Paris Day 2: Things I’ve Learned So Far

1. Tips are already included in your cab fare to and from the
airport. Cabbies don’t even expect more because they’ve
already included their tip in the fare.
— A nice told me this when I tried to tip him.
— It’s not uncommon to be in a cab that has wifi.

2. There are a number of U.S. videos that are not available
outside the states. To stream them, you just need to turn
on your VPN et voilà!
— If you’re like me and didn’t activate an
international phone plan and you’re bumming wifi,
you should definitely have VPN on your phone!
— You can suspend your mobile phone service and retain
your number and your plan while you’re away
(especially important if you’ve been grandfathered
into a plan. It only costs $10/month and you can save
on your monthly bill while you’re on vacation. (I
actually learned this before I left.)

3. Much of Paris is equipped with FREE wifi. Not just stores,
restaurants and cafés but also gardens(parks), district
town halls, libraries and museums. Again, VPN, VPN, VPN!

4. People are willing to trade mini English lessons for mini
French lessons. When you’re speaking to someone who speaks
only a small amount of English, and you speak only a small
amount of French, they’re often willing to teach you words
in exchange for you teaching them words. I suppose this is
part of the way the whole immersion thing works.

5. It really is true that if you know how to navigate the
train system in Chicago (or NY) you can easily navigate the
train system pretty much anywhere in the world. I’m vowing
to learn how to use the busses here to get where I’m going.
It’s a slower commute but you get to see the city. Glancing
at a train map and hopping on is not only faster in terms
of commute time, but it’s also faster for me to figure out.
But why am I in a rush? I don’t have anywhere to be until
September 12th when I go to the Beyonce concert. 🙂

6. Kids here take really early, really long and really LOUD
recesses. These kids have been outside screaming for 90
minutes. When does the learning start?!?!? It’s 10:30 (when
I started writing this) and I can’t tell that they’ve even
been inside the school.

7. The common maps of Paris list the Metro and/or bus lines and
show the major rues and boulevards. What they don’t show are
the dozens of little side streets. That’s where all the cool
stuff is.

8. My French is far worse than I thought.