Posts Tagged With: black cat

Rudeness, Pickpocket and Scam Alert!

The dreaded day is here.  The day Soleil  7th arrondissement, péniche, houseboat, Paris, France, River Seine 7th arrondissement, péniche, houseboat, Paris, France, River Seine and we part.  The day we leave our smurf bust. Soleil, péniche, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, Eiffel Tower, paradise found The day Fifi stays behind.  She certainly has made herself at home.  Soleil, péniche, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, Eiffel Tower, paradise found, Fifi, cat, black cat The last day when I look out the window or off the deck and will be reminded by the Eiffel Tower that I am in Paris.  Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, péniche, houseboat, Paris, France, River Seine, window, room with a view
Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, péniche, houseboat, Paris, France, River Seine, window, room with a view

I didn’t want the day to come but it’s here.

I very unwillingly pack.  We cross the plank with our luggage and place it in the garden.  One step further from our beloved péniche.    Fifi huddles behind it, probably because of the shade, but I am sure it is because she wants to come with us.Soleil, péniche, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, Eiffel Tower, paradise found, Fifi, cat, black cat, departure  Soleil, péniche, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, Eiffel Tower, paradise found, Fifi, cat, black cat, departure Soleil, péniche, River Seine, 7th arrondissement, houseboat, Eiffel Tower, paradise found, Fifi, cat, black cat, departure

I pick her up and go to our neighbor in the boat next to us and ask him if she is his and what her name is.  Fifi is now Yaya.   I think Fifi fits her better.

Up until now we have felt nothing but safe and have been on the receiving end of helpfulness and courteousness.  We walk to the station of Passy Paris, France, metro, Passy where in one swoop all that changes.  We are carrying substantial luggage that can only pass through the gate so I show our ticket and our luggage and ask the attendant how we can go through the gate.  He says it’s not free. I continue to smile and say I understand but how can we input the ticket for the gate (it has no slot)? Not free.  I know. How? Validate through the regular entrance and he’ll open gate.  I do.  He does not.  He is rude, nasty and unhelpful.  Had it not been for a passenger on the other side who opens the gate from the inside we would still be there.

Onward to the train (metro).  Two young women enter our wagon and stand at the entrance. Plenty of room behind them, but as I go in, one moves towards me. In French I ask her what she is doing.  Arreter!  Stop. She continues forward.  I avoid her and go towards the back.  They exit at the next stop and I look down and the zipper of my bag is open.  Fortunately nothing in that compartment for her to take, but it frazzles me a bit.

Onward to the Gare du Nord where we are going to buy tickets to our destination: Amiens.  Gare du Nord is a sea of clashing currents of human flesh.  Busy at all times.  A bit overwhelming to most.  No information booths are manned and we can’t find where to buy the tickets so we go to the machines.  A tad confusing and we must look it because we are approached by a lovely young lady who tries to help.  No, thank you.  Move onto another.  She follows and when we are about to put our credit card in she says that it  doesn’t accept foreign cards and we can pay her and she’ll put hers in.  I don’t think so!  We safeguard our credit card and move far from her.  It’s a well-known scam that has been going on for years.

We finally get to a ticket booth for SNCF but can someone figure out this billboard for me please? Gare du Nord, scam, confusion, train station, SNCF

Gare du Nord, scam, confusion, train station, SNCFThe train has little stars on the floor and I am ready to go into bliss zone again.

The countryside train travel, France, Amiens, Gare du Nord, countryside  train travel, France, Amiens, Gare du Nord, countryside shows up and in no time (about 2 hours) we arrive at the Amiens, SNCF, train station, France Amiens station. Amiens, SNCF, train station, France   Amiens, SNCF, train station, France  Bigger than I thought it would be..

Amiens, SNCF, train station, France

We are close to city center so after checking in we walk to town.  It’s about 8 pm. Amiens City Center It’s still light outside on a still mild night and no one is out.  Amiens city center, France The city seems deserted, yet it is beautiful and quaint.  Our stomachs (okay, really just mine) is clamoring for food so we sit at a pizza place Amiens, pizza place, Via Pizza,  and the entertainment comes to us.  A local theater group is walking through the plaza where we are, with the audience in tow. Theater, French theater, France, Amiens, entertainment, street theater Theater, French theater, France, Amiens, entertainment, street theater  They stop with the police blocking the road Amiens theater as the actors perform. Amiens theater Theater, French theater, France, Amiens, entertainment, street theater

My pizza arrives and yes, that is an egg in the middle.  Via Pizza, Amiens, pizza with egg, France More than one pizza is served like that.  I avoid it and eat around it.  I accompany it with my favorite drink:  Schwepps tonic which is not that commonly available in the States in restaurants but is here.  Schweppes, tonic water, Amiens, France, Via Pizza

I decide to not remind myself that it has more calories than a Coke and enjoy every drop.

Amiens Cathedral, France, church, cathedral The cathedral is ahead.

We will walk there after dinner. Amiens Cathedral Through the side streets we go ’cause that is the way where many a surprise has been had and today is no different.  Australian Bar, Amiens, France, Aussie bar in France An Australian bar to satisfy my partner’s craving for his country though this one has Latino music blaring and a soccer match showing.  Is it crazy that I find this perfectly normal?

And then the cathedral, which is quite a beauty, intricately adorned with sculptures on the outside, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, and quite huge.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

The plaza it is in is not bad either and the side streets are charming.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, plaza

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, plaza   The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, plaza

 The carousel is closed and the streets are empty.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, plaza

It is time for us to go home.  Amiens  Amiens

We will explore more tomorrow… or maybe we will just chill.  🙂

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Categories: 7th Arrondissement, Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Gare du Nord, Paris, Port Debilly | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Doing What You Love in the City of Love

Today is a workday… if you can call loving what you do work (filming) and if you aren’t really part of the crew and if you weren’t in one of the most wonderful cities in the world and if out on your deck 6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly 6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly and porthole isn’t the most recognized icon of France itself and if your home weren’t a houseboat on the River Seine.  Fine!!!  It’s not really a workday.

Our little Fifi (Disclaimer: Not her real name, but it fits her.) has made herself at home.  I have decided to not to feed her ’cause she will never leave but it doesn’t apply to quenching her thirst so I open the faucet and she has a blast.  Frankly, so do I just watching her.   cat, cat with water, 6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly,
  cat, cat with water, 6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly  Oh, by the way, today could also be considered a workday if you don’t wake up to flowers that are there just in case the deck, the Eiffel Tower, and the incredibly beautiful day aren’t enough to make you feel you are just about the luckiest person in the world.  Am I sounding giddy just about now?  flowers, love, happiness, 6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly   flower, rose, red, yellow But I digress. Back to Fifi. She decided the bedroom is a good place for her to spend her morning.  She gives me an “I’m going to take a nap now.” 6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly, cat nap, cat look and I dare not move her so I go to the kitchen and look through the porthole towards the other side.  6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly I know the Eiffel Tower is on the other side but just to comfort me I go up to the living room and look out and make sure it is there.  6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly, deck

The filming day ends. I have learned something extremely useful, that a baguette should never be put “face down” on a counter.  Baguette And I thought we had the superstition thing cornered in South America!

Tonight Eiffel is back to her regular yellow.  A local tells me that he rarely has seen her all colors as yesterday.   6th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, péniche, Paris, France, Port Debilly

Categories: 6th arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, France, Paris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

On The Road Again…

We head out today.  Once again on the road.  Am excited.  I almost feel like I’m relocating.  The car is packed and I compartmentalized everything knowing full well that along the way the interior will turn into a chaotic mess where I will not be able to find the most essential necessities.  But I’m okay with that.

It’s early in the morning and we have about 8 hours, 545 miles to reach Redding where we are staying on our way to Seattle.   Never been past San Francisco so I am all revved up to go and explore.  As usual, I only know what Daisy, my GPS, chooses to share with me.  Though I have sort of mapped out through http://www.roadtrippers.com our route, I basically am ignorant of what terrain we are crossing -something that later on in the trip I will learn to regret.

So far, the 5 North has proven itself to be exactly what I thought it would be.  Lots of traffic and with stretches which are absolutely, hypnotically boring. But I like driving and it doesn’t phase me.  There is good music on the stereo and I can go on forever. When I was in OZ and NZ my guy did all the driving.  I was not to keen (an Aussie expression) on driving on the wrong side of the road or, as in New Zealand, having the stick shift on the left.  Too much to concentrate on!  So while he was in the West Coast I was intent on doing all the driving.  Good intentions.  Not so good on the execution of it.

About 4 hours in more or less, we pass Gustine, CA.  Actually, we don’t pass it since I see a big sign that says Andersen’s Pea Soup Company 20121227_120207 and Baby Blue (aka: my Prius) perks up and suggests that my Aussie passenger should experience a bit of Americana. Now in its 75th year of existence it is more an experience than excellent dining. Baby Blue goes in.  I have pea soup and chicken salad.  Pea SoupAussie has steak and eggs. Both on the mediocre side but heck, we are experiencing part of American history!

And the trip continues with not much more excitement.   We use airbnb often when we travel.  Staying in a local person’s home who guide you as to where to go and what to do is so much more welcoming and holds more warmth than staying at a hotel and usually paying more.  It also comes with some perks.  Our hosts in Redding, where we arrive 4 hours after our coma-inducing ingestion of food, have a Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy (Is there an Aussie theme here?) of about 3 months that is so fun to play with!  She is the size of a chihuahua for now and will grow to only about 10 pounds.   Jamma (which I am sure is spelled wrong) was such a happy little girl that she would not stay still for a photo.

Morning wakes us up to a dreary rainy, cold day (34º F).  But off we go!  On our way to Portland, where we have decided to head straight for.   The drizzle is constant but I am unconcerned.  But less than an hour in we are heading up and it’s starting to get colder and now the raindrops have turned into snowflakes and they are swirling on my windshield. We are about 3,000 ft up the mountain. I’m not liking that this is combined with mountains and curves.  Oh my!  Then the windshield wipers aren’t wiping as well and I’m noticing Baby Blue’s windshield is icing up.  My legs start trembling.  Remembering my friend Dani Kehm who has a blog about panic attacks. (I’ve linked her name to her blog.) Haven’t had one in eons but my heart is beating way too fast… Dean asks me if I’ve driven in snow before.  The answer is no.  Do you want me to drive? Yes. Yes. Yes. Please! I am surprised as to how scared I am. Feeling like a wus but that doesn’t stop my legs from shaking.  So I pulled into Dunsmuir.  A lovely town.  If I weren’t so nervous I’d notice how the area is so incredibly beautiful under snow.  The exit ramp is icy and snowed in.

It looks so peaceful... though still shaking I take out my camera and take this photo.

It looks so peaceful… though still shaking I take out my camera and take this photo.

Dean is guiding me as to what to do.  We pull at a gas station and I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for not being alone.  We still have 5 hours to Portland.   He drives for a few hours while it’s still snowing and icy and yucky.  Eventually we go down the mountain and it stops snowing.

The HouseWe arrive in Portland mercifully after rush hour.  It’s about 8:30.  The city surprises me as to how huge it is.  It’s a maze of intersecting freeways.  I’m at the wheel now, tired, cranky, and missing most of my turns and exits (which is not that unusual with me).   We once again have booked through airbnb.  This time I had communication with the host on the road.  We arrive at a charming craftsman-style house.  It’s chilly and it’s still drizzling but as soon as we come in we are greeted by the most welcoming human host and two of the sweetest and cutest cats ever.

These photos were taken in the morning.

PiperPiper, a gray beauty that I knicknamed “burpee” ’cause she loves to be held and patted like when you burp a newborn.

Ready for a petting session.

Ready for a petting session.

P1140223   Her tags match the season. :)

Her tags match the season. 🙂

P1140216

Phineas, her brother, a shiny black cat that wears a bow tie with grace and pride.  The house is warm, our room is perfect and I am extremely content to be here.

He's totally owning that couch!

He’s totally owning that couch!

A side “bow tie” view.P1140219

A front bowtie view.

A front bow tie view.

Our bed is super comfy and it doesn’t take long to be in the arms of Morpheus.  I dream of flat terrain and no snow and a day when I can transport myself with no other means of transportation than my mind.

Categories: Alberta Arts District, California, Dunsmuir, Gustine, Oregon, Portland, Redding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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