D a v i d  A l e x a n d e r
Solar Physicist
Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, Palo Alto CA
A Week in Paris

    Monday March 8

My friend and colleague, Dr. Lyndsay Fletcher (see Lyndsay's BIO), was also attending the workshop and we decided to travel together, at least, on the way out. Lyndsay and I are both Scots working in America so the trip to Europe was particularly exciting as it would allow us to get a fresh injection of the European way of life. There are many aspects which are similar to life in the US but there are also many differences which cannot be easily put into words (The French would say "Je ne sais quoi!") It is a great feeling to be back in the culture and society to which you belong. Even though France is not Scotland, and the language is different, there is a sort of commonality between all of the European countries. I guess an American equivalent would be the widely different people populating the cities of Los Angeles and New York, very different yet American all the same.

My French is pretty lousy not having used it much since high school (a l-o-o-o-n-g time ago!) but I managed to order un chocolat et un croissant (actually deux croissants) for breakfast (le petit dejeuner) and when I had trouble with some of the dinner menu I could always use the age-old tool of the traveler and point.

The flight was uneventful although tiring and we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport in northern Paris around 10 am on Tuesday March 9, got on a train and headed through the city to our hotel in the town of Massy-Palaiseau, a couple of stops up the tracks from Orsay Ville.

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