Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Moving Day

I’ve been dreading this day for months. I knew the move from London to Paris would be traumatic and I was right. One word describes what we just went through: nightmare.

The morning started out with the fire alarm going off, for the second time during our visit. Fortunately I was dressed so I grabbed my laptop and my camera and made my way downstairs. It was several minutes before it was determined which flat was the culprit (none of us) so I snapped some pictures of our last morning at Manson Place.



First Row: Una, Marty, Deann, Tim, Susan
Back Row: Kelly, Audrey, Megan R., Darrin

Knowing that I would have to haul everything I own to Paris has given me the incentive to be careful with my purchases. I haven’t spent much money because every time I look at something I think, “Is this worth carrying?” The answer is usually no. Getting through the Tube isn’t bad if you only have one suitcase so I limited myself to that. Every stop has escalators and a durable suitcase with wheels can take it. The only difficulty I had at this stage of the move was my 17 inch laptop. It’s large, heavy, and very awkward to carry long distances. Getting on to EuroStar to make the trip through the Chunnel wasn’t too bad either and security is surprisingly light. I wasn’t asked a single question when my passport was stamped.

I’ve heard so much about the amazing engineering feat that it took to create the Chunnel, but it’s anticlimactic to actually ride through. It wasn’t much different than any other train ride and we weren’t under the channel for very long. You never see the ocean either. The countrysides of both England and France are beautiful, however. It’s amazing that you can be in two of the largest cities in the world and an hour later be in farm land.

We arrived in Paris and things went down hill fast. The station was filled with guards armed with machine guns. Not very welcoming, but a bit reasuring.



Our hotel was on the opposite side of the city and would take some time to get there even without luggage. It took awhile to get our Metro tickets and when we finally started our trip I realized very quickly that the Paris Metro is not the London Underground. The Metro has adopted the easy to understand graphics the Tube is known for, but the lines are laid out awkwardly and require more transfers than was usually necessary in London. We faced two transfers and three trains to make it to our destination. The Tube has so many dramatic escalators that it never occurred to us the Metro would have almost none. The trip required us to lift our luggage up and down hundreds of steps through the course of the next hour and a half. Oh, and did I mention it was rush hour? The cars were packed even before we jumped on. It was miserable, and I was better off with my one suitcase than most. Stress like this brings out the best or worse in people, and I have to thank everyone for pulling together. It was a group effort and a special thanks goes to Adam and Gabe for carrying many bags up many steps for almost everyone. I don’t know how you guys did it. It was not worth the trouble to do this and I don’t recommend it to anyone. Take a taxi, it’s worth the money. I would have gladly paid not to have had such a miserable first day in Paris.

I don’t think any of us thought it would ever end, but at last we reached Dupliex and the Hotel Arley Tour Eiffel. I am in room 115 with Kelly. It’s a small hotel on a side street, but it is much nicer than the accommodations in London. If you lean out of the far window of our room you can see this.



After a rest we broke into groups for dinner. I went with Deann, Una, Kelly, Tim, Susan, Marty, Darrin, Kelsea and Corrine and we found a nice restaurant around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. I decided to be adventurous and tried frog legs for the first time. I was surprised but they really do taste like chicken, with a slightly tougher texture. And yes, it did look like Kermit. I also had grilled salmon. When we went to NeoCon West in March I ate at The Paris in Las Vegas and had the salmon there too. I decided then to have salmon in the real Paris to compare. The two dishes are both very good, but the best salmon I’ve ever had it still the grilled salmon caesar salad at Le Nonne in Logan.

We walked over to the Eiffel Tower after dinner. I’ve never been that impressed by the tower, but it is much more delicate than I expected it to be. The open steel framework is almost lacey and it is lit beautifully at night. It almost made the rest of the day worth the trouble to get here.

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