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.