Big entry – Barcelona – Paris – Doha

Forgot to post the pictures of my last day in Barcelona… went to the Picasso Museum but it was closed, so went to the Zoo instead 🙂

Zoo – Barcelona

Trip to Paris was uneventful… arranged with one of the few taxi drivers with a mini-van in Barcelona to pick me up in the morning… arrived 1 hour before my flight but fortunately the Air France check-in was empty and the whole procedure was swift… even to get the bags in Paris it was effortless.
I had to then face the decision of going into Paris by train, taxi or rent a car. Tried renting a car but because of the Air Show, all rental companies were sold out – well – could’ve gotten a BMW X5 for 250 Euros a day… hehehe… wouldn’t mind the car but the price was outrageous… the train, well… wasn’t so sure how close it would get to Philip’s apt and how many changes I would have to make, so went with the cab alternative.
The apt is in an AMAZING location – on Isle St. Louis right behind the Notre Dame! High ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and a great view of the river… not to mention the street musicians who played wonderful music throughout the day and night.
During the days there I went to the Pompidou where the highlight for me was a section with Philip Starck’s earliest works. Biked around to the Louvre, Champs Elise, Eiffel Tower, and St. Germain.
Always feel great in Paris… yesterday met with Andrea who came with some friends for the weekend in Paris… we went to the Picasso museum where you can see the full range of his work. In the morning I went to see a free exhibit at the Hotel de Ville about the life of Dalida – Egyptian born, French star who sang one of my favorite French songs – Parole Parole.
Here are some pictures of all of this:




Let’s start from the decision of going by train… ok… the train station was 4 blocks from Philip’s apt but in the hot sun, my heavy back pack and the bike case, I was completely wet by the time I got to the entrance. No escalators, so stumbled down then 2 flights of stairs down to the ticket office… 8 Euros sure beat 45 Euros on the cab… so I figured I’d eventually dry up in the air conditioning of the train… It was broken… so my continuous outpour continued for the next 45 minutes until I got to Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Up the stairs, down the elevator and into the airport tram… out the tram, up the escalators, into the wrong terminal… back down the escalators and back into the tram…
HUGE line at Qatar Airlines.
“What is this?”, asks the check-in lady.
“A bicycle…” I reply…
“Are the tires deflated?”
Open the case… unpack the bike… deflate the tires…
“You cannot take the bike… it’s too heavy.”
“What!? I have traveled from New York to Lisbon to Barcelona to Paris and NO problem… please call your manager.”
“How about your Visa!?”
“WHAT!!? The Qatar Embassy informed me that I would get it at the airport once I got into Qatar!!”
RUN to an internet terminal, email the hotel and they send me the visa… but where to print it!? Fortunately the Qatar Airline manager felt pity and allowed me to use the printer in his office AND take the bike for free!!
On the plane – yes – I am dry by now – and this girl from Malaysia on my right start chatting away with me… very nice girl but all I wanted to do was listen to my iPod and rest after all this “adventure”… at one point I just close my eyes and ignore her…
Over dinner I start talking to the girl on my left… this time a girl from Vietnam studying Graphic Design in Paris.
Brand new airplane – an Airbus with those individual screens where you can choose what film to watch and when. Got into it and ended up watching 2 movies and not sleeping… saw “The Number 23” – a little twisted and entertaining – then “Catch and Release” – ok for the plane.
Get to the airport… where is my bike!!!?
At this point I am actually thinking that it is a good thing that I don’t have to lug it around… plus I don’t think I am going to ride it here in Doha… the air is simply THICK with humidity – it was 30 degrees at 5 AM!! I don’t even want to know what the temperature outside is now.
In any case – get a cab to the hotel – arrive at 7 AM…
“I am sorry sir… but check-in is at 2 PM… I will do my best to get you a room… please go ahead and have some breakfast while we wait for someone to check out.”
I am NOT hungry… I am filthy… I am sleepy… but hey… what can you do…
By 11 AM I get to the room…
No free internet… have to pay for it…
Take a shower… the drain is clogged and the bathroom floods…
The room is nice though… the view… well… a construction site…
Saw some interesting boats on the way here… let’s see… going to rest today, probably just stay in and go to the pool… tomorrow I will take a look around town…
But hey… what am I complaining about right!? Vacations… traveling and living life 🙂

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