Odds and Ends

The return trip is looming.  I have found a stack of blog notes on my dining room table.  Let’s just get through them.

Spotted around Paris over the last weekend.

Tuktuks (small carts for tourists – not a bike cab.) I usually see these in other Tourist towns.  One ran between the train station and center of St Emilion.  tuktuk image

And a horse and carriage.  Those are all over NY, but I don’t recall seeing one in Paris before.

And the six person pedal powered contraption that allows the sitter to pedal and drink beer.  Each time it came around the block, the occupants were a great deal noisier.

Embassies.  Ambassades.  They are located all over Paris.  Makes sense.  Like in DC in the States.  But here, they are all, it seems, housed in these grand hotel particulars.   Not real hotels.  No.  Grand mansions.  I wonder how some of these small countries can afford such fabulous digs.  Denmark and Saudi Arabia are located on the Champs Elysees.  Maybe regretting that these Saturdays of the Gilet Jaune.  Anyway – do the countries purchase them?  Or rent them?  From a private owner or the city of Paris or country of France?  Inquiring minds want to know.  At least, mine does.

Easter was yesterday.  And I had this bizarre craving for white shoes.  Or sandals.  White because Easter was the demarcation for wearing white shoes when living in the Midwest as a child.  And then on the other end, Labor Day was when the white shoes were packed away for the winter.  I say sandals because it has suddenly turned hot.  Not unbearable hot, as it can in the summer.  But near 80s for the past four day and through tomorrow.  Then it goes back to the 60s and rain.  Huh?  Weather gods and goddesses, what did you do with the 70s of spring?

I know I have complained about the road work.  Did I tell you the story about the bus?  So we are driving down a narrow street, as usual.  On the right is a delivery truck, pulled over but still sticking into the lane.  Usually, not a problem.  But on the left was roadwork.  And the green roadwork barriers.  It was such a tight squeeze that the bus driver stopped the bus.  Opened his window and pushed and shoved the barrier away from the bus.  It was a rough go.  Then the guys working in the hair salon opposite dropped their shears and came to the rescue.  Together they heaved and hoisted the barrier back about 2 inches.  Lots of Merci Merci, the driver closed his window and we drove on.

There was a Marche de Pacques near St Germaine des Pres.  I stayed on the bus.  I actually decided to not even stroll by.  I guess my marche days are over.

When I ranted about scooters, did I include their noise?  Sure, they zip by you relatively quietly but when people are trying to order their scooter and discover it, the dang things emit this beeping noise.  So strange to be walking down the street with no one near and suddenly these scooters lying on their sides start beeping and chirping.  Saw people zipping down the street – so they are legal – at maybe  15 mph or more – without helmets.  Crazy insane.

When the bus drivers announce sudden changes in their routes – deviations for manifestations or roadwork – I amazingly understand more times than not.  Makes me think back to 2007 when I was on the metro and it sat in a station.  An announcement finally came on.  I had no clue.  But as I watched all the French people get up and leave the train, I figured it was going to be there a while and so departed myself.

Three recent road trips.  To Chambord, Clermont-Ferrand, and Normandy.  On two of them I saw the iconic double towers for nuclear plants.  I am always shocked even though I know most of the power here is generated by nuclear.  Germany is getting rid of theirs.  Not France.

I made a snarky comment on FB with a photo of Chinese bride and groom riding the bus to get to a photo shoot for their wedding.  I was castigated for being mean. Why did I assume a Paris wedding would be expensive?  And another said most of those “shoots” are for magazine layouts.  I deleted it.  Yes, it was snarky.  I am apparently not enlightened enough to not let snark out from time to time.  Sigh.  Then I posted a meme that said something about not doing revenge, just letting karma do its thing.  People liked that one.  In fact, I was hesitant because even though it sounds noble, it has an underlying message that ha, those bad people will get theirs!  If you are a really good person, I think you just bless them and go on your way, not worrying if karma or anything else happens to them.  Life can be complicated, but we are only human.

I crossed a bridge today.  The old iron railings are slowly disappearing.  I always found them full of charm.  Now there are plexiglass panels.  In a way, nicer because you have a full view of the river.  But charming, no.  And why the change?  Because of the “romantic” idiots who have to put locks on the bridges to lock their love for posterity.  And eventually, enough locks and the railing falls over into the Seine.  Idiots.

Did I warn you about the clip boards?  If you are approached by a nice young girl with a clipboard, don’t bother being polite.  Just say a firm NO and keep walking.  It’s a scam.  Not sure how they do the pickpocketing thing, but I am sure it’s there.  They get you reading the papers and then their friends come around.  One time about 6 years ago, I was literally surrounded.  I was yelling at them.  A nice French woman came to my defense and yelled also.  They dispersed.

I walk down the street and see so many people looking down at their smart phones.  Yes.  I am guilty too.  But usually I am looking at maps.  I was just bopping around the city this weekend and realizing that I don’t use the maps anymore.  They look down for their map or to text or whatever, and I saunter with my head up, drinking in all that is Paris.

If you are walking across a bridge in the crosswalk and you hear a siren, I’d suggest you stop in place.  I saw a couple with their two kids in front, totally ignoring the sound.  The kids turned their heads and saw the car and then did that rock step, do we run do we stay?  They ran.  Then the parents did the same thing.  The car swerved to the right around them and almost hit a cyclist who had appropriately stopped on the side of the road, expecting the car to go down the center lane.  Where did these people come from and leave all their common sense at home?  I would think fast cop cars and sirens are a global experience?    Oh dear.  Snarky again.


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