The Adventures of a 12 pound Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) going to Paris.


Tom & Maxine like to travel. Blogging helps us create a record of the trips, and share with friends and family...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Early Impressions -- First Week

In Paris, by far the most typical way to get around (outside of walking) is to take the metro. I don't know what single use tickets cost, roughly 1euro. On a prior trip we'd learned about a 'carnet' which is a slightly cheaper solution -- a bundle of 10 single use tickets. In our research for this trip we read about a "Carte Orange" -- a monthly metro/bus pass. On day 2 we headed over to our local metro stop (Mabillon) and attempted to buy them (having packed passport size photos we'd had taken before we left the US). For reasons that are not yet clear to us, but that I'm sure we will encounter again, the ticket purchasing machine at Mabillon did not take Mastercard. In an encouragingly productive conversation (in French, which is what was encouraging given our efforts to learn to speak it), we were told that the St. Germain station, the next one over, could take Mastercard. So, we've got our Carte Orange(s) now and feel even more settled into being here!

After our positive experience with our first purchase (we're trying to manage our expectations here and recognize even the small successes), we used our transportation capabilities to head over to the Louvre (...the place where they filmed the first 20 minutes of The Da Vinci Code...). A LARGE museum (OK, an understatement...), we managed to view 4 of the 41 items at the museum that they are most proud of. We didn't make it to the Mona Lisa, but certainly plan that for a future excursion. My purpose in mentioning this excursion is to give some sense of just how extensive the Louvre collection is, that in the scheme of things, their collection is significant enough that a significant item is at the level of the Mona Lisa.

As I continue to write entries for this blog I expect less and less about the dog and more about what we're doing, seeing, how we're getting by, all of that. But for now as we spend a good portion of our time adapting, a key component is the dog. So, with indulgence, a few early impressions that relate to us being in Paris with Cassie.

At the Luxembourg Gardens (a very large park 10 minutes walk from our apartment): We come up to 2 older women (60's-70's) standing and talking while their dogs interact. Cassie walks up to them and at the moment our dog makes contact with their dogs we hear "Bonjour". If the dogs interact, so do the people.

11PM, a last trip outside for the night: A young woman walking her dog and the dog marches up to Cassie. She comments on her "baby" and we tell her that Cassie is 7 years old. A dozen other dogs with owners out one last time for the night. In several cases, young couples on benches while their dogs wander nearby.

At a cafe: We settle into an open-air cafe across from Luxembourg Gardens for coffee (the jet lag is still generating problems!). Cassie settles in under the table. It feels pretty protected -- she is against one wall. the table shields her from above, my legs are in front of her. We realize that this table, while providing some protection, is at a busy intersection. We do some population sampling and come to the conclusion that roughly 30 people pass directly in front of us each minute! So, in the hour we spend at the cafe, Cassie has seen 1800 people -- more, we estimate, that she has seen in the rest of her life! She handles it fine and, as we leave, the waiter acknowledges it by saying "petit bon chien" (good little dog). We feel incredibly validated -- our work with Lori has been successful!

When we think of these and other dog-based interactions we've been having it is clear that the vast majority of our interactions with French people have been precipitated by our dog. We'd read that this was likely to be the case (and maybe this is just self-validation), but it seems to be happening.

Our next hurdle, taking the dog into a restaurant for lunch!


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