Monday, April 16th, 2012
Many stores and tourist sites are closed on Monday; we’ve decided to take a day off also! We’re staying in the neighborhood for the day. Slept in until after 9 am; had a leisurely breakfast and then worked on my blog and photos from yesterday while Jim watched television after fixing our breakfast. He has learned to change the antenna and is very pleased with the reception. About 11 am we were ready, computers were charged, and we bundled up for the short walk to the McDonalds to use their free wifi. It wasn’t working yesterday. This morning Jim purchased a coke for himself and a petit coffee for me while I worked at getting online. No luck!
We finished our drinks and Jim suggested we walk to the Parc Violett and try the free wifi that the city of Paris provides. We were there once and had no luck. I stopped at the Orange Store along the way and purchased another 25 euros of time for the USB just in case while Jim continued walking towards the park.
When I arrived his computer was trying to connect and sure enough it was working! I also connected on my computer and we each had two hours of free wifi! It was cold and the children playing nearby bothered Jim a bit (because of the noise as he was trying to concentrate and also see the screen which is not easy in bright sunlight). I began uploading photos and Jim’s video of the Eiffel Tower at night. Everything was very fast and good other than the problem of seeing the screen in the bright sunlight. And, it is very cold…especially when the sun dips behind a cloud.
But we spent a wonderful two hours in the park…or nearly two hours as Jim’s battery depleted after just over an hour. Some French boys, playing ping pong nearby, came to ask us the time; when we asked for English…they asked a second time in perfect English!
Closing up the computers we headed back for the apartment…about a ten minute walk from the park and left our computers charging while we took off on another adventure after grabbing a couple of cookies. We went to the bike racks a couple of blocks away and using my new American Express card that has a chip embedded in it; we attempted to rent a bike from the Velib bicycle program run by the city. This was our second attempt. On Saturday we spent some time watching an American work the machines…he’d been at it an hour when we arrived and was finally successful. We all stood and watched an Italian couple successfully work the machine and then the American did his card and it worked. That gave us additional confidence this afternoon when we tried it again.
Everything seemed to be working but it did not give us a ticket and suddenly the machine said out of service. So off we went with much more confidence to another station and voila, it worked! Suddenly we had a bike and nowhere to go. We practice riding up and down under the metro until we felt confident and then checked the bike back in. Initially, they tell you that if a bike is not returned…your credit card will be charged 150 euros…and the single day pass was 1.70 euros plus any time charges for over half an hour. The first half hour is free. Now to check our credit card to see what they actually do charge us.
Filled with success we headed to the nearby Monoplix for some grocery shopping and then back to the cozy and warm apartment for some relaxing time and an early dinner. We may go walking tonight and I may add to this before sending…not sure. For now I’m going to use my secure USB connection and check the credit cards and bank balances.
Jim fixed us a snack of fresh baguette bread with our very tasty olive pate, some potato chips; we finished Nicolas’s liquor and then opened our new bottle of wine. In about an hour he is going to fix the other half of the pasta that we found in our cupboard when we arrived along with tea, sugar, and a few other things plus they’re left us two bottles of wine. It’s been a fun and relaxing day….and….no rain!
Later…back at the park….added the dinner photos and will send today’s blog.