Monday, March 28, 2011

Life in Paris

I sincerely apologize for letting this blog fall to pieces, as it were. I've been trying to post short notes to Facebook frequently, and those of you who have Facebook may have seen them. But for you loyal followers who aren't on Facebook have been left out in the cold.

I won't be able to pull it all together immediately, and I hope you'll bear with these little bits and pieces. Anyway, here's a partial blog I wrote on our first full day in Paris.

Thanks for your patience.

Writing at the end of our first full day here, and it looks like things are beginning to go much more as I'd hoped they would. I woke up at 7 and of course came on the computer immediately. Gary woke up long enough to announce that he felt terrible and needed more sleep. I battled the hotel's sporadic internet service for another hour and thenwent out for coffee and a pastry, and by the time I got back, around 9:15, he was just getting up. We decided to walk to Les Invalide, the tomb of Napoleon, and the Eiffel tower...a distance considerably further for someone no longer 22. Spent an hour or so there (pictures posted on Facebook and, eventually on a special Trip Photos page somewhere) and finally emerged from the back of the sprawling complex which includes not only the church of Les Invalides, but a very large and very old hospital and a Military Museum. We wondered what a building in the distance might be (it looked like a very large conservatory), and decided to take a detour to see it. It turned out to be the Grand Palais on the banks of the Seine and, as we crossed the Seine (we never did make it to the Grand Palais, though it was just on the other side of the river) we noticed a number of tour boats and decided to check them out.

Subsequently took a 1 hr 10 min ride on the Seine past Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and seemingly miles of classic French architecture. The open top deck, where we went, was loaded with Japanese tourists and French school children. When they first boarded and were sitting down, many of the women carried open umbrellas (not a cloud in the sky) and we moved for fear of not being able to see anything. The school children took great delight in screaming at the tops of their surprisingly powerful little lungs every time we passed under a bridge...apparently because they enjoyed the echo. There are a LOT of bridges on the Seine.

By the time the boat landed, I'd about had it with walking for the day, so we opted just to head back to the hotel...still a long walk away. Made it to find that the box of liquid nutritional supplement I'd mailed 3 weeks earlier had arrived. That will take a great load off my concerns of losing too much weight while on the trip.

This evening, after discovering that restaurants here don't open until 7 p.m., we went to a small Italian restaurant and had a marvelous 4-cheese pizza (Gary is a vegetarian and I knew I could never eat a whole pizza myself). I know...why come to Paris and then have a pizza in an Italian restaurant? But it turned out to be a delightful choice. There were only two other customers in the place, a husband and wife from Puerto Rico, and we got to talking. Fascinating people; she as bubbly as an uncorked bottle of champagne, he a 6'5" government employee ready to retire at the end of this year. They have a 22 year old daughter studying in Genva and have themselves lived in six or seven countries. Charming, interesting people and one of the true side benefits of travel.

And here I am, having just opened a (warm) bottle of sterilized milk--I've still not adjusted to the fact of milk being kept out on a regular grocery store as though it were a can of creamed corn. I note the expiration date on the bottle is 07-07-11! For milk! The taste is, if one can get over the idea of drinking room-temperature milk, just slightly "off," if that means anything, which it probably doesn't

Also just noticed that the French don't worry that much about calories (whereas I do, excessively)are apparently not that much into calories and unless the French word for "calories" is totally unrecognizable, they apparently don't bother to list them on products.

More later....I won't try to keep to the Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule for the moment, but hope you'll check back from time to time to see when something new shows up.

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