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I travel a lot and I thought this was as good a time as any to start recording my thoughts on airports. I’ve developed a preliminary rating system for airports. I’ll probably see about 12 airports this year, so I think that will give me a good opportunity to get my thoughts about these strange, yet welcoming places down on…well, the blog.

Here is the rating system I’ve come up with:

Each amenity gets the airport a certain number of points. Points are based on the importance of the amenity. Of course different people have different views of the importance of what airports have to offer, but I tried to be as discriminating as I could. I think most heavy travellers would agree that I’ve chosen the most important things to be rated. But I’m welcome to suggestions!

Pittsburgh’s Score:

INTERNET (none =0, high cost = 1, low cost = 5, free =10): 10

CLEAN BATHROOMS WITHIN A 5 MINUTE WALK OF ANYWHERE IN THE TERMINAL: 8

MULTIPLE EATERIES (take out, sit down, regular bars, sports bars, coffee shops, etc.): 9

SHOPPING (quality of stores, price of non-luxury items, duty-free selection): 7

DRUG STORE (cvs, rite aid, duane read, etc…yes = 10, no = 0): 10

EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN TERMINALS (yes =10, no =0): 10

EASY TO FIND OUTLETS (yes = 10, no = 0):10

SECURITY (not too much, not too little, not too long a wait): 5

BAGGAGE CLAIM (not too long a wait, not too difficult to find):n/a

FRIENDLINESS OF STAFF: 9

total score: 78/90 (86.%)

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Sushi West is one of my favorite restaurants in Paris. It’s not authentic sushi, but more like nouveau-sushi. It’s also Kosher, which makes things interesting. Their food is really chic looking and tastes great. The only problem is that they have a booming take-out business and that sometimes makes them forget that there are people they need to serve in the restaurant. But I always forgive them for their mediocre service because they food is so original and so yummy! Check out some pictures below of their crazy good stuff below. And thanks Ibby for the treat!

Maya R. and JYC have been encouraging me to read Eckhart Tolle. I really wasn’t into him at first, but I feel like he is growing on me.

Being in a city makes it hard to think sometimes. But a lot of the time, it makes it hard for you NOT to think. You’re in the past or in the future…thinking about how you really should have done this or that, or how you’re really going to be late for work or practice or the doctor. The only time I feel like I’m in the NOW is when I’m complaining about something, which is not really productive in terms of appreciating things and accepting things as they are.

Anyway, I joined a group called Eckhart Tolle Paris.I was expecting an actual meeting this first time, but it was just meet-up for planning. I was disappointed because the next few Sundays I’m out of town and will have to miss the first few real sessions. Hopefully there will be another one before I go to NYC for Christmas!

In the future the group is going to listen and meditate and have light discussions about his ideas. Hopefully this will help me to listen to him more regularly, or at least during the meetings. It will definitely help me contemplate more, since we get a text a day by email. For me, even just 3 minutes of considering these thoughts is better than nothing. And I find myself saying things I didn’t before. Like, “Today, maybe I can ride the train without listening to my music. I can just zone out and not think. Maybe it will do me some good.” New thoughts like these might be a good thing, especially with all the noise and distraction of the city. It would be nice to get out into the country, but no music on the train is going to have to suffice for now.

Most people know that if I have the choice, I usually choose in. Especially in the winter in Paris. It’s not entirely unpleasant, especially on the warmer days, but in general staying in with some hot tea with milk or a book or a movie or a good IM chat or phone conversation is fine with me.

Tonight I briefly considered going out to the movies and seeing 2012, which I would like to see. But then I realized I could save the $15  and just find it online. I have something I think might be a really good copy downloading, but it might be a fake. Let’s hope it’s the real thing. To gear myself up for the movie, I’m watching the discovery channel mini-series called Nostradamus.

Some people think I’m crazy for staying in, especially when I live in a city like Paris. But I didn’t go out that much when I was in New York or New Jersey, and don’t we really just revert to our old ways, even if we live in exciting places?

I don’t know what it is about wanting a warm baguette on a cold day, but it seems like whenever it rains and it’s dreary and cold I find myself at the boulangerie ordering one. Today I had to stop myself from adding a croissant to that order. I was very proud of myself. When I got home, I holed myself up in the apartment, cranked up the heat and ate my chicken and cheddar sandwich (on the baguette).

This is a pretty boring entry. Sorry readers.

I have these new students that live right outside of Paris. They live so close that yesterday I walked to their place from mine, which is inside of the city, in less than 15 minutes. It’s a pleasant walk: past the Indian restaurant, the skyscraper hotel Meridian, the track….over the bridge (under which sits the ‘périfique’ highway that circles the city) and right up to their cute little street that looks like it came out of a movie set.

neuilly

neuilly

Neuilly (pronounced “nurr-yee”) was once presented to me as “the Beverly Hills of Paris”. I agree, but I think it’s slightly less posh. There are a lot of wealthy people who live there, but the wealth seems somehow contained…maybe it’s the lack of huge mansions. Anyway, I like Neuilly because it’s spick and span and looks like it belongs on a postcard. There are perfectly manicured gardens, cute streets with stores with little entrances and conveniently placed dog poop trash cans. There is also a really nice public pool with a slide and a lawn that functions as a beach in the summer.

President Sarkozy once talked down a man that called himself the “human bomb”, saving the town’s schoolchildren from a dangerous hostage situation.

Unfortunately, I rarely see black people who are not nannies in Neuilly.