Finally, I have internet access in Paris and the time to type, so here we go..
Having a fantastic time so far over here. The most stressful part was actually trying to get out of Wellington airport on the Friday after the weather closed it briefly and cancelled a bunch of flights. As it turned out, we were only an hour late getting to Auckland, but still a bit of a rush to make the connecting flight. Everything else was blissfully uneventful, which is exactly what I want when flying!
So Emma and Miles met me at the airport and dragged my rather tired self back to their place for a lovely couple of days in London.
The highlight of which (aside from seeing E&M of course) was the final of the Women's Rugby World Cup between NZ and England at Twickenham Stoop. Which for a "side ground" was pretty damned impressive. 13,525 people at a women's rugby match. Pretty unheard of here. Oh wait, that's right. The NZRFU is so supportive of women's rugby they cut the women's NPC in a world cup year. Guys, you so suck! Sorry. Back to the game.
Really awesome atmosphere and a huge appreciation for the game of rugby. (Yes Miles, there were also an awful lot of chicks at a rugby match, we got that ;-)
Sorry Reb, that's the last pic I took during the match. I had planned to take heaps but it was the most intense, amazing, nail biting 80 mins of rugby I've ever seen and I completely forgot about the camera! The aussie ref was, umm, well, a pillock is about the nicest I can get, and did her damndest to whistle the Ferns out of the game. But truth, justice and sheer guts prevailed over a bloody good English side and at the final whistle it was 13-10 to NZ.
Sunday night was, not surprisingly, spent drinking beer with Miles til way too late. More surprisingly it did involve me explaining to him the basics of programming, which I think he actually got! Bless the man, he still managed to get me to St Pancras to meet Cat and onto the Eurostar for Paris on Monday morning - tho he was a little more quiet than the night before ;-)
So, arrived in Paris on Monday and got settled into my apartment. For about an hour until the noise of the builders above me drove me out into the streets for some peace and quiet. Fat chance! Straight into a demonstration about changes to the pension laws or something.
Between that and an extremely rude and unhelpful woman at the supermarket, my brain decided to forget every word of French it had ever learned. Fortunately I figured I was probably tired and having a bit of culture shock and decided not to worry about it. And so far, so good! Definitely doing heaps better than last time. It's amazing what a mix of improved French, some English and very bad mime can achieve towards making a girl understood :-)
Walked to Cat's place - all of 20 minutes from mine - and she took me out for a lovely dinner for my first night in Paris. Thanks Cat :-)
Bit buggered tonight after spending most of today wandering around Provins - just over an hour by commuter train from Paris and has a large part of 12th+ century buildings/ramparts etc still intact. So just a quick bunch of photos to give you an idea of what I've been up to. (OK Mum?)
Apartment has courtyard
and a lovely cat in one of the apartments on the left. We're good friends already :-)
I open the front door to look out on Place St Sulpice
Turn right and I'm looking down towards Rue du Renne
Spent most of Tuesday just poking around the area - Metro strike meant going farther afield was a bit trickier and haven't quite sussed out the buses yet
Wednesday finally got internet sorted, found REALLY GOOD COFFEE (sorry, but it really is worth shouting about), had a lovely long wander around the Latin Quarter and then dinner out with Cat and a bunch of her mates. Yes, dinner. Out. Don't tell Monty!
And today, Provins.
Tomorrow - well, not sure for most of the day - a bit weather dependent. That and the state of my back/neck/knees. Found myself wishing today that I was doing this when various bits of my body didn't give me so much pain. But hey, that'd put me back in my 20's. When I was poor. And a dick. So on average, I think I'm doing just fine - just need to pace myself damn it.
Friday evening however, I'm meeting Cat at Montparnesse and off we go to Brittany for the weekend! Rennes, Mont St Michele and St Malo. Cat's licence has expired so I'm having to drive. Been trying to swot French driving rules online. So far I think they amount to "kill or be killed" and "watch out for things coming at you at high speed from the right! Even tho the law has changed, they'll still insist on right of way"
Assuming we survive the experience, I should have more to say on Sunday or Monday.