Friday 9th July - Paris
Back to Paris for three more days before the long haul trip to winter.
We booked into the Youth Hostel Leo Lagrange in Clichy for the remainder of our time in France so trained from Rouen to Paris in the morning and arrived to a 32c Paris afternoon and a two hour wait till we could dump our bags in our room, shower and prepare ourselves to spend the evening wandering the streets of the city.
In our travels we’ve used Youth Hostels in many parts of the world, usually with a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure. Our worst experience being Brisbane which had the feeling of being run down even while it was being renovated while our most pleasant have been in England and Austria. The French hostels we’ve used this time around have been variable. From the well run, well maintained and managed Rouen F.U.A.J.I. to the well worn, rough around the edges but well managed d’Artagnan FUAJI to the Brisbane equivalent in the Leo Lagrange FUAJI. Here the lift wasn’t working which meant hauling our bags up seven flights of stairs, the showers offered luke-warm water and the rooms had a distinct institutional air about them. (perhaps the Brisbane management had swapped hostels?). Anyway it is only for three nights.
There are lots of possibilities for us to contemplate doing this evening - sit and sip wine in a sidewalk cafe, walk through the neon lit streets of Mont Matre, amble down the Champs Elysees, wander through the Tuileries or do we take in a cemetery to gaze at famous dead people? Ah.. such are the choices we have as tourists.
Joy has decided that we discover a flea-market in de Clignancourt on Saturday morning which will probably bring us back via Mont Matre depending on the state of the feet and the heat of the day. As Paris doesn’t do air conditioning to the degree that Doha does this means that rooms are only as cool as the breeze may dictate. The hostel lounge area is probably a mild 28c compared to the outside temperature of 32c. Back in Doha the air con would have been set at 19c or, as one of the staff at ABHSS favoured - 16c! I can only conclude we’ve been spoilt and are now suffering for that.
One of our colleagues asked what the reaction was in France when their team got knocked out of the FIFAWC and the reaction to the final between Spain and Holland. As far as I can tell from the papers and TV is that on the news front it appeared that an octopus was more intelligent than the sports pundits, the money speculators and other gamblers when it came to picking the outcome of the soccer world cup. The humour of this has had some mention of French TV before the cameras switch to the more important sports news - the Tour d’France and then to the usual list of bombings and tensions in Pakistan and Afghanistan before switching to domestic politics and issues.
There seems to be a more balanced perspective between issues and sport compared to the hysteria generated by the media in the UK and, from my reading of the online N.Z. Herald where sport appears to have taken precedence over substance... all I can see consuming NZ news appears to be “where will the P.M. and the Minister for Rugby hold a massive “piss up” while the RWC is on in Auckland.” Hardly the sort of news coverage one wants to return home to.