Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Parisien Ride

I love Paris taxis.

Ohh wait, apart from that one from last year which changed my mind to no travelling alone late evenings.
But now as i normally take morning or early evening flights, that is working good.

So now i think Paris taxi drivers are quite good actually, and also very smart. Like take this one, 99% of them know already that you are one of those asking-reciept type and they won't wait until you are at your destination but will try multitasking by doing it well in advance while driving, taking advantage of traffic.

They will try to make you feel good, some will put nice music ON for you, also changing channel or CDs looking at your expression in the mirror until there reflects sober expressions on your face. ( It's another matter that even though you don't understand French, you got to listen French music. )

Then there are these all friendly types who feel bad that we can't talk with each other due to our limited or no knowledge of other language. You can see them feeling miserable on not being able to be of any help to you from getting bored. I don't know who spread that word about French that they are a bit arrogant and one not wanting to talk in anything else than French. They are very nice actually.

Once this one taxi driver kept talking to me in French which i didn't understand and i kept saying i don't understand French. But he wouldn't stop. Then an idea clicked, i took out my iPhone, opened translation application, types in English, translated it in French that i do not speak French and i only speak English and may be a little bit Dutch if knows it. And he kept laughing for next 5 mins. And then he kept looking at me in mirror giving me a warm smile now and then. I don't know was it for my effort or he felt pity for me or he was just amused ! May be the last one. But that only lasted for half an hour, then we were in the middle of city, struck in traffic and he couldn't help but to talk with me in French ! Ok so then it was my turn to just look at him and smile. No, i didn't take that effort to take my phone out again and to type - translate - read. Just smile.

Most common topic to try to make conversation is traffic, sometimes it goes like they saying little traffic with smile and when you reply too much, they will correct you with No, little traffic. OK.

They will even check on you from mirror if you haven't fallen asleep. ( highly possible considering your luck in traffic and also if you took early morning flight. ) When you notice this they will give you a smile assuring you are not very far now.
They can talk with same/ limited 5 English words they know and will try to give you a company.

Ohh and sometimes they will like you praising their taxi. Once I had a really nice taxi, all leather and all and he actually asked me if I like his taxi ! And yes he really had a very good taxi, he deserves to be proud of it ! I think.

What are your taxi experiences impressions?

All the observations put here might be gender specific, in adverse experience writer is not to be blamed ! ;o)

Picture Courtesy:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

London Shower...

Wrote this post while was on summer vacation, sitting in London. Finally it is seeing the daylight today! :o)


Every country in Europe has its own stories about how imperfect weather can be.

When we started preparing for UK trip, I read the same, never trust the weather. Being used to hearing that about everyday I knew what it meant. (Or atleast I thought so!)

At London, we took the Thames cruise to enjoy the beauty of London from river of Thames.

It was really nice weather, almost perfect. Sun was shining in clear blue sky. After a while it started penetrating our skins as we were sitting on deck. Some more minutes and it started getting a bit too much and Ashu asked me if I wanted to move inside cruise as it was getting really warm. I replied I was liking it… sun, river and cruise.

While thinking the same those words that I read so many times rushed to my mind “Never trust the weather here”. I wondered if it was possible to experience that chill now while the sun shines. I smiled and settled my wondering mind over admiring tower of London and the bridge,

A moment passed and a cold breeze touched my cheeks. I actually liked it after this warm penetrating sun rays.

A few more moments and it was windy, getting chiller moment y moment forcing everyone to put on their jackets.

A few moments and came a drop on my forehead.

A few more moments and we were rushing downstairs towards downstairs on cruise. While hearing those last words of trip from tour guide, we were sitting in comfortable chairs enjoying view of London eye from behind the glass windows with heavy shower blocking the view!

So here I am, repeating the stereotype you might have heard hundred times:

“While in London, you never know what to expect, so always e ready to expect the unexpected.” :o)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Life in Metro

All the luxuries in Netherlands, which comes with calling it home now, didn't provide me with many opportunities to live a life in-out metro, but now I do as Paris is not that kind to me.

Well actually metro life is quite interesting and with my part-time hobby of observing people it gets even more interesting. (Yes, I know may be Interesting only to me!)

So my people-observing skills made me do some statistical analysis on people travelling in the metro in peak hours ...

- 60% of them are reading something, it can be anything… book, newspaper or just something on their mobiles. Yes, even when there isn't enough space to stand or breathe properly, they are just reading.

- 29.99% of them are just staring in the blank with their earphones ON. Don't think they are looking at you, they are not. May be they are trying to recall visuals relative to what's ringing in their ears.

- 0.01% of them are noticing ... ok may be it's just me, noticing what they are upto!

Metros are so packed sometimes specially at office peak hours that there are people pressed against doors and...

- 95% of them looks like lost in the crowd.

- 4% of them are looking at themselves in the glass of doors and windows, just checking themselves out in general.

- 1% of them are checking themselves out in the glass thinking it’s a mirror and same time giving a nice smile to self. Yes, no kidding.

I actually checked out if they were giving smile to someone besides reflecting in mirror or some acquaintance but no, it was a nice, warm, constant smile to own-self. Well I thought it is good, isn't it? If no one else, atleast your own-self deserves a nice smile from your self!

Too much of statistics, which noone might be interested reading in, so may be I should scribble down something useful to others as well? As I am already writing about metros, obviously choice is something metro.

- First of all avoid pick hours if you are just there for tourist purpose, you can let those office travelers have a break from your ohh-wow-Paris-sooo-nice look.

- You can buy a day pass from air-port/ tourist info which allows you to travel unlimited using metro/tram/bus. When we visited Paris first time we had that, we bought that from airport ticket window. But I haven't seen that option at the Metro stations in the city, so it is advisable you buy it from there without thinking you can always buy that later if you feel a need for it.
I love the network connection in Paris, travelling is indeed very easy.

- If you haven't got those day passes, you can buy ballet of 10 / 20 tickets from any metro station to avoid standing every time in the queue for ticket.

I have noticed some problems with that though, sometimes when you have put tickets in your wallet or near phone or something, it doesn't work. Initially I used to throw away them getting irritated.
It is irritating that you have a ticket in hand, you try to enter the door and it gives you a beep with access denied! And then you have to search other ticket in you pocket while there are people pushing you from behind to move on.

So just from experience I keep two tickets in hand and in the case one doesn't work. This problem I only face when I have bought 10 tickets ballet never with individual tickets but then if you have a valid ticket and no access, you can always go and ask at ticket counter and they will check your ticket and let you enter or will just renew the time-stamp on your ticket if that's the issue. But is convenient in a way time-saver (of course not when it doesn’t work) and most of the time there is always a queue at ticket windows or machines.

Easy thing is to buy from some small metro station as it won’t be that crowded, smart huh? ;)

Ok enough metro. I am back to home over the weekend and time for some luxuries.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


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