- Everything is designed for small people--the elevators, the hallways, the roads, the clothes. I see why it is the City of Love, you become quite intimate with people when crowded into a lift.
- The subway system was extensive and efficient (as reported in Barcelona) leading me to the conclusion that European subway and railway systems are far superior to our best in the U.S.
- The computer keyboards are quite different with added and rearranged characters. This becomes a challenge for those who have had the structured 10-fingered typing classes of old to shot an e-mail to a friend.
- Some interesting 3rd party information: 1) It was heard from a fellow from the Philippines who has lived in Paris for 17 years that he has never witnessed a fight meaning that the city is pretty safe 2) There are many tunnels, including the one where Princess Diana had her fateful crash; it was told that people still leave flowers and mementos at the site; in addition, it is thought that she might have been saved if she was rushed to a hospital instead of treated at the scene where they may have missed her internal injuries. This appears to be standard practice in Paris, so be advised to not get into any accidents.
- The Eiffel Tower sparkles at night.
- The wine menus at French restaurants tend to be larger than the food menu. Our table was provided a two page menu of entrees and a 10-15 page menu of wine.
- Erotic art is the norm and you will find naked breasts and other naked body parts in the most common places--the subway terminal, a restaurant, a hotel room or hall, a prime time commercial. As a matter of fact, the french are comfortable with the naked human form.
- Achieved goal #1--Have sumptuous meals: I had 2 wonderful meals--Cameroonian and French.
- Achieved goal #2--see the Eiffel Tower: I not only saw the Eiffel Tower but saw many of the well known landmarks including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Musee du Louvre, and other architecturally impressive building for which I do not know the name.
- Achieved goal #3--buy outfit: This one was only done in part. I got a hat although a very cute hat. In addition I was able to get a few souvenirs as well which I wasn't sure was going to be possible given my itinerary. My meetings were so close that the stores all closed except for a small souvenir shop next to Notre Dame (shops close by 7p.m. yet restaurants are open all night)--God's grace was upon me that day for I was almost sure to have left empty-handed otherwise.
So that is Cherise in Paris. Early Friday morning, I was flying to the African continent. The plan was to stay in Nairobi for 3 days to connect with an old friend. I met Chad at Hopkins when he was a medical student and I was a public health graduate student. He was the twin of a guy I knew in undergraduate who either I did not know or forgot had a twin. This was quite a surprise to come face to face with the spitting image of someone you know but knew they were not supposed to be there. Awww, the funny moments in life. From this point, Chad was to be my friend. That was 7 years ago and since then we have only spoken by phone, each making moves in our respective fields.
It ended up that Chad decided to work for a mission in Kijabe, Kenya for a year after finishing his residency in Boston, and it just so happen that I take periodic trips to Kenya with my current job. Thus, the two meet again face to face. Alas, it was but a brief meeting due to his clinical obligations but a fun one no less--a taste of authentic African cuisine, bartering at an open door market, and strolling around Nakumatt, the equivalent of Walmart. I must say that Chad is one of the most beautiful people I know and he is doing wonderful things in medicine so look for his name in the near future.It is a national holiday in Kenya today; I am not sure which one. It is my impression that they have many more holidays then we do in the States. In the morning, I will be headed to Kisumu for 2-weeks so expect more updates. Au revoir and kwa heri.