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Monday, September 12, 2005

Paris - Day 1

While the Eurostar was effortless, the rest of the journey was not. Ah yes, good old Carriage 7 - another hike along an overheated platform for the length of the train until you reach the station proper.

I had planned to get my transport tickets from the Tourist Information Desk but fighting through the swarms of people coming off and going onto international trains meant an early end to this quest - I decided to head off to the apartment instead.

Following signs I managed to find the taxi rank - unfortunately it seemed that everyone else at the train station also wanted to catch a taxi. What followed was a very slow wait for over an hour until I finally reached the head of the queue.

While in the line I couldn't help but notice that some people would lift their wheeled bags over any streams of water on the footpath - I thought it odd since I couldn't see what the harm was in getting a little bit of water on the wheels.

Alas, the reason for this action became clear as I headed into the taxi - there in full glory, pants down, was a man of dubious lodgings, having a good ole piss against the station wall - ahh yes, and on the footpath a new stream was forming. Lovely. Just lovely.

I filed this new bit of knowledge away - it's not just dog droppings that I'm going to have to be on the lookout for.

The taxi trip was rather uneventful but efficient as I was quickly taken to my destination on Cardinal Lemoine in the 5th arrondsiment.

The exterior looked exactly as its photos - that's always a good sign. The security code worked, another good sign and when I buzzed the apartment, Didier, the owner came quickly downstairs to greet me.

The building was equipped with one of those cupboard sized elevators - just large enough for 2 people and a bag.

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View from the balcony

The apartment I've rented is on the 4th floor - 2 double doors lead out to a small balcony - there's a tiny kitchen but it has everything you could need and a bathroom complete with washing machine (that is going to come in handy). The bedroom is shared with the living area.

Didier fills me in on the neighbourhood, I won't have to go far to find a supermarket it's just in the next street, and the open air markets are on alternative days at either Place Maubert or Place Monge - tomorrow morning it's in Place Maubert (tomorrow morning is now planned!)

After showing me how things work in the apartment, I bid Didier a fond farewell since I will be leaving early on Thursday, I probably won't be seeing him again.

Taking advantage of the rapidly diminishing daylight I made haste to the supermarket where I was astounded by the relative "cheapness" of the products on offer - 1 1/2 litres of mineral water for 40 cents! I am in Paris aren't I?

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View at night from the balcony

My evening was spend hastily making backups of all my photos having had a little scare with the notebook and its unwillingness to shut-down (only solution was removal of the battery - then crossed fingers that it would reboot).

Feeling a bit like Scarlett O'Hara I make this vow "I shall never not backup my files again!"

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