Monday, 27 August 2012

Day 18 - Paris, Sort Of

Had nice chats with the kids and Dad this morning.

Hurt my back moving Sue's bag. Some of her stuff will be posted back home at the end of the week to meet tour and airline requirements. The back twinges were probably caused by the hefting necessary on and off the train yesterday. Sue can't move anything because of her own injuries. Exercises etc have helped.

The split bag goes off to the boot maker tomorrow morning - early - and then we are off to get our four day Paris pass from the Hard Rock Cafe. From there its the Louvre and the associated gardens for most of the day. The following four days will be like a travelogue as we closely examine the glorious sites which Sue has spent a lifetime longing for.

We continue to be amazed by the cost of food and alcohol in France. Even in the dearest places - Monte Carlo for instance - both of these items have been cheaper than comparable prices in Australia.

It was a dull day made duller by the news that Neil Armstrong had died. His achievements are clear, being at the sharpest of sharp points in the delivery of scientific achievement. What it took to be the first man the walk on the moon placed him a the top end of the greatest adventurers of all time but the class of the man is indicated by his refusal to occupy the limelight since. He went quietly about the rest of his life, becoming a university professor and only rarely being drawn into comment about the space program and even less about Apollo XI. He always claimed he was just one man in a chain of men, any of which could have taken that step. Of course, he always neglected to enter into discussions about his brilliant landing on XI when the computer failed and he had to land manually.

That's the macro picture.

For this Australian lad and his younger brother, his work had much bigger ramifications. My brother became a scientist and like me, has had a life-long fascination with the space program.

There was a deeper ramification for me. Armstrong and Aldrin became my greatest heroes, at a time when I needed to believe in something beyond my own life ... to have imagination that the fear I was gripped with would pass. By laying hero worship in Armstrong it helped me establish hope.

Life is strange. We don't always have the chance to choose our circumstances. Survivors cling to whatever rescue rope that dangles in front of them. Armstrong was one of those for me.

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