A Short Stop in Paris: Part 4 of 4

France 2 Comments »

Under the cushioned bench seat of that folds into my bed every night, is a box where things I don’t use very often are stored. I sorted through a pile of handy hardware type items that were in the van when I bought it and found the spool of blue twine I was looking for.

It wasn’t long before I had driver B’s bumper secured and the slack cut with the new Swiss-Army knife I had received as a gift from one of the hospitable couples I met in Switzerland, Barbara and Randy. Driver B shook my hand and thanked me enthusiastically.

“Maitenant on va a boir quelque chose dans ce restaurant la?” he said

Desiree, laughing and smiling, looked over at me.

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A Short Stop in Paris: Part 3 of 4

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The woman was not about to give up. She circled around the front of the car, attempting to avoid view of the man, and then opened the driver side door. In a lady-like fashion, she then sat her self down and shut the door behind her. Pulling off the break, she motioned to us again for help. The man spotted her then and rushed over. His cell phone now by his side, he was demanding she get out of the car. Still helpless to move it on her own, she complied. They argued a bit and finally I could see the man agreed to push the car himself.

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A Short Stop in Paris: Part 2 of 4

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I was remarkably calm. Probably because I knew the insurance would fix the wagon and my van had no damage. The only thing I dreaded were the hours of reporting and dealing with a likely enraged driver.

“What are they saying?” I asked Desiree.

“I don’t know.” She went over, spoke some in French and came back.

“Are they pissed?” I asked.

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A Short Stop in Paris: Part 1 of 4`

France 2 Comments »

There is a district north of the old, romantic Paris you know from postcards and movies. Neon lights fronting two story sex-show theatres, pornography shops and dingy bars light up Boulevard de Sebastopol. Subway trains having sprung from the ground line the street inside a corrugated metal tunnel a few meters overheard. A thick mess of people mill below all the bright colors. Some move quickly, spitting out between long lines of parked cars. Men yell to girls passing by and dine together at small sandwich shops.

Further north the street changes to Boulevard de Strasbourg. The metro above disappears. The fluorescent blaze softens to a familiar warm glow of fine dining and cafes. Then standing in the middle of the road, the giant main station, with its big clock and smooth new façade, splits traffic West and East.

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Letter to You

Plans & Itineraries No Comments »

Hello You,

First off, thanks for following along with my travel stories and photography for so long. Don’t worry, it’s not over yet!

I thought it well to let you know I am taking a short break here in Germany before another stint of moving around this fall. Sometime in October I’ll be heading again by VW bus through Eastern Europe down to Athens, Greece. I may also spend a couple of weeks backpacking through Egypt before going home for the holidays. Although I won’t be moving around as much, I will still be traveling, writing and taking photos come 2007; possibly beginning with a relatively long term move to Thailand.

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Paragliding

Audio & Video, France, Switzerland 5 Comments »

I spent one week flying at Dune da Pyla, France and made ten high altutide flights in the Swiss Alps. Watch how the gliders rise right off the beach from the strong and steady sea winds. It felt so amazing taking off there, just being lifted off the sand and into the sky. Look how close I come to the fence when taking off in the Alps. I knew I’d make it. :o)

The Big Piece

Switzerland 6 Comments »

I met Michel in the foothills of the Alps after an afternoon paragliding. Somehow we got into a conversation about my search for the evidently unique Radio Shack device that turns a cigarette lighter into a normal outlet, which was stolen from my van in Prague. He offered to help me look for it, so we drove from Wassen to Zurich and checked a couple of stores, be still had no luck. All was not lost.

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An Average Day: Part 8 of 8

Travel Stories 3 Comments »

A fictional day comprised from parts of many non-fictional days while I was backpacking in Europe

Buildings spread apart and I’m suddenly standing in another square. This one, with a statue at center and people crossing in all directions, is especially vast. Deciding it a good place from which to find my way home, I sit down on a cold, hard cement bench, finish eating my messy falafel wrap and then take to reading again. As pages turn, the sky’s light grows weaker and shadows on my book made from overhead lamps distract me.

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An Average Day: Part 7 of 8

Travel Stories No Comments »

A fictional day comprised from parts of many non-fictional days while I was backpacking in Europe

Golden arches appear as I round a corner. Although I don’t eat the food at McDonalds, I can’t deny there is something warm and comforting about the place. Somehow it reminds of home. There is a comfort in knowing my expectations could be full filled. I realize that at a very young age a piece of me was taken hostage by their marketing, just like it was by Coke and countless others. I ponder my love and my loath for the manipulative power of marketing as I pass a smiling statue of Ronald and enter in search of a toilet.

There is a line and a short woman is taking payment. I wait with my cards, shuffling and spreading them at my waist as we patient men inch our way forward. I place thirty cents into the small plate on her small table and she raises her arm as if welcoming be aboard.

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An Average Day: Part 6 of 8

Travel Stories No Comments »

A fictional day comprised from parts of many non-fictional days while I was backpacking in Europe

I go back to writing and take a few longer breaks to stretch, sip my water and try to come up with a way to talk to the cute waitress who’s been smiling at me. Considering she couldn’t understand a lick of what I was saying when I was looking for the bathroom, I leave her to be another pass at fate.

After four or so hours, with the afternoon heat starting to wane; I decide I’m ready to do something else. Having not paid for the food I gulped down hours ago, I head for the counter to cash out. My waiter’s shift has ended, so I tell his replacement what I had. While traveling, there are so many chances to get stuff for free because of systems like this. I imagine I could have saved hundreds of dollars and given it to the poor people in India, sort of like Robin Hood, but as always I pay the full amount and say thank you in the local language. Then pocketing my change, I take out a pen and my little brown notebook. Still standing at the counter, the cashier watching me idly, I jot down the cost of my meal, offer a quick nod with a smile and head on my way.

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