Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paris Day One

The lessons so far?
The week I will spend in Paris may be insufficient to know everything. But it is sufficient to learn something:
  • Firstly, do not blush when an amorous couple kiss on the train. It is the French way and the elderly do it too. (I do not know how our Ethics minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo would handle this one).
  • Culture is important for a national identity; and practise should not be discarded in pursuit of development goals.
  • Though I speak better French than the American tourists residing at l'hotel Cayre, my French is in need of thorough polishing. It will take me days to improve my accent; I had to tell Monsieur Monand YATA, our chauffer from Charles de Gaulle Airport, "Pourriez-vous parler lentenment?"
  • Dusk in France sets in at 22:00hrs during June.
  • The Ugandan rules of crossing the road do not work in Paris where motorists keep right. I have discarded the childhood rule of "Look left, then right, then left again; and then cross."
  • It is safe to drink tap water in Paris.
  • It took me a minute to learn to use the lock to my hotel room.
  • At the Shell outlet next to the hotel, I wanted a phone card to call Africa cheaply, but the attendant for sold me an airtime card!
  • The vibrations of the ground in Paris are not earthquakes about to happen. It is the underground train.
  • An organised transport system with buses is possible. Also, potholes, Boda bodas, and mosquitoes can be got rid of.
  • Not everyone you ask for direction in Paris, is familiar with the places. Some are even in more need of assistance. I asked a lady for the location of McDonald's along Rue de Rennes. She didnot know the place and was in need of 2 euros. I give her the coin and she disappears without saying, "merci."
  • The French system of sockets is not compartible with the universal plug of my laptop. Fortunately, the gentleman at the concierge has a number of universal plugs and it is sent to chambre 416, my current physical address

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