My month-long vacation in Europe is drawing to a close. In four days I’ll fly back to Phoenix, and it will be an exhausting trip. First, I plan to get to the Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris more than three hours in advance, because it has to be the world’s worst airport to navigate. Then, after an almost 12-hour flight to Los Angeles, I’ll have a seven-hour layover before my flight to Phoenix. I can’t sleep on planes, so I’ll be a walking zombie by the time I get home close to midnight Phoenix time. I can’t sleep on a plane or in an airport, so I expect to go about 27 hours with no sleep.
Walking was treacherous on many Paris sidewalks yesterday. I believe mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry that the night before I had walked from the subway station here to the hostel through slush. Overnight the slush froze into ice, which then began melting again yesterday. An icy sidewalk with a thin coat of water on top of it does not make for secure footing. At my age, I am not interested in taking a hard fall.
I read yesterday on a French news site that there are an estimated 400 unaccompanied children living on the streets of Paris in the cold. Most of them are immigrants who have become separated from their families. Not only are they suffering from the unusually cold Parisian nights, but there is fear that many of them are being exploited both sexually and for cheap labor in exchange for some warm food and a warm place to sleep.
The old bridge (or perhaps it looks more like s short tunnel) in the picture below is on a side street not far from where I am staying. It isn’t the sort of thing one would find in a residential neighborhood in an outlaying neighborhood in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.