Saturday, April 9, 2016


Here is today's travel tip for those who have not yet been to the continent.  Bring over the counter drugs with you as well as a first aid kit.  The pharmacies still have a lock on selling ibuprofen and band aids.  These things are not available at discount stores, only at the pharmacie. The lack of competition is evident in the prices.

Today we went to Sacre-Coeur, it's a minor basilica.  It's on the hill in Paris.  The subway stop for it is old and very deep in the ground.  One climbs many steps to leave the metro. There is nothing like five flights of stairs to let a person know how out of shape they are.  Upon arriving at the church, we elected to take the funicular up.
Once on the grounds, we were approached by a "deaf college student" wanting us to sign a petition.  We waved her on, she made a very rude noise.

The view from the ramparts is magnificent.  It's unfortunate that the light was so bad.

This is a fabric store.  We went in on one of our previous trips.  It's just amazing what is in there.

Sacre Couer.

Ruh-roh.  Looks like we will not be going inside the basilica today.

The gargoyles are impressive.

Look in the center of the photo.  That's a pretty cool building.  We walked by it later, but it was closed and there was no signage.

We walked down the hill to see what we would see.  One thing we saw were men playing Three Card Monte, or some sort of variant.  The guy keeps moving the three things on the table,  the person being fleeced is betting they know where the target went, they guy with the money in his hand is betting that you won't.  He was not enthused about having his picture taken.  In many places this game is illegal.

The area below Sacre Coeur is somewhat sketchy.  Again we were targeted by scammers.  A tall guy was walking in front of Jim, and occasionally looking over his shoulder at Jim.  There was a compatriot on Jim's left.  Suddenly the compatriot "dropped" his cell phone in front of Jim (actually it was more like a toss).  One's usual response might be to pick it up and hand it to the person, but since we are at defcon 1, Jim yelled at them and we just kept going.  I think that cell phone has been dropped a lot.
Upon returning via Metro to our neck of the woods of Paris we again were targeted by a guy doing the "I found an 18k ring on the ground and want to give it to you."  We told him to go away.  He was incensed that we did not believe him.
My theory on the frequency of the scams is the high level of unemployment, the fact that we have gray hair, and I am wearing a stupid looking hat.  I think the scam artists are seeing us as an easy target.   So far they are not winning with us.

This is a florist shop near the hotel.  It's unfortunate that the reflections on the window kept me from getting more of the interior.  It's just lovely.

Internet access has been very flaky for me.  Much cursing was required to get a connection this afternoon.  If I don't post, it's because the cursing has stopped working. 


  1. Too bad about all the crime and scams. Doesn't make Paris look very inviting.

  2. What do you think the cell phone scam was?
    I'm afraid I have to agree with Jim and Gayle... tho I do suppose one gets use to having a target painted on their back and can just brush off would-be scammers with a stern face. Life in the Big Citah, eh?

    1. They would ask for money, saying Jim bumped him, causing him to drop the phone. It's always about extracting money from the tourists.

    2. The other thing is distraction. While one is dealing with the cell phone guy, the tall guy could be looking for a wallet.

  3. In Paris, it's a cell phone. Rome, the gypsies toss a fake baby in your arms. In Amsterdam, they squirt birdshit on your shoulder from a ketchup bottle behind and "help you" wipe it off. In Belgium, they bump you from behind in the bus as if they are falling. In London, they use a long hook to extract your belongings from beneath your feet in the internet cafe. In Manhattan,'s not just Paris, sadly. And it can harden a traveler pretty quickly. Maybe you need to trade that beanie for a beret. Stay vigilant, my friends. ;-)

    1. That's just beautiful Suzanne, and so damn true. It's all about distraction, once they have distracted you you are fair game for them. As long as you remain wary you will be fine, but I'm getting tired of it and it does piss me off some. Birdshit from a ketchup bottle, seriously???????


    2. Yes, these are all "true stories" that have either happened to me (Belgium and London) or good friends. The birdshit incident actually happened to a dear friend who works for Qantas...and she fell for the fleecing, sadly. But once you are aware, it can become a game of outwit, outplay, outlast." ;-)

    3. Seriously? Bird poop in a ketchup bottle? Is it real bird poop, or maybe mayo with something brown streaked through it? That is just sad.

  4. I cannot speak first hand, but I suspect it was imitation. ;-) They fired it from behind, then one ran up to tell her a bird had pooped on her sweater, and yanked out a handkerchief to help her wipe it off in a most gentlemanly fashion. Meanwhile, her camera went missing in the mayhem...

  5. And this is why you won't find me there, Paris, Europe! or Mexico or Rio or any other "destination." Call me soft or call me "unhardened," but life is too short to stand in hours long lines, fight traffic, confused signage, con artists, scammers, pick pockets... thieves... muggers... terrorists targeting Americans... beggars, chicklet children, vendor harassers, language barriers, outrageous prices, hoards, and I could go on and on. Call me "culturally challenged" or "chicken," but I don't need that shit to be a complete person. It's all a part of the Hand Basket gone to Hell world of today... Money Grabbing that masquerades as "cultural enlightenment/enrichment."
    Your honest posts only reinforce what I fear destination travel has become. Of course there are exceptions to this, and, if I'm honest, there is plenty of Money Grabbing going on down the road from my camp in Moab (they got me for $1900, but at least was a good price for a full suspension mountain bike).
    However, not 20 miles from Moab's madness, I have found Camp Solitude... a quiet, "RV park" that comes with hundred acre lots and views to die for... and nobody has their hand out, or squirts bird shit on me or bothers in any way.
    I admire your travel, photos, stories... courage to brave today's "destination logistics." But I don't think I have the right "temperament" to hit the Hot Spots... Hell, it was all I could do to survive San Diego for a few days :) Times have changed, the "romance" is either gone or costs a fortune. I'll just settle for boondocks in the boondocks, take the occasional trip to Kawaii for cultural enrichment and leave going to places that only want my wallet and could care less about my experience to others. I know their are exceptions to the "wet blanket" I just threw on the whole wide world... when you find one, please let me know. There has to be a few "undiscovered" still out there.
    Staying home for now...
    Box Canyon

    1. Budapest. It's one of the most beautiful cities we've ever seen and it's not over run yet. We knew Paris would be nuts, but after the year we just had, we needed a trip.

    2. Vicarious Paris... It's not so bad after all. Thanks for sharing your trip... and get well soon.