Subject: Paris: final day & some observations
Paris Day 8 (final day)

During our morning stroll a bicycle went by with a dog in the back pack a women was wearing. A woman in a cashmere coat just went by pedaling one of those slick aluminum scooters on the sidewalk.

We took a short stroll to the Musee Picasso containing the painter's personal collection. It is perhaps the only Paris museum with an English translation of its signage. We then took a long taxi ride in rain and congested traffic to the Muse D'Orsay. We had lunch at the formal dinning room there. It is a fantastic Rocco gilt-encrusted, cupid-studded, frescoed environment with great service. Susan: steak and French frits. I: boar in wine sauce (wonderful!) with an airy "custard" with lima beans and one with cherry tomatoes. Dessert of Tiramisu and fruit ice crèmes.

We had an interesting conversation with two "fellows" from San Francisco who were seated next to us. We finally started to tour the D'Orsay around 3:20pm! Around 5:30, at the end of our visit, and somewhat tired, we ran into two similarly tired women of the same age who also were tired. We were on the mezzanine just staring down on the constant activity below on the classical sculpture floor. They, and a third woman friend had all attended Welsley and gone to Paris in the 60's together and come back for a celebration. The missing one had been completely pick pocketed and was at the police station. She had lost everything! We had a ball talking to them while we recouped our energy.

We had dinner at l' Arganier, a Moroccan restaurant, less than a block from our apartment at 19 ru Saint Croix de la Bretonnerie in the Marais (4th arr.) It was fabulous. We both had red lintel soup with a bit of spice, couscous and lamb kabobs. We split a tomato paste salad that was great on a banquet.

Observations: We had been warned about all the dog defecation we would have to avoid on the sidewalks. Although we have indeed seen a bit, it was very rare. They wash the streets early each morning.

There is smoking everywhere by everyone. Yes some, but nothing like we had been led to believe. Maybe we haven't been eating at the places of heavy smoking.

Poor people/beggars are about, but not a pest. They seem to either sleep in door ways, churches or sit with their backs against walls and either heads down or eyes down and hands out. Very little eye contact. The confrontation of eye contact is not present. Haven't, and didn't, have our pockets or bags picked either. They all had cardboard signs with "Merci."

There are an incredible number of speeding motor scooters and motor cycles even in chilly rainy weather. There are some bicycles, but nothing compared to the scooters, etc. I have been told that you do not need to have a driver's license of any sort to drive a motor scooter or cycle! Since it is difficult to get a driver's license, this is the perfect answer. The traffic is so rapid! Yet we have hardly heard any horns or screaming! Somewhere on the internet, I read that there is a law against honking horns now! George Gershwin would not have gotten the inspiration to write "American in Paris" if he came along with us this year!

So many cell phones! Seems like one out of three people strolling the street is using one. The impression is that a perfectly acceptable person is talking to them selves or having a conversation with an imaginary companion; animated arms empathizing a point, appearing to be a candidate for institutionization.

The next morning we caught the Eurostar to London for ten days and then a return to the states.

Hope you enjoyed my memories. I hope to return!

Steve in sunny Chicago