Monday, September 30, 2013

Pickpockets at Louvre caught

Gangs of thieves who have been working together 
targeting Paris' tourist hot spots
including the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Eiffel Tower and Versaille,
have recently been arrested.

This past spring,
workers at the Louvre went on strike
to protest the upsurge in petty crime
and this month, the police finally caught a group
hanging around the most heavily-crowded areas of the Louvre
such as near the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.

While this was a sophisticated group,
only about ten were arrested, so there are certainly more.
The police, and the Louvre website, have posted safety measures
to follow while visiting crowded sites.
From the Louvre website:

"Pickpockets may be present in the museum.
They operate in crowded areas while you are looking at or taking pictures of the artworks.

Please follow these rules:
* Keep your bags closed and hold them in front of you
* Do not keep your money on display
* Divide up your cash and keep it in several different inside pockets
    or in different compartments of your bag
* Do not put your wallet in your back pocket. 
* Do not follow the advice of strangers at ticket machines
* Pay attention to your bags and pockets while taking photos
* In the event of a problem, contact a security officer for assistance."

I caught young teens trying to steal my wallet in the Louvre several years ago
as well as in the metro so not all groups are sophisticated. But they are everywhere in Paris. 
These rules are good to keep in mind no matter where you're visiting
to save headaches, heartache and peace of mind. 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dreaming of Greece~ Travelin' Tuesday

Missing Greece today
as the drizzle comes down here in the Pacific NW. 
Just a little window of Nafplion's beauty
and one of my favorite walks
to cheer us up today. 

(Photo copyright:Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Beautiful Ruins~ Teaser Tuesday

Hosted by MizB at should be reading.

Here's how to play:

*Grab your current read,
*Open to a  page,
*Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page,
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title and author.

Hollywood, California

Before sunrise--before Guatemalan gardeners in dirty dinged lawn trucks, before Caribbeans come to cook, clean, and clothe, before Montessori, Pilates, and Coffee Bean, before Benzes and BMW's nose onto palmed streets and the blue-toothed sharks resume their endless business--the gentrification of the American mind--there are the sprinklers: rising from the ground to spit-spray the northwest corner of Greater Los Angeles, airport to the hills, downtown to the beaches, the slumbering rubble of the entertainment regime..." (p.15)

"In Santa Monica, they call to Claire Silver in the predawn quiet of her condo--psst hey--her curly red hair splayed out on the pillow like a suicide. They whisper again---psst hey-- and Claire's eyelids flutter; she inhales, orients, glances over at the marbled shoulder of her boyfriend, sprawled asleep on his 70 percent of the king-size. Daryl often cracks the bedroom window behind their bed when he comes in late, and Claire wakes like this--psst hey-- to water spritzing the rock garden outside..."  (p.15)

 "Faced with such decisions (college, boyfriends, grad school), Claire has always been a pro-con lister, a seeker of signs, a deal-maker--and she makes a deal with herself now, or with Fate:  Either a good, viable film idea walks in the door today--or I quit...) (p.17)

"Then Claire starts for the bathroom, officially adding Daryl to her deal with Fate, like a hostage (Bring me a great film idea today or the strip-clubbing boyfriend gets it!)..." (p.19)

"And that's when a single wistful thought escapes her otherwise made-up mind: a wish, or maybe a prayer, that amid today's crap she might hear just one...decent...pitch--one idea for a great film-- so she won't have to quit the only job she's ever wanted in her entire life. 
(p. 19)
Outside, the sprinklers spit laughter against the rock garden." 

From Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins

Maureen Corrigan of NPR's Fresh Air calls this novel:
"A literary miracle...A sweeping stunner of a narrative...The entire novel is a kaleidoscopic collection of 'beautiful ruins,' both architectural and human. This novel is a standout not just because of the inventiveness of its plot, but also because of its language."

And another claims that it "shows novelists how it is done." 

I've been jonesing to read this book since last year and heard spectacular things about it. But only this weekend did I realize it is the same author as the one my husband has been raving about from the book he's reading (Land of the Blind). 

I'm only on Chapter 3 but in awe of his writing!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Metro gets a cleaning~ Missing Paris Day

Paris' state-owned public transport operator RATP 
(Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) has announced,
the metro is about to get a cleaning.

Pierre Mongin, head of the RATP, has promised 70 million euros a year 
for the next five years for a major overhaul 
meant to clean up both the grime and the smell. 

I love the Paris metro no matter its condition,
though I know residents who won't ride it other than in an emergency.
But it would be nice to give it a better reputation than it has now. 

Can't wait to see the results! 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Le Cafe Du Commerce~ Missing Paris Day

This is a favorite little lunch spot in our neighborhood.
We usually stop here first thing when we go to Paris
partly because it is close but also because it now signals to us that we have arrived.
It is brasserie food so nothing 5-star but has a beautiful interior 
and decent traditional fare.
One day soon I will do a post with the interior photos to give you the flavor.  
You can go HERE to check out their website.

Le Cafe Du Commerce
51, rue du Commerce
75015 Paris 
33. 1. 45. 75. 03. 27

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)