Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scouting France

For the next few days, I'll try to keep this blog up so that interested folks can travel along with Br. Roch and myself as we scout locations for a video project this coming summer.

Background: About six months ago, I'd approached Br. Gerard Rummery in Australia about doing a video in France that would follow in the footsteps of our Founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. He expressed his interest in it, offering to write the script and designate the locations. Providentially, Br. Roch had the time available to participate, since he is the key component in terms of shooting the video, editing it, and directing the technical parts of the project. And finally, the U.S. Visitors and administration approved the project and we moved ahead.

On Easter Sunday morning, I flew down to LA to meet up with Roch and we boarded the Air France flight to Paris. Our seats in economy were pretty tight, and I must say that sleeping in such a seat is a challenge, but we both survived pretty well. In Paris itself, we arrived at 11 AM. For only the second time, I used my Dutch passport (having dual citizenship now) and breezed through customs. Then we went here, there, and everywhere in pursuit of our car rental agency but finally connected, powered up our GPS, and drove into Paris. The GPS took us through Paris itself instead of on the freeways that surround the city. While Roch admired the scenery and announced highlights along the way, I simply concentrated on keeping from getting killed by the crazy drivers. Doing that, while using the manual transmission kept me pretty much occupied until we arrived at Rue de Sevres, where we would stay tonight. As it happens, today is the second Easter Day holiday, so the city was pretty quiet and traffic wasn't bad (so people said).

At the Brothers' place on Rue de Sevres, we were welcoming by several of the Brothers and settled into our rooms. The scene outside my bedroom window is one of the pictures here. (Clicking on each picture will bring up the larger version.) After dinner with the Brothers, Roch and I took the Metro to Champ Elisee where we wanted its length to the Arch of Triumph at the end. Then we walked to the Eiffel Tower to get in the sights before starting our work tomorrow. All of that took several hours, but it was great to see all the people out walking this late at night (9 PM to about midnight). We finally returned around midnight and went right to bed.

I must say that one of the pleasures of a good bed at the end of 18+ hours of travel is lying there and thinking how much more comfortable a real bed it when compared to a tight airplaned seat that doesn't lean back very far.

But I suppose I shouldn't really complain. I'm in Paris, after all.