Today in My History
2000:You've got MAIL
2001: Honk, If You're an Idiot
2002: The Unappreciated Wit
2003: She Who Hesitates is Sometimes Saved
2004: Sounds Artsy Fartsy to Me
2005: Killing the Dog
2006: I Know the Secret
2007: Free at Last
2008: Amtrack and Other Frustrations
The Lion King
Books Read in 2009
Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
VIDEO OF THE DAY / WEEK / WHATEVER
A COUPLE OF BACK PACKS
6 June 2009
I have two very nice new back packs, and I probably won't use either of them.
Pat and I drove down to the Bay Area for the second meeting of our trip group. Pat had missed the first meeting because she was out of town, so this was her first encounter with the group. I had been to the first meeting a couple of months ago, so had seen all the group before. We talked about France on that trip and ate French food.
It was our understanding that we would cover Italy in this meeting, so we were kind of confused when we were told to bring something "Franco-American" as our contribution to the dinner.
Last time we had a slide show and a map and an in-depth discussion of all the thing we would do in France and Monaco, so I kind of expected the same sort of presentation this time, but, in fact, the tour organizer didn't seem to have any additional information or adivce about Italy, went over pretty much the same information that she had given us the first time, and spent most of the time telling us about all the thing we could do in Paris on our free time and showing us the things she had bought in the south of France on her recent trip and telling us how to shop for things.
In other words, I didn't learn anything about the actual trip itinerary that I hadn't known before (except that I now have the names of all the places where we'll be staying, as well as the phone numbers). She seemed a bit less organized this time than she had been last time. (But then she is just a teacher who gets these groups together and accompanies them from the U.S. We meet our official tour guide in Paris.)
She did hand out back packs to everyone, nicely monogrammed with the name of the group (ACIS) and huge yellow baggage tags, so we can easily spot our group's luggage. She didn't know if the ACIS office would have sent that stuff to Jeri (who is flying from Boston and meeting us in Paris), so she gave me a backpack for her, in case they did not. But they had, I learned this morning, so I now have two backpacks, in addition to the bag I bought from Rick Steeves, which is the backpack I will be taking on the trip.
The nice thing, for me, about the trip was that I started to get to know people and I think I can put names to faces yet (though perhaps not from memory--I now have a typed list). Stan and his wife Thea hosted the dinner. They have a lovely home (with a "pig" theme--ceramic, decorative pigs everywhere--very cute), and a very nice old dog, Cider, who is losing his fur and was, we were warned many times "very smelly." Cider and I became such good friends that he wouldn't even leave my side when Thea called him.
I remembered Sherri from the last time. She used to work with Char and has been reading this journal for a long time (hi, Sherri!). I'd link to her journal, but she may not want me to, so I won't. But we've been in communication back and forth since the last meeting and it was fun to see her, and meet her daughter Ashley. who will turn 16 in Nice. I had once mentioned in a journal entry that I liked U-No candy bars and that you couldn't get them any more. She said she knew where you could buy them and would go shopping for me. She made good on her promise (thank you, Sherri!)
I had started following Jennifer on Facebook, when I put in her e-mail address from one of the organizer's e-mails and found her on Facebook. We've exchanged a couple of messages and greeted each other with hugs last night, like we're long lost buddies. (She made the best tiramisu for dessert!) Her sister, who was not at the dinner will be traveling with her on the trip.
And then there were all the others. I talked with several people and watched others from a distance. There is going to be another gathering on the 19th. The tour organizer admitted she would have nothing new to tell us, but that if we wanted to get together to socialize, we could--and I think many of us decided to do that.
I'm starting to get excited. I called Jeri this morning to report on the dinner and bring her up to speed with what I know and compare with what she knows. We both want to tour the Paris opera house, which is about a 10 min. walk from our hotel, I learned (though for me that will probably be 20 minutes!). And Jeri is interested in renting a bike and going biking in Paris. I told her I'd be willing to try it and see if my knee would complain or not. I think that even if I can only last a short time, the idea of having biked in Paris will be very cool indeed.
I also came home and ordered some packing cubes that you can compress so that you can fit more into your bag, also from Rick Steeves, as well as a electric currency converter so I can recharge the camera and iPod (they were on sale for $1, so it didn't seem such an extravagance!)
The trip hasn't really seemed real up to now but with only 15 days left before we leave (on Air France ... ahem), I'm starting to think about getting (somewhat) organized.
I'm also worried (again) about sleeping. If I slept at all last
night, I was not aware of it. From the times I saw on the clock at Char's house, I
know I was awake during part of every hour from 11 p.m. until I finally got up to read at
4:30. Based on past experience, I am fairly certain this will be par for the course
in hotels on the trip.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 113 miles