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2004-05-04 - 6:41 p.m.

(Written 25/04/04)

It's that time again...

I'm currently in a net cafe in Paris just across the road from my hostel,

trying to get my head and fingers around the European keyboard. On the plus

side it's proof that I don't usually look when I'm typing.

I last wrote in London, the day before we left for Amsterdam. Well that was

a day to try to forget! Tara, Tristan and I got up at 5am and headed to

Stansted airport, feeling we'd left ample time for the flight (which was at

7.45am). The drive there was completely traffic free until we got about 2

miles from the airport. There was heavy fog and an accident up ahead,

causing us to be stuck in a traffic jam for about an hour. We waited as the

time we had to check in by came and went, but thankfully (at the time) the

fog had delayed our plane as well so we just scraped into check-in in time.

We met up with my other expatriate friend Cathy and Adam in the departure

lounge just in time to hear that the plane had been cancelled. It had to

land at Gatwick airport instead and they wouldn't bus us over there and take

off from there. Instead we had to reclaim our bags and try o get one of the

46 seats remaining on the 8.40pm flight that night. The bad news was that

they were being offered to people in the order they checked in and we were

dead last. Cath and Ad got on, while we booked ourselves in to the next

morning's flight and decided we'd come back for the night flight regardless

and keep our fingers crossed for no shows. It was lucky we did because we

ended up all on the same flight that night and finally got to where we were

staying in Amsterdam at 12.30am.

Amsterdam itself was a bit of a blur but amongst other things we saw Anne

Frank's house and did lots of walking. Tara and Tristan went to check out a

renowned garden near Lieden which it was the perfect season for (just not

the best weather) while Cathy, Adam and I did a canal cruise of the city.

On Tuesday I caught the high speed train to Paris and arrived early

afternoon. The place I'm staying is a pub/bar/common area downstairs and

about six levels of hostel accommodation upstairs. Thankfully I only have

to walk up a couple of flights (getting up the stairs to our apartment in

Amsterdam nearly killed us).

Once again I've managed to find myself surrounded by Aussies and the odd

Kiwi, and I've generally either found people to go out with at night (or

drink at the hostel bar) and sightsee by myself during the day.

I'm not as motivated to see a hundred things a day as I was a few weeks ago

so I'm glad I decided on 5 nights in Paris and didn't try to cram another

city in. Today I finally caved in and went to the Louvre- saw the Mona Lisa

and the Venus De Milo and a lot of 10 foot high paintings. I must admit it

was impressive, although when I decided I'd had enough it took me half an

hour to find my way out.

The rest of my Paris list looks something like this: Champes Elysees/Arc De

Troimphe (which I climbed to the top of during the day), Eiffel Tower (which

I went up as the Sun was going down and stayed until the city and the tower

were lit up), Napolean's tomb at the Hotel Invalides, the graves of Oscar

Wilde and Jim Morrison among others at the impressive Pere Lachais cemetery,

the Catacombes which were very cool, Notre Dame, the Sacre Couer (another

Cathedral type thing) and surrounding area at Momartre, the Salvador Dali

museum which was probably my favourite museum/ gallery of the trip, the

Centre Pomideau and, well, probably other things I've missed.

Tomorrow I'm off to Tokyo, and then it's back home next Friday morning. I'd

like to say I'm looking forward to going back to work but I'd be lying.

You'll just have to think up a much more sucky reason I'm looking forward

to getting home, I won't embarrass her by writing it. It's too late? Oops :)

See you all soon...


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