Monthly Archives: April 2013

SUMMER PLAN

I think it is time for me… to tell you all what I will be doing this summer! I don’t know if I talked about it before… but I have two nationalities, the French one, and the Canadian one. Therefore, my family and I are very often going to Canada for summer, to visit my uncles and aunts.

This year is one of those years. I’ll be in North America from July the 17th to August the 22nd. It is quite a long trip, as you can see!

Of course, planning a trip like this one is a bit more complicated than staying within France. We have to book flights, find accomodations, and plan everything ahead if we don’t want to pay steep prices. As we are four, it is hard to say “we will just be going and see what we find to spend the night!”. It is way too risky and I definitely don’t want to sleep in the car. Very uncomfortable, believe me.

So, what is the plan?

First, we go to Montreal. My dad is there for six months, so he already has a sort of accomodation. It is small, and I am not sure we will be very cosy, but it will do for a few days. I am a very difficult sleeper. I cannot bear noise and it usually is a problem when we go on holidays. When I was younger we would always choose camping as our accomodation, but as I grew up, sleeping in a tent turned into a nightmare. It makes me crazy to hear everyone snoring (in my tent, but also in our neighbours tents!), but there is worse. The crickets. They make so much noise and never let go! I remember spending nights hoping for them to finally stop but they will never ever do so. Anyway, I’m getting off topic there, aren’t I?

So, Montreal first. To be honest, the beginning of our trip isn’t entirely planned. I know we are supposed to go to the Laurentians and to Ottawa at some point, but I don’t know exactly in which order and for how long. I guess we still have time to sort it out.

From August the 3rd to August the 10th… we are going… to the US!!! It will be my first time EVER crossing the border. Though I went to Canada many, many times, I never visited the US. Somehow, my parents and I are a bit worried. To be honest, we almost cancelled this trip, because we planned on going to Boston and… well, you all know what happened in Boston not so long ago. I was a bit like “what should we do? Is it safe to go to the US? Shouldn’t we just visit another Canadian region we never saw?”. But, we finally decided to follow the original plan. Well, not exactly. Finally, we won’t be staying in Boston, but in Newport. However, we still plan to visit Boston, and also Cape Cod. So many things we want to see!

After that, we will be making all the road back to Quebec. It has been a long time since I went to Quebec City and I really wanted to see it again, so we will be spending a week there. After that… well, it will almost be the end of our trip. We will probably stay either in Ottawa or Montreal.

And you, what are you doing this summer? Have you any trip planned? Let me know!

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Be Careful is a Must Know Rule

Paris has a very efficient public transport service. I don’t deny it. But I’ve been living in this city for a few years, and there are things I learnt that might be useful for you.

I was watching a documentary yesterday about the violence in Paris’ underground, and I was astonished by how common it is nowaday. I, myself, witnessed a few violent events like this, but thought it was rather rare. Well, it isn’t.

Here are some basic rules that can help you protect your stuffs:

-> Never keep cash in any accessible pocket. Nor wallet. Nor anything of value. Way too dangerous. The best way to carry cash or papers with you would be to put everything of value in an inside pocket (can I say it? Well, somewhere people can’t access without opening your coat.). I know cash belts exist as well, it can be very convenient.

-> Don’t use your phone. This is obvious but many of us tend to use our phones during travel and you should NOT do that. That’s how thieves choose their next victim. They spot the phone and then follow you discretly until there is an opportunity for them to steal it. Remember that they can be very violent. If you find yourself in a situation where you are trapped by a group of thieves, don’t resist, give them what they want and ask for help as soon as possible to an agent of the RATP.

-> If you use a backpack, hold it in front of you, not on your back.

-> If possible, don’t carry your camera around your neck. You had think it’s pretty safe because they can’t steal it easily, but as I said, they can be pretty violent and might not hesitate to hit you if they want it. And carrying your camera this way really identify you as a tourist, which makes you a potential target.

-> If you feel someone getting a little too close, be twice as careful. Move.

If you are Asian, it is even more important to be aware of all of this. It’s sad, but it is really really true that Asians are their favourite victims. Often, Asian tourists carry a lot of cash as well as high tech phones and camera, and don’t speak a word of French or English, so they usually won’t go to the police. My Korean friend (who does speak French AND English well) had her stuffs (phone, wallet…) stolen twice. You can NEVER be too careful.

Even doing all of this, there is still a risk that someone steals you something. If that’s the case, immediately go talk to an agent of the RATP. They will help you. They might not speak English, so here are some sentences you can use to explain your problem. They will understand what happened and provide the best help they can:

-> Someone stole my phone: On m’a volé mon téléphone (international phonetic alphabet: {ɔ̃ ma vɔle mɔ̃ telefɔn})

-> Someone stole my wallet: On m’a volé mon portefeuille (international phonetic alphabet: {ɔ̃ ma vɔle mɔ̃ pɔʀtəfœj})

-> I don’t speak French: Je ne parle pas français (international phonetic alphabet {ʒə nə paʀl pɑ fʀɑ̃sε})

If you think of any other sentence you might need, please ask!

I was going to go on with indecent behaviour some men have here, but it’s worth an article on its own, so that will wait a bit.

Avoid using your phone, do not tempt pickpocket and everything should be fine. If you are careful, you will be able to enjoy your trip a lot better!

005Arch of Triumph

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