16.10.2005 - 17.10.2005
Another 2 weeks in Paris. My last 2 weeks of work at my Paris-San Francisco-Montreal client, actually. I'm a little sad that my company sponsored trips to Paris will end, but happy as well because it means that I am that much closer to my next exciting adventure (details coming soon!)
I am staying at the Hotel Bercy Gare De Lyon Pavillon Paris, which is a really long name. It's in the 12th arrondissement, closer to the office and further away from the tourist area. The neighbourhood is newer than the ones I stayed in previously, but also nice because it is more residential and makes me feel a little more like I am "living" in Paris, as opposed to just visiting it.
It's a nice time of year, or at least it would be a nice time of year if it wasn't for the insurgency. The canine population of Paris is waging a war against their human captors, laying small little land mines all over the sidewalks of Paris. They've been doing it for years, actually. In the spring and summer, it wasn't so much a problem because while walking it was easy enough to see a big, steamy pile of dog poop sitting on the sidewalk. However, now that the leaves have started to fall, the dogs are employing deception to hide their surprises for the pedestrians.
I found myself trotting on a pile this weekend that had been hidden well in a small grouping of wet, sticky leaves. It is an incredible problem in Paris. They have signs up that say, basically, "if you love your neighbourhood, you'll pick up your dog shit." But, sadly, no one does. Instead, 650 people each year end up hospitalized due to falls related to doggie doo, and Paris spends 8.4 million dollars a year (U.S. dollar figures) on special machines to go around the suck the stuff off the sidewalks.
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Saturday night, and I was wandering out of a bar close to my hotel. I was a little unsure on my feet after perhaps a pint or two too many. Ahead of me was walking an old lady with a cane. She seemed a nice old lady (at least from the rear), until she suddenly lashed out with her cane at the store front beside her, cursing it under her breath. I walked around her, giving her a wide berth, and continued on my way. A few store fronts later, the old lady lashed out again that the closed store front. Luckily these store owners protect their closed shops with steal roll doors or metal bars. I thought it was because of potential looters, but apparently it's to protect them from grandma.
It got me thinking what kind of old person I am going to be. I'd like to think that I'll be the kind of sharp, witty, kind and generous old person who still is very mobile and does crazy things like going out dancing on his 90th birthday. I suppose we all like to think we'll end like that.
In reality, however, that seems unlikely. There's a lot more old, crabby people than old happy people, it seems. And as I get older I find myself muttering more under my breath at young hooligans and slow people in the supermarket line ahead of me. I assume that kind of crabbiness is only going to get worse as I age. It's only a matter of time, I suppose, before I am wandering down the street, lashing out with my cane at closed store fronts, complaining about how youth today is feckless and how no one respects their elders.
Actually, sounds like it could be fun! Bring on old age!
What's next? How about a train ride from Paris to Hong Kong?