Here we are in Paris! I bet you’ve been wondering why I haven’t written until now? We left Portland, OR at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday (1/8) and arrived in Paris on Wednesday (1/9) at 10:00 a.m. having had just a couple of short naps, but no real sleep in the 12 hours of flying time. We opted to take a taxi from the airport to the apartment and I’m so thankful we did.
Neither one of us had the energy to even think about negotiating public transit and finding our way to the apartment walking with luggage. We managed to stay awake until Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and then we crashed. I don’t even remember lying down and that was a big problem for me because I fell asleep on a goose down pillow, which is bad as I am allergic. Not only did we sleep all night, but we slept pretty much all of Thursday as well. It is a mystery to me how badly jet lag messes with your body. By the time I realized I was sleeping on a down pillow, it was too late and I came down with a sinus infection, which wiped me out for a couple of days.
After 3 nights in the apartment we realized there was no way we could stay. Maybe another night or two, but not for 18 more nights! Suffice it to say the walls were a bit thin and there was an elderly gentleman (with many health problems) next door. We contacted the company we rented with and long story short we moved to another apartment. The first apartment was in the 14th arrondissement and we are now in the 5th, so a great new location and just a short walk to the river Seine and Notre Dame.
So, because of the apartment move and that stupid down pillow, the fun portion of the program was a bit delayed in starting. But, today, the 5th morning of our trip, we ventured out and look what we found!
Here are a few first impressions:
- Because it is January, the city, the buildings, the sky, the river, etc., are gray but I can imagine how pretty the city is when all of the trees are in bloom.
- The way people park is hilarious. Now I understand what bumpers are really for. They bump the car in front and in back to get in/out of parking spaces. There are no painted parking space lines, only sectioned areas. Everyone drives little cars, you don’t see any big luxury cars. I will never drive a car in this city.
- Americans are super spoiled when it comes to home bathrooms, especially those of us who live on the west coast. Today, I stood in the bathroom of our apartment and I could touch both walls in one direction and in the other direction I could not fully extend my arms. I think the same logic could be applied to the kitchens. Oh, and the size of refrigerators.
- I could eat my way through pastries while in Paris. I’m off to a good start. I’m wondering why everyone in Paris is not obese?
- The city is a labyrinth of streets that branch out from a focal point. Viewing the area on both sides of the Eiffel Tower, it’s easy to see how the National Mall in Washington, D.C. came to be. After all, it was designed by a French man, Charles L’Enfant.
- Every other person smokes. Old, young, mothers with their children, they all smoke. I think it must be the national pastime. I am curious as to what the lung cancer rate in Paris is. The best example I saw was a homeless man in the street was holding a sign, I can only assume he was asking for food or help, and a man in a car handed him a cigarette. I saw the man going for his pocket and I thought, oh surely he’s giving him some money, nope, a cigarette. Restaurants are smoke-free, in theory. All of the outside patio seating is still smoke-able, and depending on the restaurant, the smoke infiltrates the restaurant. Along with goose down pillows, cigarette smoke wreaks havoc on my lungs.
- Thus far, we have had zero problems with language differences. A smile and a “s’il vous plait” go a long way.
So stay with us, s’il vous plait” as we explore and discover what’s around the next corner!