Friday, June 12, 2009

Paris, Packed

Finished my week in Paris. Last day was chock full of interesting interviews--the J-5 types, Min of Defense aides and strategists. I need to type the notes into my laptop, but am procrastinating. I think I have a decent but not perfect grasp of France's military policies in Afghanistan. Still some holes and conflicting views, but some interesting contrasts with Canada and US.

Some last observations as I prepare for Berlin:
  • I am still lame, but got by ok. Definitely an increase in English-speakers and comfort with English in Paris since my last visit 22 years ago.
  • Indeed, favorite ad of the week was a series of posters in the metro for English lessons "Arretez le Massacrer du Anglais" with a cop or wounded person.
  • Parisians were certainly not as rude as their reputation. People were very helpful most of the time.
  • The food selection seemed more diverse, or my willingess to notice diversity has changed. Had Korean and Moroccan in addition to various kinds of French food. Only deviation--one cone of Ben and Jerry's this evening at the Sacre Coeur Cathedral.
  • Berlin may be easier in some ways (they expect people not to know German) but harder in others--really don't know German at all. Never been to Berlin, but spent several days in Munich a long time ago and a few days in Stuttgart as part of my year on the Joint Staff (US Army HQ Europe).

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