Saturday, November 16, 2002

Relaxing in Varkala

Dear Ones:

I feel that now that I am having a relaxing time at Varkala Beach for a change I might start doing the logs again. So, if you are not interested in old news, you can unsubscribe for a while. My plan is to write every day or every other day to catch up, but that will depend on how frustated I get with these extremely, painfully slow servers. Everything we take for granted is more difficult in India. But other things we don't dream of, like having a massage every day or someone bring you fresh coconut water to your room everyday it is no problem. I just have to adjust.

A big kiss to all. Marisa

Paris, July 1st, 2002 Monday

I need to check out from the Henri IV today. After visiting the Museum des Antiquites Nationales de Saint Germain En laye I had lunch at Guenmai, a nice small vegetarian place at 2 Rue du Cardinal, then I went to Museum of Moyen Age and headed towards Place Dauphine where the Henri IV is to hassle a taxi to the Hotel Esmeralda. The Place Dauphine is the second most important parisian royal square of the 17th century after place des Vosges, but the Hotel Henri IV is as run down as ever.

I stood at Pont Neuf and was able to spot an empty taxi despite the light rain and high demand for cabs. The driver was clearly not happy about the short ride, but I was not about to carry my luggage around the crowded streets even if it is on wheels and it is just a few blocks away. We have the right to a taxi don't we?

My room at the Esmeralda is even smaller than the one I had at the Henri IV if that is possible. Since I have a single room, I also don't have a bathroom in the room, but the situation is much better than at Henri IV where I even had to pay extra for showers. It is funny to observe the importance for bathrooms for the french people is inverserly related to the importance of food.

I checked in, took a nap, went out to stock up on juices, also bought a baguette and chevre cheese – delicious! and had dinner at the Guerniere de Notre Dame on Rue de la Bucherie, the first vegetarian restaurant I ate in Paris my first day. It is only a couple of blocks from the hotel and next to the internet place.

The Esmeralda is not bad. It is situated on Rue St Julien le Pauvre, a tiny street full of charm. The owner of the hotel, Michelle Bruel started the Bateaux Mouches business in Paris with her ex husband. She had no intention of running a hotel but she bought this building which had only one bathroom and it was occupied by women who lived there for forty years. After waiting for the law to change to evict the women, the owner restored the building's 17th century details and put all the bathrooms a hotel must have, but I still didn't have mine.

Paris, July 2nd, 2002 Tuesday

So, there are only 2 islands left in Paris - Ile de la Cite (where Place Dauphine is), and Ile St Louis behind it. It was on the first one that the Parisii, the tribe for whom the city was named originally settled long before Caesar came here in 50BC. At that time, there were eight or nine islands in this region of the Seine. Most of them got swollen by landfill/real state? I am not sure.

The day is grey today again, but very little rain. I bought tickets to St Foy La Grande (near Plum Village) for the 10th of July, to Amiens of the 8th and to Vernon on the 6th and Rheims for the 4th. Yes, I will be doing lots of short trips around Paris the next few days. I found out I can buy all my tickets at the Saint Germain Station, a block for the Esmeralda Hotel. Then I will have to go the various stations to take the trains depending where I am going. However, I found out that the RER ticket I had purchased at the airport is only good for the five districts in Paris and not to go to Rheims and Vernon as I thought. So, I will loose the ticket. Also, when we buy metro tickets at the airport, we get one week for 26 euros which includes discounts for the museums and monuments, but if a separate ticket is already bought for that it is better to get a metro ticket at the station for 18 euros.

I just came back from the Internet Café. There were so many messages! So nice to hear from my friends. Also, I received a note from Fred Mayer, from the Acorn Café. It was a long note explaining how my palm pilot was found. As it turned out it was stolen by a teenager who hangs out there. He was very concerned and apologetic about the whole thing. He also offered to send it anywhere I wanted and insure it. I thanked him but asked Sarah to pick it up and do me the favor of sending it to Cristina is Germany.

Sarah also reported we had another visitor in the house at Montgomery Creek: Edgar, a nice looking lizard.

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