It's time to reassure you. No I do not spend hours and hours typing in this blog, just use voice dictation software. I like my technology, but most of all I enjoy the least possible effort.
Les found the travel from Hong Kong, a 12 hour flight, distressingly difficult. It was darn near impossible to sleep. The food was not food. It was poorly flavoured and distended Play-Doh. The steak was reminiscent of the 60s. But you don't need to hear this.
He is also thinking of starting a new blog called Les: lamentations and laudations. Did you know that when you leave the Charles de Gaulle airport what you see is very similar to what you would see from any Western airport. Why is it that our culture is becoming increasingly homogenised, that is, it is all the same; and why is it also so second rate this homogenisation. I am sorry, I got it wrong again, why is it all so 27th rate.
We were the first to get off the shuttle van from the airport, arriving at our destination around 8 AM. To get here we went through the old Paris, the unhomogenised Paris, the Paris with flair. We think we like this place.
To our delight the instructions Lucas left were correct except the letterbox, in which lay the keys to our apartment, could not be opened. Containing annoyance, Karen deftly rang Lucas and to our delight he responded to the voice message within 10 minutes saying he was on his bike and was a an hour away.
So to the cafe at the end of the street some 20 m away. Here, trembling, Les tries his first pretend French. Making eye contact with the owner he said "vous parlez francais?" to which the owner said "no". Les was quietly crushed, but as Karen had asked for a noisette, and knew what she was talking about, he ordered "deux café noissettes" and muttered something about "manger". We then sat on the corner outside table, our jackets zippered up it being some 17° cooler than Hong Kong, and enjoyed coffee and croissant. Fortunately both lived up to our hopes, croissant a little more.
Lucas arrived on his motorbike was his helmet engorged with Bluetooth technology. He was young, cool, friendly and chatty and set about completing the preparation of the unit and telling us about how it all worked.
The shower we had was probably the best ever. The water pressure was great, temperature warm and we scrubbed off the drudge of the flight.
Then it was time to go to the local Bastille market. This was a small art and craft market with a couple of food stalls. Les's eyes burst out of his head as he saw the multicoloured sweet pastries at the Moroccan stall and tasted the mint tea. A little later Karen finally received a Mother's Day present from a jeweller she had seen from her research on the web. I'm sure she will show you the present.
About now the lack of sleep was catching up with both of us. Walking around this area of Paris led us to realise that it all seems more compact than the maps would suggest. We both got a needed sleep.
After going out again Les spotted a chat carrying a baguette and retraced his steps to find a boulangerie and ordered a "parisse" which we later found out was probably a traditional Parisien baguette. The Aussies and the rest of the world have the skills to make these baguettes but the French flour has a lower gluten content which seems to make a difference.
You know there is a French flair for fashion. we frequently saw it expressed in the young and the less young.
We had booked dinner at a restaurant a 15 minute walk away, Glou, and headed there some two hours early. We enjoyed the history and architecture, the well-placed squares and gardens, and on this 25° day, Saturday, notice how the French families and residents of Paris flocked and played in the parks. In one park it seemed we were the oldies on the bench yet we were just as young as the kids kicking a soccer ball. Karen recalls from her previous trips that alcohol in the park was illegal and it seemed to be the case with most bottles wrapped in paper camouflage.
We made it to the restaurant and attempted in our clumsy French to be understood. Fortunately they understood a little English more than we understood a little French. We were tired but an entree of Lardo, which I think was scented with thyme, went down extremely well. Karen ordered a main course "Lomo de cochon basque" a Spanish fillet of pork which was lean and well caramelised. Les ordered a piece of lamb cooked for seven hours and was served upon cannelloni beans with tomato. The two French reds we tried were well chosen by the staff.
Tired but sated we walked back to our apartment, retracing our steps and looking forward to sleep.