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Ubuntu Developer Summit Paris, Day 4

  • 5th Jul, 2006 at 11:27 AM

22 June 2006

Paris is such a gorgeous city. Especially at night. I walked every night through the narrow old city, and as the sun would set, lamps would start flickering to life. Now Paris has a lot of streetlights. But unlike Hong Kong, they're rarely tacky. The lights are aimed to light the streets in a warm, orange glow. They light up elegant buildings to show the detailing.

I couldn't help but be happy wandering around. Although I took plenty of photographs, none of them can capture my wide-eyed delight. I walked along rue de Rivoli and sneered at the tourist menus posted outside the little cafés. I crouched down beside the cobblestones at Place Vendôme where cars and bicycles sped but inches beside me. And I marvelled at the sight of Place de la Concorde as it lit up at night.

Oh how I wish I had a better camera. And a flat overlooking the city.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Obélisque de Luxor
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

In Montréal, there is a métro station that has wrought-iron railings and a huge sign that looks so old-world. So imagine my shock when I saw identical copies everywhere in Paris!

Arc de Triomphe
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Tour Eiffel
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Under repair
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

One time, as I was riding home on the train, I noticed that my car was getting emptier and emptier. Eventually, I was sitting behind five youths. Two girls, three boys. They were speaking in rapid-fire french and smoking on the non-smoking train. They noticed me and asked me where I'm from.

—Je suis Canadien.

They were quite happy to hear this and started burbling amongst themselves. I apologised for my terrible french and we have a broken conversation where they discovered that I was going to Terminal 2. That's when they asked me to help them out. Their plan was for me to get off at Terminal 1 and help them book a hotel room. Because they weren't old enough to do so themselves. They looked about sixteen or seventeen.

I pondered this situation and realized that, although I do like adventures, this one would happen way past my bedtime. So I figured that I'd just sit on the train and continue to my stop. As we got closer and closer to Terminal 1, the youths pleaded their case. Sometimes in French. Sometimes in very broken English. In the end, I lied:

—Desolé, desolé. Je ne comprends pas.

They left rather dejected. But they seemed resourceful. I'm sure they had an interesting night.


5th Jul, 2006 16:15 (UTC)
Note that the Montreal Metro entrance at Square Victoria isn't just a replica; it's an authentic Paris Metro entrance, donated by the Paris Metro a few years ago. It has a plaque on it somewhere with more details.