I'm not an everyday blogger... If I have something to say...this is where I will say it. You will also find links to my specialized blogs.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says... 'Oh shit....she's awake!!'

""Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!""
— Unknown

Monday, June 25, 2012

Paris 2012 Day 1

It has been 18 years since I was in Paris. It has always been one of my favorite cities so it is baffling why it has been so long. I can say that in many ways, it still feels the same. 

I hate CDG airport. There I've said it and I'm done. Oh wait, you want to know why? A 1/2 mile Passport Control line 4-5 people wide. Took an hour for non-EU passport holders to get through.

And, of course, it is raining in Paris. Not wanting to fight my luggage, a train and 2 Metro transfers, I chose the taxi...at rush hour...in the rain. Any way, I did eventually make it to the hotel.

I used Marriott points to stay at the Renaissance on the Right Bank near the Jarden des Tuileries. This is a great location. However, after staying in a hotel that was ~$70 per night in Bucharest, this SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive room is 1/3 the size of my room in Bucharest. Takes a little getting used to. But I'm sure I'll survive. 

So, I dropped my luggage off and headed out into the rain. My mission was dinner because I hadn't had anything to eat all day. Wiley from The Meadowlark Restaurant has given me two restaurant recommendations. Fish La Boissonnerie is the closest to the hotel so I head in that direction. FISH is on the Left Bank near Saint-Germaine des-Pres. While FISH is a haven for English speakers (one of the waitresses is from Waco, Texas), it is a great atmosphere and great food. There are no reservations so it is first come, first served. I was later told that it was helpful to arrive right at 7pm when they officially open. But the bar is definitely worth the wait for the people alone. While waiting at the bar, two couples were there chatting. I would have sworn they had been friends for a while. Turns out they met about an hour before. I met a Scottish couple who lives in Australia and visits Paris for 2 months each year; a couple from South Africa with 3 kids (18, 9, and 2 - Yikes); 3 women from Michigan; and a couple from Napa. 

Now it is the couple from Napa that will be of interest to my Passport to Dry Creek Napa Monday friends. They are from Coombsville...home of John "Coot" Caldwell whom they know and describe as a "mentor." Bob and Anne own Tournesol Wines. Visits to the winery are by appointment so you will be pleased to know that we have our first Napa Monday 2013 winery visit.

And then there was dinner. I  started with Salade de quinoa, julienne de legumes croquants, okras et coriandre [Quinoa salad, crunchy julienne vegetables, okra and coriander]. (And, yes honey, I ate the Okra...it was raw and good.)  That was followed with filet de cabillaud, risotto d'epeautre au poireau, bulots, beurre d'escargot [cod fillet, risotto with leeks, whelks, snail butter]. And for dessert, Chevre frais de chez Quatrehomme, figues fraiches et huile d'olive [goat cheese with figs and olive oil]. And the meal was served with their own wines.

 I love walking Paris, especially at night. Although, it is better when John is here with me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bucharest, Romania 2012

First, it is CRAZY hot here. Even the Romanians are commenting on how hot it is. Given that we walk everywhere...well, let's just say it is a challenge...even showering twice a day.

This is a business trip and I'm impressed by how great the team here in Romania have been to work with. Not only in the office but they have entertained us each night we have been here.

Although, I have to say the most interesting part of the trip has been traveling with 2 of DDD's Cambodians who had never traveled outside SE Asia. First, they have been very adventurous in their food experimentation and inquisitive. It has been very refreshing. They have been willing to try ALMOST everything. So far, they have been introduced to grilled squid, Irish Chicken and Beef pies, tuna tartare, Turkish food, Illy Espresso, Romanian wine, and limoncello. It has been great watching them try new things. The tuna tartare was a hit...not so much the limoncello. 

Tonight we had dinner at a GREAT little Italian place. I almost didn't stop because there were only 3 people in the restaurant. But we took a look at the menu and the guys wanted seafood after gorging themselves on meat all week. So after they demolished all the bread while I was trying to decide on a wine, I ordered Tuna Tartare to start and had the Seafood Risotto based on the recommendation of our waiter. Both were excellent! Heak had the Grilled Squid with brocolli and Meakara had the grilled prawns with spinach. I'm assuming that they liked it because they both finished their meals. For dessert, I had the apple tart and an Illy espresso, Heak had the assortment of ice cream (Vanilla, Chocolate, and Rum - which had some fruit that I couldn't identify but which was very good). The waiter brought us the Limoncello as a digestif which Heak did not like at all. 

Tomorrow we play tourist. We are taking the tour bus around to see the city before the Cambodians, a Romanian, and a German head to Phnom Penh tomorrow night. I'm almost sorry I will miss the rest of the trip.

Heak taking a photo of Meakara

European soccer EVERYWHERE!

Under the Romanian National Bank

Street scene - Bucharest City Centre

 Street Scene - Bucharest City Centre

Lots of Banks in Bucharest