Monday, December 27, 2010

Paris, mid winter

Had a so, so night. The drugs really help so I at least got some sleep unlike Caron who refuses to take them or Kim who took them but had a wriggly worm next to her called Sage which no amount of drugs can compensate for.

Long queues in the airport but it all moved quite quickly, I have to admit that there is something about France which I like. It's a bit like when you meet someone for the first time and you take an instant liking to him or her. There isn't any reason for it, it's just a gut feeling.

Kim and Sage on the Train into the city. The book didn't help, it's even out of focus!

Took the train and then the metro in to Place de Republique and then walked the rest of the way to the flat which we found quite easily. We arrived at about 09:00 but the flat was only available from 14:00 which meant that we had a lot of time to kill and we still had all our luggage with us. We retired to a bar across the street to kill some time and drank lots of coffee and hot chocolate while the resident dog barked furiously at other dogs passing by. Something one has to be subconsciously aware of in paris is dog poop all over the place because dogs here live in apartments and there is a spectacular lack of green grass for their toilette.

Eventually got hold of the keys person who let us dump our bags at 11:00 but then shoed us out again until 14:00. Can't work out why because there wasn't anyone else in the flat and there also wasn't any sign of cleaners. Caron reckons that it is the french love for bureaucracy which, I'm sure they deny.

With the bags gone we went out for lunch which is expensive but not nearly as expensive as it used to be. Kim and I also went food shopping and according to her, if we had bought the same back at home it would have been pretty much the same price, maybe even more expensive at home. My how things change in just few short years.

I left everyone after lunch to go and find some ski boots while everyone else retired to the now, at last, available flat. I had a great time wandering around paris feeling a little lost but found the store I was looking for. In Johannesburg, it is just plain not possible to purchase ski boots. All the ski shops in Johannesburg combined had only one pair of boots for sale and the sales people had not a clue as to how to fit and size them. The one shop here had probably 50 different brands/models and all the sizes one could think of not to mention the expertise to fit them. It's wonderful! So mission accomplished, I now know where Kirsten who arrives tomorrow and myself are going to go shopping!

Made my way back to the flat where Sage was still going. I really thought she would have crashed by now but that was not to be. She has an unusual amount of stamina for a body that small.

The flat is quite something but, I think, quite typical of Parisian apartments. the floor are uneven and the cupboards are skew and while some parts of it have been renovated nicely, other parts are just terrible. Anyway, it's home for the week whether we like it or not although it would be really nice if we could figure out how to turn the heaters on permanently. In case anyone doesn't know, it's freezing in Paris. Caron and I feel right at home in the flat, there are books everywhere but the topics are mostly philosophy, art and music so whoever owns the flat is really pretty widely read. I recognise most of the names of the philosophers but I have read, oh, maybe one ... book!

The pictures below are of the entrance to the apartment building and the flat itself. Can't imagine have the main entrance to an apartment block going past a pile of rubbish bins back home. It is so very different here.

These are the steps up to the apartment and they are uneven in tread not to mention not being level. My father-in-law would have heart palpitations at the workmanship, at least the lack of it.

Having said all that, the flat is dry and warmer than outside as long as one keeps on turning the heaters on. Made some supper which we enjoyed with some wine and some cheese before retiring. Busy reading my first ebook on the galaxy. eBooks are definitely the way to go.

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