Saturday, November 22, 2008

Petersens in Paris

With all the baby action unfolding thousands of miles away back in California, it was good to have the Petersens here in Paris this weekend. It was cold and windy around the city today but we went out and did some of the sights anyway.

Paris just does this to people ...

Justice as a mujahideen:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A quand un Obama ici?

I didn't have my camera with me at the time to capture the visual evidence, so you'll just have to trust me when I say that I saw that grafitti scrawled in Les Halles metro station this evening. Basically, it means:
When will there be an Obama here?
A number of people have asked me what it's been like to observe the U.S. presidential election from Paris. That grafitti captures the experience: America has inspired Parisians. And my feelings have been pride and relief.

I am proud of the American electorate for taking a huge step in racial equality and moving from the "don't do what I do, do what I say" position to the "do what I do" position.

I am relieved because America resumed its role as an inspirational leader in the world. The fact is, we have not played that role in several years. Seeing it again now, I realize that I expect it of us. And when it went missing, there was a vacuum in global leadership.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Long Week

This was one of those Sunday-to-Friday travel weeks. I'm home now but too mentally fatigued to say anything cogent. So for now, here are some photos from the trip.




Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Saints Day

Actually, these photos are from the day after All Saints Day. And there's nothing like a stroll through Montparnasse Cemetery for perspective. Or as that great philosopher David St. Hubbins said while standing at Elvis' grave, "Too much, there's too much [bleep]ing perspective now."

Parisiens take All Saints Day seriously - people go to the cemeteries and decorate graves, clean them up, pray, cry, grieve. It's a bit foreign to us Anglo-Saxons. A few days ago in our cultural training session, one of our instructors "insisted" [her word] that France is a Latin country. This was in response to my question that went something like, "Why do they call us Anglo-Saxons? Aren't we basically from the same genetic background?" And that led to a very interesting history lesson about Gauls and Romans and Francs and Norsemen and William the Conqueror and many others. Bottom line: no, the French are different. She insists.