Saturday, April 16, 2011

A day in the life of a Parisien

I’m currently in Lisbon, Portugal, on the 3rd leg of my around-Europe trip. But because of my travels, it takes about a week to post a blog post. So just pretend everything is a week in the past!
We were astonished by how well we cooked our breakfast!

A week ago I had the opportunity to stay for a few days at Guillaume’s appartment in Paris. Gui is a PhD student at Polytechnique, and we were on the same team for our start-up class.

How much does a prof make?

Here’s a joke. Sort of.
One prof I talked to, who shall remain unnmed, told me that he works about 50 hours  per week, minimum. He calculated this tobe 13 euros/hour, based on his salary. He then told me that the cleaning  lady makes 11 euros/hour. At this point, his friend itnerjected and said, “yes, but at least with the cleaning lady, you see a result!”.
Some of you might outraged right now. What! A prof at the top school in France? How could that be! Maybe you should be, but before jumping to conclusions, consider this: the prof lives in Paris, and his living expenses are basically: rent, food, and metro pass. No car, No insurance (covered by government).

Biking around Paris

On Saturday, Gui took me around for a bike tour around Paris. We started at 1pm.

  • 1:30pm: we bike thru the gates around the Louvre. In old times, only Kings did that! (But with Chariots!)

  • 2pm: we go to Champs du Mars (park in front of Eiffel Tower). We see 3 protests. Cote Ivorians supporting the opposition leader, Kurdish Turks demanding more freedom, and most interestingly, pro-incumbent Syrian protestors (so counter-protesters). The Kurdish protestors said that the Syrian protestors were pobably paid to be there. Don’t know if that’s true, but it is interesting to see that every regime, even if portrayed badly by media, has supporters
  • 5pm. We meet a group of American exchange students stuyding at Science-Po, and play ultimate at Invalides
  • 6pm We reach Sacre Coeur, the highest point in Paris. Just in time to see the sunset over 6-story building Paris, and buy beer from very entrepreneurial street vendors.
  • 10pm. Bike 5 miles downhill back to Gui’s house. It wasn’t too bad, except no helmet and bike lights...

Life of a Parisien* is lots of picnicking

*at least, for a cheap student who likes being outside and doesn’t like waiting in restaurants
I picnicked a lot that week. And hung around parks with friends.
Seeya Anne Charlotte and Gui!

“I have a Roman village in my backyard”

This Monday, I travelled with the Golhen family to their summer cottage before officially starting my big Europe trip.

My biggest impression: we stopped at a family friend’s house in Vannes, Bretagne (NW corner of France). Apparently last year, archeologists decided that there was a roman ruin in their backyard. Turns out they were correct. Here’s a picture of their background:

So they live in a renovated 18th century farmhouse (garage of left of picture), with a 21st century office building in their background, and a first century Roman village ruins (covered by the tarps). Julius Caesar might have come here to this very spot when he visited France!
Welcome to Europe!

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