But I could go to Paris now, without too much concern


Source: Wikipedia

It looks like — knock wood — the snow has stopped falling in my neck of the woods, and if I were to take off for Paris, I wouldn’t be leaving people in a lurch, putting them in charge of moving snow.

I’m seriously considering a trip in May, when my schedule looks like it’s opening up a bit, and I’ll be on my own while my better half is away on a business trip.

Just a quick jaunt over — 4 or 5 days, tops. Just enough time to be there, walk around a bit, sit in a café and sip an espresso while reading a newspaper or book. Just enough time to simply be there.

That’s what I missed, going over to Paris on business — the ability to just be there. Everything was so frantic, so rushed. Everything was so damned important. No time to just sit and enjoy yourself — which was probably as much about me traveling with Americans, as it was about the conditions. My American colleagues didn’t seem to enjoy stopping to savor as much as one might. Sure, they’d go out for drinks after work, and they’d walk around and see the sights… but stopping to savor?

It’s tough to relax when you don’t speak the language, everything is foreign and unfamiliar, and you feel like you have to be on your guard.  It’s easy to feel that way in Paris. So, the main focus was work — all about business.  There are a million little rules you learn about business etiquette, cultural do’s and don’t’s, temperaments and inclinations… what will get you ahead, what will hold you back, what is politically positive and what is inadvisable. You’d think that doing business in France would be fairly straightforward as a Caucasian Westerner, but au contraire. It was anything but that.

It was what it was. And we all had to make the best of it. You learned as you went, and if you stuck around long enough, eventually you became acclimated — and got pretty Zen about it.

Traveling to Paris on business was a whole deal in itself — chock full of surprises and lessons, from the minute you got off the plane, to the moment you got back on to go home. You learned, or you sank. While jet lagged. And whilst trying to make a good impression with our Gallic professional hosts.

Not much time for stopping and savoring the delights of Paris, under those conditions.

But now, on my own steam and on my own time, with my own agenda and schedule, it could work. And I’ll have enough time up front to research moto taxis to take into the city. I may even get in touch with a former colleague who swore by them — and indirectly talked me into taking one, last year.

What a ride that was! And how much I learned. I have a feeling it will stand me in good stead, if I decide to go.


Statue at Les Invalides

This is one of the sights I never got to see, while I was in Paris. I spent a bit of time in the city, but it can be difficult to see everything you hope to, when you’re working on two continents. I spent an awful lot of time on my trips pulling double-duty: working 8-5 on French time, then putting in 4-5 more hours on US time, so my projects stateside wouldn’t stall while I was in France.

For all the romance that travel to Paris promises, if you’re going on business and you’re working the whole time, there’s not always a lot of discretionary time to see the sights.

You can always go a day early and stay an extra day on the back end, but family responsibilities may prevent that.

In any case, I’m looking forward to returning — on my own terms.


Here is a photo we took of a statue we believe is made out of marble, found at Les Invalides in Paris.

More information and details at http://www.eutouring.com/hotel_national_des_invalides.html

Statue at Les Invalides

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Here’s someone else who raced from the airport to Paris — this time in a regular taxi cab. Seems that speed from the airport is a common theme.

Wheels Travels

We had a four-hour layover in Paris before heading back to The States.  We had decided mid-flight that if we landed on time and were able to get off the plane and through customs with three hours to spare, we would grab a taxi to the Eiffel Tower.  Our flight landed seven minutes early and we taxied up to the jet way immediately.  Everything was working in our favor.  We also had checked most of luggage, so we just had a few small carry-on bags (which made the whole thing that much easier).

download (7)We sprinted our way through the airport (me wheeling along just as fast as the others) and found our way out of customs and into the open air of Paris.  A few yards away, taxis were lined up, just waiting for anxious passengers.

“How far is it to the Eiffel Tower?”  We asked.

“About 20 minutes.”


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Strange to think it was a year ago…

Not quite as romantic as you'd like to think...

The usual view from my hotel room. Not quite as romantic as you’d expect.

… that I landed in Paris and hopped on that moto taxi to my hotel.

It’s strange to think I used to go to Paris a lot, period.

But I did. And I have to say I’m glad I didn’t have to go this year.

Over the period of 2010-2014, I made annual “pilgrimages” to Paris for work. Politically, it was required, because company headquarters were in the Paris area, and it was important to be introduced to the “right people” — and be seen talking to those right people.

Now, sitting in my US home, surrounded by five feet of snow on the ground, it’s wild to think back about how usual it was, just to pick up and go. You got your marching orders from management, you looked at your calendar, you looked at the calendars of the people you were supposed to meet with… you made your reservations, arranged for coverage at home, and you flew to France and back. You just did it.

It was never easy — for plenty of reasons I describe in my book (don’t worry, I’ll describe them here on this blog, too, as the weeks and months go on). But you had to go… or you’d get lost in the shuffle of transatlantic office politics.

So I — and a lot of people I worked with — went.  For a few days. For a week. Sometimes several weeks. Considering how slowly decisions got made, and how easy it was for plans to go off the rails if you weren’t watching closely, it would have made more sense, at times, to go for a few months. But if you’ve got a family to support, with kids in school or other domestic responsibilities, that’s not terribly feasible.

Unless you take everyone with you. It could be fun. Provided everyone is up for it.

In any case, that’s a rare phenomenon — especially in the States. I can’t think of many Americans who would gladly pull up roots, even for a few months, and go abroad. It sounds good on the surface, but when you get into the reality of things — the different language, the different customs, the scarcity of luxuries we take for granted here — it gets a lot less appealing.

In any case, it’s Monday morning, and I’ll be heading off to work in a little bit. My life is remarkably staid and steady, these days, the bad weather notwithstanding, and my regular routine is… well… regular. I have a much better commute now, than a 7-hour flight to France, and I’m living pretty much the same way that most folks around me do.

But a year ago, this time, that was not the case at all.

And it’s kind of cool to look back on it and remember (from a safe distance) just how out of the ordinary it was.

Zen and the Art of Moto Taxi Survival – eBook now available

I’m very excited to announce, the book is now available!

At last, the work is done – and I can begin discussing it

If you’ve got a Kindle (or Kindle Reader, as I do on my tablet), you can get it at Amazon.com’s Kindle Store

I took a different route than most, opting to write the best book I could for publication, rather than rushing something to market with the intention of fixing problems later.

I typically don’t discuss my books when I’m writing them, so I’ve had to keep quiet… but no more. 🙂

More to come… but now it’s time to go outside and air myself out.

Snow, snow, and more #snow

At least they can ride…

Got a day off today to handle a bunch of things that have been lagging, due to snow coinciding with my work schedule.

  • Rake that roof. Put some additional extender poles on, and see how much I can get down.
  • Go out for a long drive in my humble little car to see the countryside. I don’t do much driving, now that my commute has been shrunk to a fraction of what it once was, and I have to admit, I kind of miss it. Put on those shades, and go stylin’ on President’s Day.
  • Get some physical therapy for the aches I’ve developed from sitting too much on the one hand, and moving so much snow on the other.

A couple of other logistical things need to be handled, but other than that, it looks like the day is shaping up nicely.

At least it’s not snowing again … yet.

I may take some time to do some sitting later. I could probably use it.

Then again, I tend to favor the idea that any activity you focus on completely enough to lose all thoughts of yourself, is as good as a “sit”.

So, I’ll go with that.

Comrade Mayor of Paris to outlaw motorcycles built before 2000

Now, this is interesting. Time for another protest! I wonder if it’s going to be hard to find a moto taxi at CDG during April…


Generic French Motorcycle Protest Generic French Motorcycle Protest

In a bid to reduce pollution in the city, the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (a Socialist of course) is attempting to ban all motorcycle produced before 2000. She is also going to ban cars built before 1996. From what I can tell, as there has been little English reporting on this (or at least that is what Google reports), she pulled the dates for those bans from her …. Thin air.

This ban is all about age as it does not allow for upgrading your vehicles to current EU exhaust standards. But, if you cannot afford a new vehicle Paris will help you finance a new one or provide you accommodation on public transport.

So from my limited results research I was able to discern the following:

  1. The poor citizens of Paris are out of luck buying cheap vehicles.
  2. Any small businesses working on retrofitting…

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