– Perhaps b/c I have been living in NYC for several months now, but the streets of Paris seem eerily, wonderfully, quiet and calm
– I never noticed how much shorter the Metro stations are here compared to New York
– Paris has completely solved what used to be a very bad dogshit problem. I’ve seen hardly any since arriving here and it used to be everywhere.
– The food this time around has been decidedly unimpressive. It is easier to each much better and much cheaper in New York
– Some things don’t change much and it has been an absolute delight visiting with old friends here.
– Paris has put in place a grand experiment with public bike transportation called Velib’ (for velo libre – free biking). Although there are some problems with maintenance, it has absolutely changed the way people think about transport in the city, and it is pretty amazing. We took a ride today to the Bois de Vincennes.
Generally, the Metro system in DF is easy to use, fast and cheap. Some things I have noticed though:
- It can be uncomfortably hot inside the cars, as they are not air-conditioned.
- The length between stations seems quite long (compared to say Paris or New York)
- On a sociological note (and unlike Paris or New York), it seems that the system primarily serves a lower economic class. It is a bit surprising how different the mix of people looks underground vs above ground.
Oh brother! It was about 7:30pm last night, and I was on my way to visit a friend of mine on the Metrobus. I’m not sure if 7:30pm is normally rush hour, or whether everyone was on their way to some Valentine’s Day tryst, but the buses were crazy full of people (or is that full of crazy people?). I had the particular misfortune to have to shove myself just inside the doors. At each stop, the crowd would push their way out, I would step to the platform, then shove myself back in before the doors closed a microsecond later. At Insurgentes (which is a curved station), the crowd was even more aggressive than at the other stations, and literally shoved (and I mean SHOVED) to get out. As I was being hustled out by the motion of the mob, I was pushed in such a way that I fell into the gap between the bus and the platform (which was a good foot and a half wide). The height of this platform is roughly 5 ft off the ground (as is the bus floor) and I landed on my elbows between the two. The crowed couldn’t have cared less, as they continued to plow over me. There was one nice soul on the platform waiting to board who helped me up out of the hole. I am lucky that I had time to scramble out before the bus took off, or I could have been cut in two.
All of this should serve as a warning to anyone riding the Metrobus when it is crowded. Mind the gap! Don’t ride the bus when it is crowded! Punch an old lady in the face if you have to!