Paris and Back

Trip Start Jan 08, 2006
Trip End Apr 01, 2006

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

I am leaving Paris, sadly. It has been all work here except for last night when I wandered out of the hotel and travelled north along the Rue Gobelins and the Rue Mouffetard to the Pantheon, Luxembourg and the Rue Saint Germain du Pre.
Hugo, you will remember that last street: long, and cold, with shops lining the footpaths, and we went into nearly everyone there on our way from Notre Dame to le Tour Eiffel. It is very different at night, and with everyone out shopping on a Friday night, it was very busy. When I ran out of energy after two hours in the cold, I took the Metro home in moments to my Art Deco home away from home.

The hotel is only minutes from Place d'Italie, and the Place du gobelins, what ever that is. The streets are so very wide, and clean here, and everything is so simple to find. I found a supermarket on my first night, and they looked after my every need for the three days that I was there.

My host at EEC was very warm and welcoming, and spared me plenty of time to show me the experiments they are conducting in Gate to Gate air traffic control. He even found time to take me to a nearby restaurant for lunch each day, where we dined on three course meals for only 12€. I felt like Hindbad, when he met Sindbad the sailer in Baghdad for the two days I was at the EEC. Everyone I met was around my age, but they drove giant 5 series BMW, or convertible Audis. Diarmuid's was an M5 to boot. He told me that they regularly have contractors in for periods exceeding 2 years, who take home 750€ per day!!! Did I mention that they get to retire at 50 too, but have to wait a little longer for a 100% pension! And to think that I once thought that Temporary Duty in Sydney was good!

As I write, I am arriving in Bruxelles, one hour and ten after leaving Paris. Cars doing the speed limit of 130...ha as if, its France after all, have been drifting backwards out of my window for the past hour.

Air France doesn't even fly between Bruxelles and Paris, as the train is so much faster.

I am not too worried about not seeing that much of Paris this time. There is always the next time, and that time, Michelle will be with me. It would not be anything without her.

On the train back from Bretigny, where I went each day, I would look up and see the moon racing along beside the train.
It meant everything to me to realise that it was the same moon that Michelle and Hugo and Declan would be seeing outside their windows, that very same night.
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