lives in Paris (and is from San Francisco – wearing a Giants cap), a woman who is here looking for an apartment to buy (from Sausalito and yes, bought her business cards from Ram Print (my niece manages it))…  Then there were others from NY, Chicago, Tokoyo, London, and Paris.  A very multi-cultural group.  Some are bi-lingual but not all.  They do other things for fun – like jazz clubs and walks.  I would have jazzed tonight and tomorrow but I had Frangish and tomorrow I have clients.    But I am definitely going back to the Wednesday group!

Frangish was a one time experiment.  Good concept but I couldn’t hear anyone.  The bar was simply too noisy.  So I apologized and left yearly.  A guy from the Wed group warned me of this but suggested another site – conversation exchange where you can find someone to practice English/French one-on-one in a quieter place and for longer than 15 minutes.  At Frangish you do tend to have the same conversation over and over when you get a new partner.

And I came home to find my first mail addressed to me here in Paris!  Well, Neuilly-sur-Seine.  It was my membership card for the D’Orsay.  Whoopee.  I feel like a resident now.  Wait.  I am a resident!

Following up on comments:

And I tried to answer your questions, Joe – but not sure it took.  Joe asked if I saw more security around Paris these days.  Not really.  I was shocked in 2007 when I saw soldiers with machine guns at Heathrow.  And at the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.  And every year since.  On this trip I haven’t notice more – I have only been at Notre Dame and looked from across the Seine at ET.  But I did see more security on the train at the station at Troyes.  That seemed odd until I recalled that on the train to Milan in 2012 we saw security guards take someone off the train in handcuffs…   The guy from NY who worked for the UN said he does see much more security around Paris.

And Kate – thanks for the fabric softener idea – but I discovered the vinegar and baking soda together were more than a bottle of softener.  Let’s hope it works.

Bon soir

M

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