Last Word, Memoirs, Travel

Paunchy Punjabi in Paris – Writer’s Intro


Well, there you are, my dear folks. I’ve been there and “done” Paris, but did not get a t-shirt. Most of them had glittering fronts that said “I {heart symbol} Paris” in small rhinestones and, as you already know by now (or should), rhinestones are not right for my idiom.

First view of Paris's 14th Arrondisement - Rue Daguerre.
First view of Paris’s 14th Arrondisement – Rue Daguerre. And my Virginian gentleman’s straw hat…

The trip was stressful in the planning, exhausting in it’s execution, exhilarating in it’s aftermath. To give you a sense of the level of stress, consider the following facts. Keep in mind that Mom and Dad are both A-type personalities and control freaks.

0. How long should the trip be? When should it be? Should it include London as well?

1. Travellers include a middle-aged mother, father and a nearly nineteen year old son. In the series to come after this ( you thought you were getting off lightly by reading this post?) they shall be referred to as Dad aka I aka Me aka Mine, Mom aka The Beloved Bangalan and Nineteen-year-Old aka Boo.

2.Flights to be booked. YYZ is one of the most expensive airports in the world. Any flight that comes / goes from Lester B Pearson airport requires a minor mortgage to be taken out. Mom hates takeoffs and landings so direct flights are important.

3. Hotels to be booked. Where in the city should they be? What about hotels in Normandy? The trip coincides with the D-Day celebrations (Dad at devious best) means all hotels are booked well in advance.

4. List of sights to see. In Paris there are museums, cathedrals, tourist traps such as a tall, very tall, collection of riveted steel. Modern art or the impressionists? Rodin? Turns out sculpture isn’t quite the thing. La Joconde is a must, I suppose, since how can you say you visited Paris and did not see the enigmatic smile?

5. List of places to visit. Louie’s hunting cottage in Versailles is a must, they say. The cathedral at Chartres, the chateau at Chenonceau. A drive through the Loire valley. Mont St Michel shot into prominence on the back of the last Tour de France coverage and travel show, goes up high on the list, but is more than 3 hours away from Paris.

Linear Programming polytope.6. Transport modelling using linear programming methods to optimize viewing and minimize travel time

7. Rental car – to book or not. Check insurance coverage umpteen times (we are Canadians, you see…)

8. If rental car then understand driver’s licensing requirements. Turns out our licence is bilingual in English and French so we’re good.

9. If rental car then see #6 to optimize viewing and minimize driver fatigue.

10. Update camera equipment with new digital lens, filter and spare flash memory card. Surely 2x32GB should be enough?

11. Take the little point & shoot digital camera as well? Decisions!

12. Ipad or laptop? We took both, ultimately.

13. Cell phone and Ipad plans. At the end of this discussion, Dad left his phone at home, Mom got the office to put her on a plan as she is a big noise in technical operations and no mouse dare move without her consent. Boo got his own text plan as a wireless leash, so he could wander a bit but yet stay tied connected to Mom.

14. All hotels promised free internet so Ipad data plans were deemed unnecessary.

15. Boo is in the middle of University registrations, so internet, a fast one, is necessary.

16. Adapters for the various electric appliances / gadgets. Check voltages on all.

17. Packing. Ahh! Americans on the web have worried about their apparel in droves. Shorts or not? Should I pack shorts? Will a paunchy, middle-aged, brown guy in pink shorts and navy blue and lime running shoes with white socks with a purple band stand out? All possibles are put into the spare bedroom then physically load balanced on the day of travel while safeguarding breakables/squishables into the middle of the suitcase buttressed by t shirts and things. It’s all very scientific….

18. Shoes. What shoes do I wear on the flight? What do I wear there? Go shopping for slipon casuals that will do double duty as good walking shoes.

19. What kind of jackets do we need, if any? Slightly less casual clothes for dinner? Check weather reports.

20. Print off all the reservations, copies of the passports in case passports are stolen.

21.Call the bank, order Euros (3-5 business days for the local branch to have them ready for pickup). Call credit card companies and let them know.

Not Ripley's but a subway station
Not Ripley’s but a subway station

Come back, you glutton for punishment, as the series continues!

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12 thoughts on “Paunchy Punjabi in Paris – Writer’s Intro”

    1. Oh we just like to complicate matters! It makes life living 🙂 Remind me to write about the VCR and colour TV someday!

      Thanks!

      Part 2 and 3 of the series are also up, btw.

      Like

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