This evening I went out and walked in the night streets of Paris. I was out till about 10:00 PM. I did not feel unsafe at all. Paris does not seem to sleep. At least that was the feeling I was getting. By 8 PM the shops were closing and the bars and clubs were opening. It was like the changing of the guard.
My feet are killing me so I am going to purchase some other shoes. Feet are very important here! While traveling wear the best possible shoes.
Before coming to Paris I was warned that the French are a difficult lot and will not help tourists. I have not found this to be true. Perhaps it is because I am making an attempt to speak French. But the people are more than willing to speak English when need be. You could live here without knowing a word of French.
I found a Starbucks coffee house this evening. It is the only one so far. The good thing about Starbucks is that they provide a wi-fi internet access. I did not see anyone using it, but I did purchase a card that will allow me 30 minutes. They are using some Swiss company to provide the service. I have not even seen any internet cafes yet. The internet is not a popular thing here in Paris yet. At least that is how it appears to me. I have not even seen any computer stores so far.
Paris is always cloudy. Paris is grey. Taking an umbrella was a really good idea.
Sugar is not sweet in France or Itally or, as I recall, is it sweet in India. In America and Canada sugar must be so refined that it is like rock cocaine. I put three times the amount of sugar into my coffee and still I can not get it to taste sweet. And artificial sweeteners are non existence. I have taken to unsweetened coffee.
In Paris I rather like the area of town where I am staying. It is not a tourist area so I get to mix with the Parisians. There are tourists here for sure. It seems the majority are Europeans. I have met lots of Germans, Japanese, Americans and Italians, but no Indians. A few Brits are about. I also suspect there are a lot of French tourists from other parts of the country.
My suede jacket that I bought before the trip was a winner. It looks good, it is warm and it breathes. You need more shirts than pants when you travel. Forget the brush, use a comb. Much smaller. Light is good, heavy is bad. Take less stuff. Good idea to carry a small hand towel. Could have used on the train. The easy wash/quick dry socks and underwear was a really good idea. The woolite was also a good idea. Take one tube per week. All you need is two pairs of each and wash each night. I would also say one pair of pajamas is enough.
Traveling with a big camera is a pain, but I it well worth it in my case. Bringing the computer is also a pain, but well worth it in my case.
Italian ice cream is extremely rich. They pile it on in huge scoops. I could never finish what I bought. Italian coffee is great! Cappuccino in the morning rocks.
Life is a big buzzing messy affair. Different countries try to tame it to greater or lesser extents. Walking in the streets of Rome is just like India, an insane chaos from my perspective. I have to turn my sensitivities way down in order to survive.
Rome has a lot less Japanese than Paris, but still a lot. I hear they paid to have the Sistine Chapel restored and made the restriction on photography. I met Canadians and Australians here as well. Lots of Europeans from just about everywhere. The most by far are West Germans followed by the British. There are a lot of Americans as well.
Gasoline is expensive in Europe. Americans should never complain. I saw average prices around Eros 1.25 per liter. That is close to $6 a gallon. We were paying around $3 a gallon before I left the US.
By LA standards Europe is not that much more expensive especially if you are just traveling.
When visiting Europe take whatever money you want and then add about 4 to 5 Euros per day for water and toilets. In Europe you pay a lot for water. In fact it cost as much as wine!
The electrical system in Europe is no where near as good and the US. It looks like electricity was been added later. There are no GFIs so be careful near water in the bathrooms. Water on marble floors is dangerous!