18.9.96 (Wed)

I am now on an RER to Disneyland Paris. It was not because I particularly want to go there, but that I don’t usually live in a city with a Disneyland nearby. I will return to Paris this afternoon and spend the rest of the day in the Louvre.

It is now cool in Paris. I think it is below 10 degrees in the morning and people are wearing woollen scarves and woollen jackets already. But I expect that it will be much warmer in the afternoon.

The same thing happened again yesterday. I checked in a hotel listed in "Let’s Go Europe". It was cheap, just FF208 per night. But I had to pay in advance and the hotelier reminded me not to use the other bed in the room because I had only paid for one bed. No breakfast, no laundry allowed. And notices on the rules that lodgers had to follow were posted along the staircase. Again I had to climb four flights of stairs just to find that the hall outside my room was undergoing some kind of works (or maybe it was just like that). The room appeared acceptable at first glance. But then I found it dirty when I inspected it more carefully. There were no soap, or towels, or toilet paper. And I found bits of hair on the pillow. And the windows faced the backyard of other buildings. There was enough natural light during the day, but not enough electric light at night apparently. And there were flies, at least seven or eight of them in the room, from the backyard of course. I could not run fast enough away from that room.

Soon I decided to move out. I could not stand sleeping in that room for even one night. So I tried the Hotel Suez, where I had spent a night in my previous trip. But no luck. Then I just went in a Hotel St Pierre which I happened to see on the road. And bingo. The room I have is much, much nicer, though it costs FF365 per night. But I really don’t mind paying more for more comfort.

The lesson, again, is not to pay before you see the room. Good hotels let you check the room first. They even ask if you want to see it before you decide to take it. Poor ones ask you to pay first. I hope I won’t make the same mistake in Britain.

I really don’t have a plan for my stay in Paris. I walked around yesterday and visited St Chappelle and the Conciergerie. I didn’t have a strong desire to go there, but the "follow-the-crowd" strategy led me there, and it wasn"t bad.

The inside of the Grande Arche de la Defense was no doubt a disappointment, though I quite like some of the exhibits there.

I watched a movie "Tin Cup" at a cinema near the hotel. It was in English, of course, with French subtitles. (But the one shown in Avignon had been dubbed in French.) And it was about golf. So I didn’t know the rule of the game. But since it was after all a love story in Kevin Costner’s style, I think I managed to understand about 70% of it.

And there was CNN back in the hotel. So yesterday was a pretty good day.

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