Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Brief Paris Update

I'm sitting outside at a cafe near the Jardin Luxembourg and the Luxembourg RER stop. It is an absolutely beautiful day. Crisp, partly cloudly, bright, almost cool. It's almost autumnal. I'm psyched. It would be a great day to wander around the city. Alas, I have my third marathon lecture later this afternoon.

I stayed up quite late preparing my talk for today. I think I have enough material to fill the three hours and fifteen minutes I'm supposed to talk for. The talks here are amazingly long; I don't know how the students handle it. It was fun preparing. I was energetic from some after-dinner coffee and I felt very productive.

Today I'm wearing a pair of linen pants that I had custom-made in Beijing. So far I'm quite pleased; they're very comfortable. And apparently they're at least somewhat stylish. Earlier this morning I was mistaken for a Parisian: some French dude asked me directions.

Yesterday was a day of felafel. After spending the morning working, I took a bus to Pletzel, a n old Jewish neighborhood in the Marais on the north bank of the Seine. There are great felafel shops there. I was very hungry, so I had two. I successfully asked for them without cabbage in French. A small but important victory. I then walked back to the Complex Systems Institute via Notre Dame. I had another felafel for dinner, this one from a place near the Institute. All three felafels were yummy. So it was an excellent food day.

Listening to a David Guetta mix while watching people walk by. Lots of tourists and lots of Parisians as well. A French couple is sitting at the table in front of me. They're both drinking smoothies and talking on their cell phones. A tour bus from Slovakia just drove by. I would like to spend a few hours here drinking coffee, listening to music, and watching people. But complex systems beckon.

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