Saturday, 11 August 2012

Day 3 Paris - A Shocker

Sue at lunch
Yep - a Barry Crocker. After having such a tiring but sensational start, the contrast with parts of today couldn't be more marked.

We slept in, finally catching up on those zombie hours spent flying and wandered down for a leisurely breakfast of touch, croissants, bacon, scrambled eggs, chipolettas, pastries, cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit ... well that what we had but we didn't want to make pigs of ourselves.

The balance of the morning and the afternoon was to be a bateau ride down the Seine, at least as far as the Eiffel Tower. It wasn't because we couldn't access money from several ATM's in the Bercy district. Frustrated, we returned to the hotel to gather our wits, postulated another theory and ventured out again ... only for the same result.

Conventional wisdom meant ringing the bank back in Australia on their 24/7 number but we still hadn't been able to charge our mobiles with credit because we didn't have enough cash and now, couldn't trust our card. Our regroup caused us to throw caution to the wind and spend what we had on the recharge cards at a tobacconist shop but naturally, it was shut! We wandered, trying to think a solution, returned to the tobacconist when she was open ... but she couldn't speak a word of English! Eventually, with two berserk Australians making hand signals, the shop keeper sought out two students who translated for us on their way to the barricades. At least our phones were charged.

We wandered into Village Bercy and sat for lunch at Chez Nous Nicholas, which was offering entrée, plat and vin rouge for 16 Euro. We figured we could pay on the card because although it couldn't cut the electronic mustard in an ATM, it was dynamite working as a credit device. The food was delicious - tender chunks of steak in a red wine sauce being the highlight - but having confidently presented my card I then realised I hadn't signed it! By this stage Sue was two wines into the lunch and got an irretrievable fit of the giigles. The waiter ignored the signature and bid us farewell.

We returned again to the hotel where I was told to wait for a technician to come to the room to fix our switchboard phone so I could make international calls. I couldn't wait and struck on the idea of Skyping the bank ... and finally an idea struck gold! It worked like a charm and the password problems were resolved.

All of this took a toll on both of us but if it had to happen, it was best it was a on a free day when we could cope.

The evening was spent in the company of our tour buddies for the next eleven days. They are mostly Americans but a few distinctly Australian voices could be heard and a lady with very troubling past who has done more had yards than almost anyone.

Tired ... must go to bed. Touring  Paris tomorrow.

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