Une bonne journée

All the pains, hassles, and worries are gone. Disparu comme le singe of Eddie Izzard.

Easy transfer to the hôtel on Sunday. Today was packed. And I walked over 8 miles! I’m woofed.

Bought a box and mailed the last package home. Was worth it because now my suitcase is under 45 pounds. Breathing space. Made room for the chocolates. Miam Miam.

Got to Foire de Paris. The biggest combination home show, garden show, inventor showcase, international bazaar, and everything else including the kitchen sink. (Literally. There’s a separate room for kitchens!)

Time for a late tea at Hotel Crillon, my absolute fav or luxury hotel teas. Then a walk around Notre Dame. They are working hard. And capping the night off with dinner with my dear friend O. He teaches at the Paris University. We were supposed to speak English as he wants more practice. And I found myself falling back into French.

Then home via Uber and now relaxing. All is packed except for the butter. I fetch it from their freezer tomorrow morning.

Yes. I know. I owe you some more blogs. When I get back and rest up. You’re first on the list, dear reader.

What? Again?

I don’t ever recall posting so much about packing in previous years!  I suppose I could go back and research but it’s not important.  My FitBit surprised me today.  Nearly 5 miles. And here I thought I was lazing on the couch or bed most of the day.  I forgot about the walk to donation the bag of stuff.

You might recall I mentioned going out while it was sunny?  Yeah, that didn’t work out too well.  By the time I made it outside, the wind was coming up and trickles of rain were coming down.  And by a block into the journey, it turned into a full downpour and hail storm.

Still.  I am in Paris.  Paris rain and hail is wonderful.

But, of course, I had my tiny little traveling umbrella.  Almost lost it to the wind a couple times but I hung on.

Sitting in my apartment, I looked over at a shelf.  Empty.  It normally held things, important things, that I put there with great regularity so as to not lose them.  The things, whatever they are, are packed.  Somewhere.  I guess I will rediscover them in Sacramento.  It will feel like a party with unexpected presents!

I finished my Magical series.  Now I am searching for things to read on the 12 hour flight to SF, 3 hour layover and 1 hour flight to Sac.  I have the 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared on hold.  It’s by the author of the Girl that saved the king of Sweden.  And in between I am rereading Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore.  I read it years ago.  Heard the author at a Cap Radio event.  Loved it.  Recommended it.  And when I was asked what it was about, I had no clue.  Just knew I loved it.  Figured I should give it a reread.

Yes, I know that it is no longer the style to underline book titles.  I don’t know what is the correct style, so I am just going to be old-fashioned.

Just polished my shoes before packing the shoe polish for the next stay.  I have to avoid Parisian gardens until I leave or my black shoes will turn grey once again.

And now to binge a couple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy with maybe a Breaking Bad to spice things up.  And rest up for tomorrow’s big residence changing event.

Magic

Sitting on the couch reading my novel on Kindle, I paused for a moment and surveyed the living area.  And tried to process the fact that in less than 72 hours (I wished it was 24 as that would be more dramatic! But not true, and I am sworn to the truth, dear reader), I will be in my house, sitting on the blue couch, surveying a room that I haven’t seen for 6 months.  OK… 3.  I did go back in January but for just a few days.

It’s magic.  Magic to get into a long tube in Paris which then defies gravity and 12 hours later exit in San Francisco.   OK.  So it’s really science.  I get it.

Still.  Magic.

I’m fixated on the magic probably because I am reading a sci fi fantasy light weight novel.  Not a bodice ripper, but still, I am happy to read it on my Kindle, so my banal reading tastes are not displayed to the world via a tacky book cover.  I have several “literary” novels and non-fictions that I am reading or are on the list.   But during the horror that is packing, I must have low-brow distractions.

BTW did you know that sales of bodice rippers apparently soared when Kindles first appeared?  No need to be embarrassed while reading on public transport.

I think every return has had this discombobulation.  I anticipate it now.  I understand it more.  When I get back, there will be new buildings, new signs, new things in Sacramento.  It will surprise me.  What?  Life continued here while I was away?  Particularly when I was gone for 9 months.   One year they tore down and rebuilt two fast food restaurants – Taco Bell and a Carl’s Jr.  It was weird because it was the same company, same lot, but different building.  I had to ask because I was thinking my memory must have totally failed.  Nope.  Progress.

The apartment is clean.  The big suitcase is on the living room table.  I think it will all fit.  The duffle is zipped (after being unzipped because I packed a computer cord I needed).  The carry-on sits half full.  And the backpack awaits this laptop and the other electronic gadgets.  I’m going out walking in the sun to find the donation bin for a few clothing items I no longer need.  Maybe read in the sun.  Dinner out tonight at my favorite local Chinese restaurant.   Nothing more to pack or zip until tomorrow.  Then it will be a frenzy of going to the banlieu, coming back, moving to the hotel, and coming back for dinner with my landlord.

Dear reader, thanks for putting up with my endless dissertation on the woes of packing.  Maybe I can sneak in a blog about the chateaus to catch up before I post about the sadness of leaving Paris.

On the downside of the curve. Maybe

I woke up this morning, Saturday.  It’s my last full day in this apartment.  Tomorrow I will wake up and take my two bags on the RER to my friend in the banlieu. Suburbs.  She has a beautiful three story townhouse with a lovely backyard.  With ample room for my two small bags.  And sack.  I am trying not to “grow” the stuff I leave with her.  But sometimes I am simply cheap.  Really?  Toss out arnica?  Or nice foldable boxes that are handy in apartments without much storage?  And just other crap that seems simply stupid to toss out when I would use it again.  I am steeling myself to toss more, keep less.  (Oh that made me think of a Hamilton lyric… sleep less?  Write more?  I dunno.  And I don’t dare listen to the soundtrack because then it will be in my head for a month!  OH.  Google.  Smile more, talk less.  Whew.  And a btw I am going back to see Hamilton in SF in August!  Very excited!)

So back to today.  The cleaning lady that comes with the apartment is here working around me.  I went to the post to mail the last box home.  The nice man helped me.  Nice because he figures it’s about 7 k and doesn’t put it on the scale.  The mean lady always puts it on the scale.  So far, no problem.  But when you are using a luggage scale, who knows how accurate the reading is?  No worries.  Last box gone.  Sending boxes back can be complicated.  You can send $200 worth of stuff to yourself with no duty applied.  And you can send back your returning goods with no issue.  But if you had $200 in one box and then mailed another with $200 and they arrive in US Customs on the same day,  you have exceeded your limit and you will have to pay duty before they will release your box.  So you must stagger your mailings.

Back to today.  Downside of the curve… or should that be hill?  Whatever.  I am feeling optimistic about the packing finally!  Maybe because I have sorted things – I have offered three sacks to the cleaning lade.  What she doesn’t want, I will donate at one of the drop-off donation bins.  Slippers I bought because the floor was cold cold tile at the first apartment.  Other stuff.  I shouldn’t think about it in detail because maybe I will be tempted to keep it!!

Yes.  Feeling positive.  Let’s see how long that lasts?  Right now it is sunny, and crystal clear out.  A day to wander Paris.  But Paris doesn’t want to be wandered.  At least the bus system doesn’t want you to.  With more gilet jaunes and a formula 1E race going on, it took the cleaning lady almost 90 minutes to get here –  normally 30.  Welcome to France.  WTF

Left Outs

Why is packing such hell?  Because I am the kind of person who likes to have things out and in sight.  My desk at work had piles of files on it.  And I could locate the exact one I needed at any time out of 4 stacks that were at least 6 inches high.  When you pack, you are hiding stuff, essentially.  For a normal trip, overnight to 4 weeks, I usually pack the night before.  Maybe throw things that I might take on the spare bed.  But here, I have weight limitation of 50 pounds per pack.  And you can’t figure out the weight until you put the stuff in the bag.

I was so proud of myself for packing and zipping up the duffle bag.  Good to go.  Until I couldn’t locate my saline solution and had to open it up again.  Yup.  There it was.  And it’s not like at home where I pick and choose from my closet for what to wear while throwing the things to take on the spare bed.  Nope.  All the clothes must go back. Normally  I plan my daily wardrobe in the morning on the spur of the moment.  Now I must plan ahead – what gets packed in the checked bags, what stays out to wear here in Paris for the next several days and will end up in the carryon.  I hate this.  Oh.  Repeating myself…

Some bus drivers are nice.  Others not so.  The traffic is so messed up near me.  It took 30 minutes to go 3 blocks this morning.  I should have walked.  But I would have ended up getting on the same bus at the stop across from the traffic jam caused by roadwork. Coming back, the bus is on deviation.  Some drivers make us get off at Bosquet Rapp, three blocks away.  Other nicer drivers will let me off at my street.

More on Tango.  I fluctuate.  Hopeless. Hopeful.  Yesterday I was feeling absolutely hopeless.  Why did I think I could do this?  I clomp, I don’t dance.  Today I could feel and see the difference.  That I had improved.  I think maybe tango is changing the way I walk… certainly my balance is changing – for the better.

I am exhausted this afternoon.  I have plans to meet a friend for a drink and then another friend for a vegetarian dinner.  So I am lounging on the couch or at the laptop this afternoon.  Why so tired?  I have been getting sensible sleep this past week.  It’s the tango.  It’s both a physical and a mental exercise.  The brain is trying to coordinate the body’s movement.  And the body is not so sure that the brain knows what it is doing.  Trying to do.  This is actually a long standing point of discussion/contention with my Sacramento teacher and a tango partner.  They scoff when I ask to understand the movements.  It should all be muscle memory, they declare.  My Russian French Tango teacher is less strict – yeah, let the brain do its analytical thing and then let it sink into the muscles.  I agree with her.  But the hour of concentration wears me out.  Especially today – it was my third tango lesson this week.  And she tried to review everything we covered.  So I actually had to remember things   Yikes.

And I am not getting much napping in.  Although I want to.  Desperately.  I started weekend afternoon naps when I turned 40.  Then at 50, naps just weren’t interesting.  So I stopped.   Now it’s more an in the moment need.   Today, I had the need.  And desire.  I close my eyes, hoping to drift off.  And I think of something else I have left out of the blog…

Did you wonder when I said one fewer day to lose my keys?  That’s because losing the apartment key is a big fear.  If you have been reading since the first stay in 2015, you may recall the horrible episode of the lost key – which I discovered when a routine pocket check while on the RER to the airport to meet a friend confirmed that I did not have the key on me.  Working backwards, I decided I must have dropped it in the trash bin on my way out. Yikes.  The Universe was looking over me.  When I returned to the apartment (I could get into the building with the code) I immediately checked the trash bins.  Yikes.  They had been emptied.  But there, on the bottom in a bit of liquid, sat my keys.   I have no clue but give thanks to this day.

 

Packing is Hell

I am counting down – one less day to lose something.  One less day to get locked out of my apartment.  One less day to trip and fall (Last stays in Paris had many trips and falls.  This time I have stayed upright – until this week.  Carrying a box down the stairs, I stepped out thinking the next step was the floor.  It wasn’t.  I landed on it.  Good thing I have arnica for my knees.)

I still have my mojo.  But packing trumps mojo.  At least, packing to go home after a 6 month stay in Paris and having to account for a two night hotel stay does.  Thank god I decided that I was not going to go to Norway- it would have been this week and I am sure it would have caused a meltdown.  Normally, I am such a capable person.  I’ve moved from LA to Pittsburgh by myself.  And back.  And in Los Angeles, to different apartments.  And from LA to Visalia.  And then to Sacramento.  All organized and coordinated by myself.  Alone.  No problem.

There are two things that overwhelm my mojo.  My mojo sees them coming and goes into hiding.  One – this move.  And it’s just the return.  Packing to come to Paris is no big deal.  So if it doesn’t fit, I just leave it at home.   The other thing is new carpeting.  Oh Lordy, how I hate new carpeting.  When everything has to come out of a room.  Well, as I write this, I wonder why is that daunting to me?  Maybe I am improving.  But hey, no plans for new flooring so no need to test it.

The countdown to moving also includes parsing out my food stuff.  Here, not a big deal in that the landlord will not care about some left things.  When you are in an Air BNB, you are supposed to clean out the fridge.  Still, no need for me to spend money unnecessarily.  So dinner out tonight, tomorrow, well -dinner out every night til I fly back.  So that means a lunch tomorrow and Sunday.  Monday will be on the fly as I am at the hotel.

Thanks to my friends whom I have called or texted for packing pep talks.  Sigh.  Sometimes you just need a pat on the back and being told you can do this.  They laugh at me and perk up my spirits.  And most are used to it.  This is the fourth time for coming back…

And my mojo has conquered my existentialist crisis.  I have some idea of what I will be doing for the next 18 months.  Seeing if a consulting business will work.  And there’s that possible South American Antarctic cruise…  And French continuing at the Alliance Francaise.  And the gym.  I’ve missed the gym.  I certainly am getting the walking miles in, but I like the gym.

I had the Last Tango Lesson in Paris today.  But don’t even go to Bertolucci or Brando please.  She is an excellent teacher.  Excellent.  Eleven lessons in the intensive personalized course she developed for me.  I still am unsure if it would have been better to have started with her or if I needed the first lessons to get me to a spot where what she did made sense.  But.  Shrug.  It doesn’t matter… I have improved.  And there is much more improvement necessary.  Still.  What fun to say I learned tango in Paris.

On the bus today I still had that old I Love Paris feeling.  It was supposed to rain but Paris is giving me her best in my last days here.  The light on the ivory bricks.  I simply love it.  And as we were working our way into a merge to a new street, suddenly it was as if the scooters were swarming around the bus.  Like locusts.

We went by the Montmartre cemetery.  Dalida is buried there.  She was an extremely popular singer in the 60s/70s.  Lots of grief in her personal life.  I was thinking of her as we passed.  What a troubled soul.  And thought happily that my life is not that.  Oh, I’m often a confused soul, but not troubled.

My future is always cloudy.  No need any more to ask a fortune teller – it’s always the same, cloudy.  And I like it this way I suppose.  Take one step to the right and think I know where I will end up and whoosh suddenly, I am somewhere else.  Just allow.  Always allow.  That’s what got me here.

Saturday afternoon for drinking in some sights.  Busy work on Sunday – delivering things that will stay here in Paris (or the banlieu – the burbs) in my absence, final zipping up of the luggage and the cab to the hotel.  Monday will be a morning at Foire de Paris and an afternoon for final goodbyes and good buys of chocolate.  A last dinner with a dear friend and then off to CDG at 6:30 Tuesday.

Don’t be surprised by a few more blogs, in spite of the fact this sounds like a concluding post.   Saturday also has the excitement of another gilet jaune protest and a formula 1E race around the Invalides.  I am sure not one bus will be moving!  And who knows what other surprises will occur that will drive me to my PC for another post?

More Odds to One Ending

In a recent post, I said that I had been snarky.  A lovely Dear Reader wrote this back: Of course snarky is good.  It is a combination of common sense, intellectual reasoning and a healthy dose of humor.  Maybe.  But I do want to manage my snarkiness.

The Tut expo here in Paris…  I went to the traveling Tut in Los Angeles in the 70’s.  A friend said she was in the second grade.  I thought seriously for a moment about unfriending her.  Back to Tut.  I recall seeing the death mask.  The real thing.  Is that my memory playing tricks on me?  Any Dear Readers who recall?  It was not here in Paris so I was disappointed.  In fact, I think it was actually a rather small exp but cleverly mounted.  Very dark.  Snaking back and forth into small rooms with small things but of gold so it almost glowed.  With lots of space around each display.  And some great use of videos – to tell a story, to show the excavation in Ken Burns style. Well done.  But I finished in less than an hour.

I noticed a bus driver giving the hand signal for thank you to a car recently.  And realized I have seen this more frequently.  So.  Either the French are becoming friendlier and politer or I am just noticing it.  I lean to the later.  However, I have read in tourist books that the pedestrian is not supposed to wave or mouth thank you or merci to a car that stops for them – it’s a dead giveaway that you are a tourist.  I don’t care.  Feels like the right thing to do.

If I was going to plan something nefarious in Paris, I’d buy or rent a white van.  They are ubiquitous in Paris.  But I am not going to.  Just an observation.

Yes, perhaps I have been here too long.  I noticed myself reading on my phone on the bus yesterday.  Huh?

And I haven’t had one macaron this trip.  Not one.  And perhaps only three croissants.  I have, however, discovered the Financier Nature.  Miam Miam,

For the first time in 50 some years, there are changes to the bus routes.  RATP, the company that runs the buses and metro did a big questionnaire last year.  Wanted to know how people used the buses.  Lots of publicity about it.  And I still have one friend who was totally surprised when I mentioned the new bus routes to her yesterday.  There’s always one.

They have added a few routes.  Extended many of the bus routes at the beginning or end or both.  And they moved the start of bus 87 from a block from me to half a mile away.  Huh?  Fortunately, I only needed it once before I leave.  Not sure if the new route is what distracted him, but yesterday at a bus stop I waved at the bus as you are supposed to do to get it to stop but I just watched it pass me by.  I shouted!  And waved more.  And he pulled over.  I wonder if he heard me or if the other passengers called out for me?  No matter.  He stopped.  And when I got on, he was so apologetic!  Over and over.  Desole.  Desole.  It was ok.  And when I got off the bus, he had a red light where I had a green crosswalk light.  Our eyes connected and he mimed apologies again and again.  I finally did the Namaste hands together.  He did too.  We smiled and I hope his day was better.

On the metro I guilted a young man to stand and give me his seat.  Well, not so sure I did that much to have him stand.  My white hair does help.  I haven’t had to limp yet.  I will say, on previous stays, it seemed that the person giving me a seat on the bus or metro generally turned out to be an American male.  This year, it’s been young people, mostly men.  I am very appreciative.

Time is Warped.  Or is it me?

So I have 8 wake ups til the taxi cab to Charles de Gaulle airport.  And my calendar appears packed.

Until it doesn’t.

You allow time for packing.  And it takes less time and suddenly there is time to fill – but with what?  There are too many choices.  I heard a story on NPR years ago about the stress of choice.  A GI returning after a long tour abroad was sent to the store by his wife  to pick up some cereal.  Maybe even Cheerios.  And he stood in the cereal aisle for over 30 minutes – trying to pick out the right box.  He was presented with so many choices – just in Cheerios themselves. He couldn’t decide.

So here I am in Paris with so many things to do and, presented with 2 hours to spare, I can’t focus on what to do.  I toss out one idea, replace it with another, toss that one out, go back to the first…  and suddenly, there is no time left.

Or, on the other hand, you allow 30 minutes for packing and at the end of 30 minutes, nothing seems to have moved.  It’s still in a circle on the floor around you.  While you are trying to decide: will you need this before the plane?  At the hotel?  This week?  Can it be shipped home?  What day should I wash it?  Does it even need to be washed?

Arrghhh

Then you look at the calendar and freak because why ever did you purchase tickets for King Tut exhibit with a 9:30 am entrance and it will take almost an hour to get there.  Leave at 8:35?  What fool did this?

Oh. Me

I hate the last week.  It stresses me.  I make stupid decisions.  I irritate friends.  I bother friends – to call and say I am going crazy – like they need that conversation in their lives right now.  Not.

I can’t decide if it would be better or worse to be traveling with someone else.  Would that reassure me or just give me an opportunity to drive them insane?

So instead, I take it out on you, Dear Reader.  You can skim.  Or even skip.  Or laugh at.  And after the quick read, move on to the realities of your life.

I am stuck in Paris, contemplating suicide by suitcase.  NO NO NO.  That was morbid humor.  I’m sure if you have been a long time reader, you have lived through three other packing to go back to the states blogs.

I will say, I bet it’s easier to read them than to live through this.  I will also say, don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff.

And then I’ll add, except packing.

Packing and…

I am now officially 8 wake ups from getting on the plane.

I have the duffel bag packed, weighed, zipped.  The big Eagle Creek bag is half full.  The carry-on has sacks of stuff surrounding it and the backpack is pretty much limited to what I need on the plane  and all the electronic stuff.  Sitting by the door are two boxes ready to mail back.  I can’t mail them the same day.  If they arrive at the same time in Customs in the US, I will exceed my duty free limit.  So one goes tomorrow.  Not today?  Well, of course not.  It is Easter Monday and all the post offices are closed.  So one tomorrow, the other on Thursday.

A third box will go on Saturday.  Yes.  One more.  Full mostly of stuff that is returning to the US.  This frees my suitcase of extra weight.  I am limited to 50 lbs per suit case.  It’s a giant puzzle.  Weight plus value of item that is going back to the States for the first time.  I say that because my suitcases are full of things I bought here but bring back and use.

At this point, I think I will be fine.  And if it doesn’t fit, I guess time to toss things.  Sunday it all must be in the suitcases for the move to a hotel.  Two nights in the hotel and Tuesday off to the airport.  This is not my preferred way of doing things.  I have to live out of a suitcase for two nights.  But I can suck it up and survive.

Is it time to go back?  Yes.  The last weeks here are bittersweet. I do love Paris.  But I also focus on the future and am eager to get back home.  Thoughts appear in my head unbidden.  The dishwasher is better than this one.  More light in my house.  My dryer! OMG Fluffy clothes.  The air in Sacramento is less polluted.  I have air conditioning.  An office in which to work on my computer instead of the dining room table.

And after four years with the majority of my time spent here, I know Paris.  I know French.  And I am not ready to tackle French bureaucracy to move here full time.

And, are you ready for this?  I have a checklist of place to go before I leave.  Some I haven’t been to yet.  Some to go back to in order to say au revoir.  And as opportunities to stop at these places occur…  I am on the bus and see the College des Bernadines right there.  I don’t jump off the bus.  I think, nah, it’s ok.  I don’t need to go.  Same with Sainte Chapelle.  This Medieval scholar (applied loosely) suddenly finds Paris to have a surfeit of medieval sites.

I do want to go see the famous table in the Louvre.  I have lunch planned this week for the d’Orsay.  Notre Dame was on the list – clearly, it’s not now.  I don’t need to go back to the Cluny – I can visualize most of the important objects.

Instead, I am making more time for seeing friends.  Dinners, drinks, lunches.  Kir Royale (cassis with champagne).

I still owe you a blog about the three chateau road trips, how I started on Infinite Paris in the first place.  And, maybe more for me than you, how I have changed since this experience.  In fact, I’d welcome any of your opinions on that, dear readers.  Just leave a comment.  Or email me if you have my email.

Now I must go get ready for the first of three tango lessons this week.

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.