A failed reunion in lovely Paris...And open your hotel door with your iPhone??
Well, I didn't really try to go HOME again. But kinda.
Way, way back in the mists of time, in 1979 (gulp), I graduated from UCLA and headed to Europe for the de rigeur backpacking trip. England and Scotland were great, but I think Paris was my first-ever sojourn into a country where English wasn't the first language. I ended up with a room at a university residence on the left bank, just off Rue Mouffetard and a bit south of the Pantheon.
I could never, however, recall the name of it. But I remembered the solarium with the piano and
the vaguely Italian-style patterns in the tile floor. And the girls. I definitely remember the girls.For some reason, I was on a floor with an entire cadre of 18-year-old Italian girls. I don’t recall why they were there, but they were all intensely interested in meeting an American (and future Canadian) and kept asking me all sorts of questions. One session took place late at night in the stairwell, with me being surrounded by a dozen younger girls in long, white, cotton nightgowns.
They were very sweet, to be truthful, and far too young for me. But they were fun to chat with.
I saw the same place a few years later with my wife, who I met later on that same trip when I was in
Until this weekend. I got off the Metro at the Cardinal Lemoine station and wandered down Rue Monge and Rue Mouffetard, past the same gyro and pizza shops I remembered from 31 years ago, and past the sidewalk masseuses (I don’t recall those) and finally found it. I’d kept thinking the residence was on Rue Lhomond, but actually was Rue Tournefourt; right next door.
I was smiling when I saw it was called Concordia, part of the
I was a touch bummed out but quickly got over it and wandered up Rue Lhomond to the Pantheon, albeit not before seeing the Waikiki Café Brasserie. I remember taking photos of the Pantheon from the outside in 1979, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t go in. I have no idea why, because it’s glorious. It’s the burial place for everyone from Victor Hugo to Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rosseau. Impressive as hell.
Almost as much fun was sitting outside on a perfect May day and sipping a Kronenbourg in the sun, the Pantheon in all its glory on my right and the
I took the Metro back to my hotel, the wonderful Secret de Paris up near Place de Clichy, and noticed there are…wait for it…283 Metro stations in the Paris subway system. 283! The TTC doesn’t have that many garbage cans, for god sakes.
I ended up walking up towards Montmartre for a minute, then going back “downtown” later to see the crowds at Notre Dame, as you can’t really go to
"I passed out last night and forgot to brush my teeth," one girl said.
As I walked back to the Cite metro station I spotted a woman reading a book quietly on the banks of the
I have no idea what any of this means, and you probably don’t either. But it illustrates the tremendous diversity of
NO HOTEL KEY? JUST USE YOUR iPhone
Here's a bizarre thought, at least for a techno-challenged guy: the Daily Telegraph reports that a hotel in Chicago (the O'Hare airport Rosemont) and another in Houston (the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Centre) will soon test a program where folks can use their blackberries or iPhones or other PDA to open the door of their hotel room.
Guests would be able to avoid the check-in hassle at the front desk, much like, I supposed, they can now use their PDA to check in at the airport. The way the hotel thing would work is people would download an application to their mobile device and that would allow them to wave it in front of the hotel room door and, voila!
Bryson Koehler, an executive at InterContinental Hotels group, told USA
Today: "The holy grail item for us is to simplify the room-key
hand-off moment at the hotel.
"We don't need to burden people with additional items; it just clutters up their lives. The beauty of the smart phone is that they've already got it."
I'm not sure about the security, to be honest, but maybe I'm just a Luddite.
BRITISH AIRWAYS STRIKE ISSUES
A report today at www.travelmole.com says British Airways claims to have flown to all its short haul destinations and 85 per cent of its long-haul points in the first of five days of strike action by cabin crew. They said Gatwick and London City Airport Services were unaffected Monday, the first day of walkouts.
The airiline is engaging in a bit of a p.r. war, as well, by painting the slogan "Keep the flag flying: on some of its airplanes.