Friday, May 18, 2018

Notes from Paris

Paris is giving herself a bath as she prepares for the 2024 Olympics, Years of grime are being cleaned from the limestone buildings and they are returning to their original shiny luster that gave Paris the nickname of "City of Light". In addition, many of the churches, and their artworks, are being cleaned and restored. The colors now pop off the canvas and painted details on the walls are now clearly visible. The down side is that many buildings are covered in scaffolding.

Last year the mayor went on the warpath against AirBnB and the city passed laws limiting vacation rentals. It drove several property agents out of the market as many people withdrew their properties from the short term rental market. While this may generate some tax revenue for the city, it is having detrimental effects on the people who work in the tourism industry. For example, the guy that picks me up at the airport has seen his business fall off. He is considering leaving Paris. The story is that the mayor is in tight with the hotel industry and the law was passed to help the hotels, But, I don't know how Paris is going to accommodate the people coming to the Olymipics unless they allow vacation rentals. There will not be enough hotel rooms and the average person will not be able to afford one.

There seemed to be a lot more homeless people on the streets. They can be seen sleeping on many of the posh shopping streets in Paris and there seems to be no effort to move them. You can't go one block without stepping around a sleeping bag with a homeless guy in it. This will not bode well for the Olympics.

British Air has the worst customer relations of any airline I've flown. They are even worse than United. One of our carryons is an older version and slightly bigger than the current limitations. The problem is that we carry our medications in them and do not want to give them up to be checked. The gate agents hassled us every time we tried to board. The problem is that the bag in question fits quite easily in an Airbus A320. On top of that, their transatlantic flight had little leg room, only 2 toilets for the entire economy section and the staff disappeared after the first meal service. The toilets became filthy very quickly making me wonder about the personal habits of the British. And this was a 787! Never fly BA if you can avoid it.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Head Count

Saudi Arabia executed 9 last month to bring their total to 46 for the year.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Battle Damage

This is a corner of the Paris City Hall building showing large caliber battle damage. The resistance took over the building and held it for 3 days while waiting for Leclerc to arrive.  



Friday, April 27, 2018

Trip Report and a PSA

I know. It's been a while and the usual posts of stuff from Paris has been missing. Well, we had a bit of a hiccup in our travel plans. After a great week in Bologna with the oldest grandson, my wife took a slip and fall while walking down the dimly lit stairs in the Bologna airport. She stuck her head on the wall and was dazed but but not unconscious. We boarded the plane and headed to Paris. She expected to have headaches but after 4 days, she had a muscular control issue with her leg. We headed to the American Hospital for a check up. Turned out that she had a subdural hematoma and that led to her spending the next 7 days in the hospital.

I can tell you that if you have to spend a week in a hospital, the American Hospital in Paris is the place to do it. The room had a terrace with a 4 place table on it and we ate out there when the weather was warm. You order your meals from a room service menu and it is served by a waiter in a white jacket. And you can order wine with your meal.

Now here's the PSA.....If you are travelling outside of the USA, go buy some travel medical insurance. I get mine from Amex. It covers medical, dental and medical repatriation should you need it. Medicare will not cover you and your supplement plan probably won't be happy paying he entire bill. And make sure that you have a credit card that can cover the costs. I had to put down my Amex card which the hospital happily accepted. You will be responsible for filing the claim. When we left, the hospital gave us copies of all our medical records including CT scans and MRIs. You will need that stuff to file your claim.

If you are on blood thinners and suffer a head trauma, get checked for a subdural hematoma!

Anyway, we are out of the hospital and doing well and glad that I was Boy Scout enough to travel prepared.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Head Count

The KSA slowed down a little last month and only beheaded 7. year to date total is up to 37.

News from Across the Pond

Watching BBC and Sky News at the apartment as I can't stomach CNN International and Fox News is a pay channel. The news today is that the UK has instituted a sugar tax to discourage drinking high fructose soft drinks.The nanny state is using regulation to fight obesity. In other news, there were six more stabbings today in London. There have now been more murders in London than in NYC. But at least they weren't shot.

Locally, we chatted with our driver on the ride in from CDG and the topic fell to the topic of immigration and taxes. our driver, who is self employed said he pays 67% in taxes and hates to see his money go towards supporting illegal immigrants. His father immigrated from Portugal but unlike the new generation, they have always worked hard and assimilated into France.