For those of you who have been wondering why there have not been any new posts in awhile, there’s a simple explanation. I’ve been on the road. The road, of course, is up above the tree line at around 35,000 feet. We boarded a plane at 10:30 in the morning in Melbourne and touched down seven hours later in Singapore. That was the short flight, a mere preliminary for the long haul– Singapore to Paris.

When you live in a country that is its very own continent, you soon get used to the idea that going anywhere (even at 800 kms an hour) is going to take awhile. The long haul would take 13 hours, putting us into Charles de Gaulle airport just in time for early morning rush hour into the City. We were zombies.

I had arranged to rent a studio apartment in the Marais district so we would have room to stretch out and be able to eat some meals chez nous. It was only marginally less expensive than a hotel, but there were other amenities. It was comfortable, quiet, and cooking even a handful of meals saved us a small fortune. Such is the strength of the Euro. The food shops in the area were amazing and the cat across the courtyard was better than any gargoyle.

We settled into the old building and lugged groceries up the well- worn oak staircase. We wandered the streets and hit the major museums, stumbling across fascinating exhibits at every one. A show about Babylon at the Louvre, Louise Bourgeois at the Pompidou, Lovis Corinth at the Orsay, Les Femmes du Monde at the Palais de Chaillot and Georges Rousse at the new Maison Europeene de la Photographie, within walking distance from our flat. Check out his work sometime. Post modern trompe d’oeil.

My wife managed to pull herself away from the art just long enough to attend the conference which was the ostensible reason for our trip. I could hardly contain my jealousy when she described her evening at Versailles. It was one of the perks that had tempted me, even at $600. Louis XIV was the Sun King, after all, and watching the yellow orb descend on the long reflecting pool while dancers in 18th century costumes bring in fine food and wine… Everyone should live like a king at least once, n’est-ce pas?

Thanks to one of the organizers, I was able to enjoy the evening with the participants on one of the Bateaux Mouches night cruises. The music, food and wine were excellent, and the sights weren’t bad either. The highlight of the trip for me was almost free– a visit to the rose gardens in the Bois de Boulogne. It was breathtaking. We stopped and smelled so many we were practically swooning.

All good things come to an end. We took off June 1 for Montreal and a backtrack flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We are now comfortably spread out in the old Stewart house, our home away from home on the other side of the world. There are horses in the pasture and blossoms on the apple trees; all’s right with the world.

Stay tuned.

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