I took an excellent photos the other morning of the Seine River and an unknown building.
It is on the front of the webpage. I change this almost weekly. But here it is:
MY TYPING AND CORRESPONDENC
If you are writing me and you wonder why the replies are very short and the spelling is even worst. I am in France and the keyboard is locked on the French keyboard. The more modern the country the bigger the internet problems. So I am having a terrible time typing replies to people. I am writing this offline. To copy and paste I must open in WORD. It is the only way to access the A drive. So to publish the photos. I open the A drive in Word and then copy from the dialogue box.
Plans can cause headaches. I am trying very hard to not plan. I know that it is better to let the wind blow me around and not to think. Good things happen when I am not trying to make them happen. So I am going to pack my bag and be at the internet café when it opens at 9:00.
I am not sure what to look at, or a clear sign on why to stay. So I am leaving today for the south of France. My Cameroon friend told me that it was more expensive in the south. I think she does not know. It is probably more expensive in the tourist areas or the metropolitan areas. But in the farm cities. I do no believe she is correct. Plus it would be hard pressed to be more expensive. I will send my newsletter. Hang around the city until late. Catch a night train or bus? I am not sure. Sleep on the bus and save one nights fee for living in France. The Eurolines bus is cheaper between countries, but does not travel inside the country. At least it did not 2 years ago. I ask why? They said it would put the train out of business. It is half price of the train. I am tempted to go to Spain and take a train back across the border. Would save money I think.
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This week is on Babylon, Paris, and Dangerous Clothing.
There is gossip that say the French do not shower very good. Most gossip is very inaccurate. But probably has a little basis in fact. I am in a hotel with about 30 rooms. There is only one shower. It is always empty. There would never be enough hot water in the morning. There is enough hot water. The friend I stayed with did not take a shower in the 3 days I stayed there. I am getting suspect.
2 Coffees 1 Coke - This is in Euros but almost same as dollars.
The name of the Restaruant was Fouquet. Rhymes with something else.
I know you are not doing internet much but we have a
suggestion. we just got home from funeral home in Bronson, Fred K brother in law.
Brad B chased us down and talked for a long time. he brought you up
imediately and asked if you still were in bagdad. We said how did he
know and he said because everyone was talking about it he called Scott
F. He asked if you were going to write a book about it. we said we did not
know. He went on to say that he and Scott and some of you old buddies from
high school think it would be so great if little home town boy put out a
book with all the interesting stuff about Iraq while it is a big thing and
in everyones mind. Your dad and I think it might be good if you found a
place in the south of France and got down to business and wrote a book just
about your trip to iraq and pictures etc. this might be the opportunity of a
lifetime for one little book. Your style of writing is very good in
spite of grammer and spelling. You almost could use blogg as a format or
whatever. we were just very surprised to hear someone say they wished you would do
it besides us and we have not told anyone.just one of our goofy ideas for
you to think about and you know we have ideas for all of youkids all of the
time and they are just suggestions.
love prayers mom dad
Hmm Maybe a ploy to get me to stay in France
I went and got a Baguette. Sat on the steps in the courtyard of my hotel. I spotted and killed a cockroach this morning and do not want to eat food in my room, and feed the little monsters. I keep looking up to the third floor at the location of the suspected shower. I am hoping the water is hot. I ask the owner if they have hot water, but the answer was impossible to understand. I paid a second night so I will have time hopefully to send my newsletter and photos. I am wavering on staying in Paris. I cannot think of anything I wish to see. Maybe the Bastille. I could go to the Normandy Coast. My friend Marvin came in on this coast in WWII and it would be nice to understand the lay of the land. It would really be better to not go. It is possible I go to Germany and this would not help the trip. Who knows. I need to go somewhere… warm and sunny and a good beach. Winter is coming and I can tell that living in France in winter could be miserable. Everyone hiding.
LIVING IN FRANCE
I did not get an invitation to live in France with the Israel girls. But they did give me an invitation to live in Israel with them. If you have been reading my newsletters for a long time then you know I am enamored with a girl name Carmen in Israel. That I met for 10 minutes in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand. I was headed that way when I was getting too tired of the Middle East preoccupation with hate. The two Israel girls said it was Gods will that I meet the only two Israel girls in Paris and it was a sign to go to Israel. If God would put a 200 dollar airplane ticket to Tel Aviv in my hand. I may agree with this will thing.
But for now. How to live in France?
Marry a French girl. That is probably the best way. Or be a “Trust Fund Traveler.” This is a person that has too much money and inherited lots of money. Sits around and drinks themselves into oblivion in the name of reaching a higher intellectual plain. Ok. I will get serious. But remember this is work in process and I really have no idea yet.
It cost a minimum of 25 Euros per night for a room so far. There are probably hostels for the younger people where you can live for 16 Euros and share a room with 5 drunks. I am staying so far in the 25 Euro place in the Montparnesse subway stop area. I am considering giving up eating for a few weeks. Seems like a good time to go on a diet. I am giving up drinking coffee or sodas in sidewalk cafes. I will only do that when I am practicing my “Chatting them up” strategies of life.
But this girl from Cameroon. I should have ask her to stay at her house. She wanted a job. I could have given her the 300 Euros. But I forgot. I may try that method today. Talk to someone and offer them 300 Euros to live at their one room apartment. I have felt the presence of only one room apartment so far and until I see the proof of life. I will assume they are only one room apartments and this is the place for “Mickey Mouse” to live comfortable.
I am trying to avoid the temptation to leave. I really want to. But this is not fair to France and Paris. I am not the type of traveler though that likes to beat myself to death to have a good (bad) time. Most of life that is enjoyable is free and / or cheap. If you have to work too hard the spontaneity is lost, and life loses its fun. I am glad to say though that the cost of food in the grocery store is great. Just about the same price as any other country in the world and really cheap for Europe. There is some chain called MontPrix that seems to be located centrally for my shopping pleasure.
So the food price is OK. The restaurants are ludicrous. I do not drink, so I am safe there. It is the room price that is kicking my butt. The Cameroon girl said to go to the American Church in Paris. I sat and looked this up in the internet while talking with her. The have an address of 65 Quai d’Orsay, 75007.
She said they could help me get a cheap apartment. I said,
“What is your idea of cheap?”
So I was happy. That was my target number to pay. I told her I lived in a dive down the street. This place does have character. There is a character at the reception desk. There is black chic that walks around that has character, but does not speak English. There is a bidet or something in the room. The toilet is across the courtyard, and the shower is upstairs. This would be 1 dollar in South America or Thailand and I would be slumming it. I suppose it is worth 10 dollars a night to have the opportunity to smell France.
An alternative is to live on the bus or train. Do the quick tour of Europe like the rest of the world. 2 days in everywhere and know nothing of everywhere. I am on day 5 of Paris. So this is probably a long time for tourist. I usually do not leave the room for 5 days. Well I have seen the big things. I can say I was here.
Iraq was a lot friendlier though and safer. I could get killed in Iraq. But I would not get robbed. Here I will not get killed, but I have a feeling I could get robbed easily. Safer in Iraq, and more friendly. Now that is a crazy world.
NOTE: I have not seen one squat toilet in France yet. The dive I live in has toilet paper. But no toilet seat. I feel like Mexico with a twist. I think it is against the law to have a toilet seat in Mexico.
ISRAEL GIRLS IN FRANCE
What a breath of French air. I was pragmatic and spontaneous. We walked the city and photographed the place, it was fun. They would sit down and rest anywhere they felt the need. I finally sat down on a sidewalk café on the Champs Elysees. Was able to research my suspicion. It is possible to get a cup of coffee in the world that cost 8 dollars USA. It was 7 Euros. I bought the three of us 2 coffees and a coke. 20 plus Euros. I have never thrown money out the window faster. Plus if I was prone to “Taking the Piss” as the English like to do. I would have been having too much fun with the waiter. He was classic pain in the butt. I am in full backpack. The girls are young girls. Everyone is in suits and made for fashion attire. I make the joke to the two girls. My favorite line in situations like this when they are being too snobby is,
“Better be nice to this American. I may come back and buy them.”
Stop Andy. They are easy targets. 98 percent of the French people I have met are nice and pleasant, and helpful. Some are even gorgeous. But there is the 2 percent that needs hit side the head with a 2 x 4. They do make life difficult. I have found though if I get down below the money radar. It is a lot friendlier. The more I spend the more ugly it gets. So better to stay in low places.
I met a very nice girl from Cameroon. She was giving me hints and talking to me in English in the internet café. She was telling me how to locate an apartment for 300 Euros a month. I think if I hung around with the immigrants I could find the fun, and easy way to do France. I keep thinking about spending a month, so if I decided to complain. I could have a good knowledge of how to, and not just superficial. Plus really I like the French people. Especially the women. The have that belly thing going on and a way of walking that makes a day smile. They do not smile, but I have got a couple to lighten up, and my American charm still works. This is Childs play in reality. It is the cost that is atrocious.
OK - Why I am lucky?
I walked to the Subway. Took it to the Louvre area. Got off and started walking. I was looking for both a place to live and a to see the sights. I had only 4 things on my list. The Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee, the Arc D’triompe and the Louvre.
I stopped and looked up the word. “Louvre” in my French dictionary. No good. I still have no idea what is means. There area appears to be the high rent district for tourist that like to donate money to France. Plus a Palace or something like that. It has a glass pyramid that I consider tacky and in the world of big is better. It is small. My own city has one 5 time larger made of glad that is used as greenhouse tourist attraction. There is word that evades me for this.
But I as I walked down the Seine River at sunrise. Looking at wonderful architecture and knowing now that people do jog in Paris in the morning. A very few that do not smoke. I was able to enjoy the feel of the city before the crash of tourist. I finally eyed the Eiffel Tower and walked that way. It is much better to walk in many ways to see this city. If you did not walk you would miss everything. I was able to visit all 4 of these major tourist attractions in one day with a full load of backpack weighing at least 30 kilos or 60 pounds. So without the backpack you would be ready for a good stroll. But early or late summer is the only time to come. This place is tourist bedlam for sure most of the time. Presently there are almost no rooms.
BELOW THE EIFFEL TOWER
I only know this from the movies and they must have gotten the perfect angles to make a person feel like they was walking down a sidewalk café lined street and under the tower. It is the largest amount of iron I have ever seen in one place. An iron workers job for life. Each leg of the tinker toy has an elevator inside and it cost 10.30 Euros to ride to the top. I found the .30 Euros to be a little stupid. This is a change makers nightmare. But who know how people think.
The luck was that I had arrived. Sitting on a bench below this huge amount of steel tinker toy. The weather is perfect. A little cool, but warm enough that if I walk with 60 pounds on my back I am comfortable. The day was great yesterday. Fall in France. But I am sitting there and losing my hope for Paris. I just left a crazy person that I came to visit. My best hope was to pay 20-40 dollars a night to live in a place for one day and I could live in South America for ½ month on the same amount. Not my idea of fun. In Thailand I could get about 20 days for the amount of one very cheap room in Paris. Not a hoboes dream.
I have just conquered 2 of the tourist attractions and am ready by 8:30 am to hit the other two and skip out of town for open areas of France. Paris is a very very very big city. Probably a friendlier version of New York. But it is just as inherently crazy as any large tourist city.
Sitting on the bench and a girl walk over into my space. I feel that when there is no one around. I own at least 10 feet perimeter around me. She entered. I considered that an invitation to talk. So I said,
“Where are you from?”
I think I guessed.
She and her friend was from Israel. I am in luck. Surrounded by tourist. I locate the only 2 Israel girls in Paris. I lie. But the only ones I saw yesterday. I saw almost no Americans. Mostly Japanese, Spanish, and Italians, and a representation of every country in the world. But mostly camera snapping Japanese. I did see a contingent of Thai people and was happy they let them get a visa to leave the country.
Shelly and Dafna two young and energetic Israel women. Both spoke English and I believe that I had the one characteristic they wanted. I spoke English also and not French. They was focusing a little hard on the stereotype of French people not like to speak English. I have not found this true so much. They are more snobs and money hungry to me. I do not think they are nice to each other either. But like I said. This is probably a lot friendlier than New York city. Plus I have not seen any gang member here. The minorities are all working in McDonalds and selling postcards and small replicas of the Eiffel tower in the street. I would venture that about 20 percent of the people I see that live in Paris are from Northern Africa. I took a photo of a Iranian Airlines office also. So the middle east is represented.
They may think they are being influence by the USA too much. But the real culture change is toward Africa. But my Canadian friend Jack said,
“The French are good at being occupied.”
Oops I am sorry. Trying to keep the joke to a minimum.
A person said that the French study German and not English in School. Maybe they are preparing for the next time.
But the cultural occupation and change is 100 percent for sure going to be from Northern Africa and Middle East. They should welcome the Americans. We come and visit and leave. The others are coming to stay.
I know the European answer to this is to point out how Mexico is taking over the USA. I laugh at both sides. There has never been a culture in the world that has not been invaded by another culture. Except for maybe Switzerland. The have the ultimate superior race methodology. And if their boys do not stop marrying Thai girls they will join the rest of the world.
But change is normal. Assimilation into another culture. Intermarry and adapt. Fight a few wars to clean up the mess. I will risk the essential concept of cultural change and harmony. Two cultures must be willing to intermarry to thrive, this is the true cultural compromise that leads to peace. Cultures that will not intermarry are either doomed to extinction or domination.
I am doing my best to meet a few French girls and Israel girls. Hoping to do my job for culture. Cannot be bothered much with the cultures that will not intermarry. Has the feel too much of racism for me.
I am a lucky person. I left a crazy situation and improved my lot by tenfold. I left at about six in the morning yesterday from an modern efficiency apartment with lots of security and an extreme sterile feel about it after reflection and found a better Paris. The area I was living before was great, and sort of modern. But I had the feeling I was in a mouse cage with a few 100,000 other mice. Every apartment building was almost exactly the same. Plus all being small and 7 stories the people concentration was enormous. There was an “Immoblier” or Real Estate office almost below every building. They did not seem to rent anything, but only sold. I was told the efficiency apartment in which I stayed sold for 100,000 dollars more or less. There was also no air conditioning which for the age of this building seems impossible to consider. The heat got up to 40 degrees Celsius here or about 100 plus Fahrenheit this summer for a few weeks. It must have been miserable. People stacked up 7-6 seven high. Crowded into one room places and no where to hide. They say that 13,000 people died. I get the feeling it is more like 4000. But you know the press the bigger the better.
Hello from the Gare Montparnasse, Metro or Subway stop area. I looked up the word Gare and it meant what I thought. It is a railway station. This is quite lucky for me. In the end travel is about transportation and the closer I am to the sources of transportation the better. Paris is probably one of the easiest places to live for public transportation I have ever encountered. I am not saying that it is simple to understand. I am saying that with the Subway you can travel anywhere in the city. Not extremely quick but you can travel and you are completely mobile. Now that I understand the Subway I can move around the city. It is called the Metro here and I am going to stop calling it that, because you may get confused. Metro means so many things and the word Subway is very specific. So I apologize in advance if you do not like me being clear at the cost of using a incorrectly named entity.
I am having to write all of these blogs offline so the style and form will change a little. Hopefully the spelling will improve. The internet in Paris is hard to find so I must be ready when I locate a café. The one I used yesterday is a little on the too clever side and I am not sure if I can use to publish my pages. I saw another French internet café in San Jose, Costa Rica that was too clever also. When I say too clever they limit you down to not being to do anything but use Hotmail or Yahoo Mail etc. Can put me out of the picture publishing business if I was not extremely clever.
The person I was visiting is crazy. I left this morning. Visted the Louvre. The Eiffel Tower. The Arc De Triompe.
The computer internet cafe is very stupid here so having tons of problems.
Thinking about Spain or Southern France:
I am staying in a room tonight for 25 Euros. It would be better to sleep on bus or train and probably cheaper:
I am not sure. Yesterday I was watching the show from the USA called the "A Team." It is on the rerun circuit now. Mr T and all the gang.
But they also had "Hulk Hogan" on the show. The wrestler.
It would be nice to hear comments from Mr. T and Hulk Hogan on their opinions of the dubbed in voices that they used in French. A Frenchie version of 2 TV tough guys.
I think this means something like point / counter point.
Iraq the Powder Keg.
I am probably wrong, but that is OK also.
There is a television talk show I have been trying to watch for the last half hour. Very interesting and curious.
It is for sure they think a lot about the USA. The word America is used in every other comment. I think this amount of attention is good for ones ego even if they could be complaining. But it does give some reference and explanation to a man from Turkeys comment on the "Blah Blah Blah."
It was my third day in Paris. I decide I needed to get brave and try to use the subway or Metro as they call it here. The Metro is a maze of lines. It appears to be everywhere in this city and should be very easy to travel in Paris. There is also a maze of bus routes. The big problem is that it is all in French. I have found the people very helpful, but they do not speak English. But they will go to great lengths explaining to me in French the hows and whys.
It would be easy to learn French here. Some countries it is impossible to learn their local language because everyone wants to speak English. But this is refreshing and an inspiration to think how easy I could pick up a third language. I studied French for one year in University and speak Spanish which is in many ways very close.
SUBWAY RULES - METRO RULES
1. Go to the metro office and get a map of the routes a day before you want to use the Metro.
2. Start early.
3. Bring a friend. It would be better to be frustrated together.
4. When you have problems. Ask pretty women for directions.
The one today said,
"Come with me."
Unfortunately she ment
She showed me the way.
My grasp of bad English spoils my fun. I can understand their intention and do not understand literally. Rats.
5. Young people will speak more and better English then older.
But the older will be nice.
6. Stand around and look stupid. It attracts people that like to save people.