Thursday, September 6, 2012

Odds, Ends, Observations

His bag was filled with rocks - a geologist.
On the Train
The train conductor
We're in the first car after the engine.  The bar car is five on down.  The drug dog with a handler and two other officers came through.  All were in plain clothes and bright orange armbands that said "Douan" (Customs.)  They passed, I forgot about them, but then Richie came back from a beer run empty-handed.  He said, "They closed the bar car and the dog was sniffing around."

"Was the bartender still in there?"  I was curious because he had one of the more interesting mouths I've ever seen -- top row of teeth, left side only.  Bottom row of teeth, right side only.  Richie said he was, leaning against his counter.

Sidewalk Cafes
There's a reason they are everyone's second living room.  You can smoke with impunity and the French love nothing better than sitting (comfortably, of course) and critiquing passers-by's outfits.  French women are, generally speaking, well-groomed and well dressed, but they don't know squat about shoes.  It's as if they bought the outfit at Dior -- and then darted in to Payless for the shoes.  A disturbing new fashion -- bra straps everywhere you looked.  The women were extremely careless about matching the right  bra to the dress/blouse cut. 

The Busy Port
Due to construction, much of the sidewalks are blocked, and the roar is constant into the night - the back-up bells, the roar of engines or heavy-duty equipment, the scrape of a bulldozer blade on concrete -- and the ambulances.

Either the Old Port has a huge elderly population or else a very accident-prone one.  Every morning, I'd sit out on the balcony with my coffee and listen for the First Ambulance of the Day.  I must say help is at hand, because the ambulances circle (like vultures) on the road around the Old Port.  Never during our visit did see the accident or cause for the sirens.

Who Am I?
I was asked to my face if I was Dutch?  Another person asked if I were Swiss?  And on the train back to Paris -- "Are you English?"  You'd think that after four words in that accent! (mine) they'd know absolutely that I am an American.

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