Friday, December 31, 2010

An expatriate’s guide for watching Hollywood movies in France



France has a delayed start for most of Hollywood movies. The exceptions are the movies released with much fanfare. Going to the movies is a different experience in France. If you are not careful, you will end seeing a Hollywood movie dubbed in French. At the same time, it is not difficult to find your way around. And I hope the following checklist helps you.

  1. Choosing the right version of your movie. On the billboard, the names of the movies are followed by VO or VF. VF indicates French version while VO indicates the original version. So, you should choose your Hollywood movie displaying VO.
  2. Release day for a new movie. In France, the new movies are released on Wednesday instead of Friday! If you are movie buff, it is a convenient day. Being the middle of week, it is not crowded.
  3. Arriving for the movie. This is tricky. They movie starts 20 minutes after the show time displayed on the billboard. The first 20 minutes is dedicated to commercials. The previews of upcoming movies are omitted. So, you can safely reach the auditorium after 15 minutes but for one thing. The seating is based on first-come-first-serve basis!
  4. Prepare yourself for the annoying subtitles. Most of Hollywood movies are listed as VOST; VO for original version and ST for sub titles (in French!). There is no escaping this!
  5. Buying the ticket. Before you buy the ticket online or over the counter, there is one important thing to remember. The tickets are very costly. On the brighter side, there are many deals on the ticket. You can buy a bunch of 5 tickets at less than half the price for each ticket. You can purchase an unlimited card for a nominal amount(which is almost equivalent to Netflix rates!) and see as much movies as time permits.

Picture Courtesy: http://www.artsjournal.com

Tags: Travel,Hollywood,France

Monday, December 27, 2010

Movie Review: Megamind



When his home planet is destroyed, an eight day old alien is dispatched to earth along with Minion(David Cross). His journey to earth coincides with that of another alien kid. During the flight to earth, both their lives are intertwined and shows the first signs of conflict. While the former lands in a correctional facility, the latter ends up in a rich home. Another quirk of fate lands both of them in the same school. At school, the former is treated with contempt because of his blue color and an oversized head while the latter is treated with reverence. All attempts by the former to blend in goes haywire. The former decides to adopt the life of a supervillain while latter becomes a superhero. At adulthood, the former is named Megamind(Will Ferrell) while the latter is named Metro Man(Brad Pitt). All attempts of Megamind to thwart the peace of the city named Metro City is thwarted by Metro Man.

When Metro City is celebrating the success of Metro Man, Megamind breaks out of the jail with the help of Minion and kidnaps news reporter Roxanne Ritchi(Tina Fey) right under the eyes of her cameraman Hal Stewart(Jonah Hill). Using Roxanne as a bait, Megamind traps Metro Man inside the city observatory. As the city observatory has copper covering, Metro Man is unable to break free. He dies in the death ray created by Megamind. Without Metro Man to check him, Megamind unleashes chaos in the Metro City. Very soon, the initial elation turns to disappointment. In order to restore peace in the city, Megamind decides to create a superhero from the powers of Metro Man. He injects the power accidentally into Hal. Meanwhile, Megamind impersonates as a museum curator Bernard to conceal his identity from Roxanne and eventually falls in love with Roxanne. All the best laid plans goes berserk!

Tom McGrath directs this animated movie. Despite interesting 3D work and a modest dose of lessons for the young viewers, the movie ends up as only watchable. The protagonist needs an antagonist for effective drama. When the Metro Man dies, there is no antagonist and Megamind loses aim in life. Subsequently, he descends into sorrow. It is in this phase, the movie becomes boring. As for a bad leaf turning good, we have watched this numerous times on the screen before.

If there is nothing else to do, take your kids to the movie. They will enjoy the 3D effects!

Language: English

Genre: Animation

Rating: **

Tags: Movies,Will Ferrell,Tina Fey,David Cross,Brad Pitt,Tom McGrath,Animation

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Books: At Home



Bill Bryson stumbles across a secret door leading to a rooftop space with a magnificent view of the village from his residence in Norfolk. This also makes Bill to see his home in a different light. On musing, house is where the history ends up. Hence, Bill writes a novel exploring the phenomenon named home. During this journey, Bill explores all the rooms inside his Norfolk home - the hall, the kitchen, the scullery and larder, the fusebox, the drawing room, the dining Room, the cellar, the passage, the study, the garden, the plum room, the stairs, the bedroom, the bathroom, the dressing room, the nursery and attic. He spares none.

The major drawback of the book is the lack of structure. The contents of the books are the various rooms mentioned above. A glance at the contents is enough to realize how challenging it is to tell a story connecting these different elements. Bill takes us from one room to another. But, he fails to build a structure inside each chapter on the room. As a result, some of the chapters deals with the evolution in a structured way while others tends to be a sprinkling of anecdotes.

Despite the lack of structure, what surprises a reader is the painstaking research undertaken to write this book. The research combined with Bill’s witty language makes this a pleasant read. The clever usage of adjectives to describe decades and centuries of history brings out a smile on the reader’s lips. The book may appear intimidating because of the size. More than 25% of the book is dedicated to Bibliography.

Forget the structural deformities. Take up the book. You will surely be surprised.

Picture Courtesy: www.amazon.com

Tags: Books,Bill Bryson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Notre Dame de Paris



My first ever reference to this place was Victor Hugo’s epic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I don’t remember how old I was at that point. I may have been stepping into teenage at that point in time. I always shied away from classics. They were big books and devoid of pictures! If Paico had not come out with an illustrated version of the classic, I wouldn’t have read it. On second thoughts, if they had not come out with an illustrated version of the popular epics, I would have neither known or read them. Standing in front of the church where the events unfolded in the novel, I was a bit disappointed. It is really a small church; smaller than what I imagined.

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There is no entrance fees for visiting the church. When the service is in progress, you can walk around the transept. The church has high ceilings. Under the high ceilings, even the priest conducting the sermon appears miniscule. After admiring the ceilings and mortals beneath it, you suddenly realize the power of the church. Add the reverberating chants of the priests and the smell emanating from the smoking pot. It is a humbling experience.

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The right walls are lined with confessionals. The only difference (from what I have watched in countless Malayalam movies) is the glass around the confessional. You can see the priest and also the confessor. But my guess is it is soundproof glass. So, you can’t hear a thing outside!

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I visited on a Sunday. The service was in progress. There were many tourists walking along the side of the main prayer area, enjoying the painting and clicking pictures. The noise levels were up. In spite of this, the service went on. The priests and the worshippers were at peace with this arrangement. The ability to pray depends on how focused you are and not on your surroundings! I have heard and read this before. But it took me a visit to Notre Dame to experience it!

Tags: Movies,Travel,Notre Dame,Paris

Monday, December 20, 2010

360 degree view of Avenue des Champs-Elysees



Avenue des Champ-Elysees is one of the most beautiful avenue in the world. The French say so. I’m still undecided. Even though I was not able to cover the entire 2 km stretch, I got out of the Metro when it stopped at station named Champs Elysees-Clemenceau. I emerged in front of Grand Palais after I took the exit.

There were many shops on both sides of the streets selling fashion accessories to gastronomic pleasures. Both sides of the streets were lined with well tended horse-chestnut trees. They were lights on these trees; probably because of the Christmas spirit. Since it snowed on throughout Saturday and early morning of Sunday, the sidewalks were wet and covered with slush. This make walking difficult.

See the videos taken during daylight and night showing a glimpse of the Avenue.

Tags: Travel,Videos,Champs Elysees

Friday, December 17, 2010

Musee du Louvre



Anyone who has read or seen “The Da Vinci Code” is familiar with this museum. The story starts here although the movie might have used other museums for interior shots. There are multiple ways of reaching this museum; cabs being least preferred while public transport the most opted. If you are using Metro, then you can walk right into the lower levels of the museum where there is an entrance near the famous inverted pyramid. If you walking into the museum from the ground level, then you use the new modified entrance which is shaped like a pyramid. You will also the see the arch in front of the museum. From the arch, you can also have a glimpse of Eiffel tower if the weather permits.

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The museum charges a fee for access. But on the first Sundays of the month, the entrance fees are waived off. This is the case with all museums in Paris. Musee du Louvre consists of mainly three wings – Denon, Sully and Richelieu. It is difficult to cover all the three wings on the same day. One of my recent acquaintances remarked, “It was huge and we had to run to cover the entire museum”. The emphasis was on the word “cover”. He did not use the word “see”. If you are only interested in seeing the smiling chick, then go to the Denon wing. The chick comfortably rests on a wall in this wing; smiling tirelessly at the passers by. After spending 4 hours in the museum, I couldn’t even cover even the Denon wing. Fortunately for me, there will be other first Sundays of the month!

Art lover or not, you should go for the audio tour guide that is available at the lower level. It costs you 6 Euros. But the guide gives you a detailed description of the paintings – the styles, the history and comparisons. It was very useful for me. I discovered a lot of new things with the audio tour guide.

One of the most important discovery was the word “commission”. Till then, I was under the impression these great painters painted first. Selling was the next step. But it did not work that way. They were always commissioned to do a painting. So, in effect, the person who commissioned paid the expenses toward the painting.

Most of the earlier paintings are biblical. If the Bible could inspire so many artists, then it is indeed the greatest story ever told. But then, most of these paintings were commissioned by a church or someone related to the church. But one painting stood apart. It was painted by Raphael and titled La belle jardiniere. It has Madonna, infant Jesus and also infant Saint John the Baptist. The infant Jesus tries to pick the black book resting on Madonna’s lap. As this book contains the fate of Jesus, Madonna prevents Jesus in reaching and subsequently reading the book while Saint John the Baptist looks on. It is a very simple yet powerful depiction of a mother’s affection and concern for her offspring’s happiness.

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Raphael also brings in another surprise. At his peak, he had many assistants working for him. He designs and the assistants execute. But it is hard to find the difference between his real work and that of his assistant’s. There goes the myths about outsourcing, mass production and possibly assembly line for highly technical work. Is he one of the pioneers?

The museum also houses the first commission of Leonardo Da Vinci titled La Vierge aux rochers. It is different from the colorful representations from the earlier eras. It might have been placed strategically to evoke emotions in the viewers. But when you walk past the painting, you immediately realize one thing. The painter has played with colors to give a strikingly different look than his contemporaries and predecessors.

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Both Raphael and Da Vinci were Italian painters. The other discoveries were two French painters. The first was Delacroix and the painting was that of the liberty leading the people. Why is liberty depicted as a woman? Why do everyone define freedom as feminine? I always wonder! It was not liberty or the naked bust that caught my eyes. It was the small boy with two pistols. That pose will put even Sergio Leone to shame. The second painter is Gericault and the painting named La Radeau de la Meduse. Based on a contemporary event, this painting ruffled feathers in Paris. Moreover, Delacroix was inspired by Gericault. The figures in both the painting are shaped like a pyramid in addition to several shared characteristics.

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Tags: Travel,Musee Du Louvre,Raphael,Da Vinci,Gericault,Delacroix

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Review: The Tourist



In the streets of Paris, Interpol officers led by Inspector John Acheson(Paul Bettany) are monitoring the moves of Elise Clifton Ward(Angelina Jolie). Elise, aware of being watched, casually strolls through the streets and ends up in a cafe. At the cafe, she receives a letter from Anthony Pearce. Pearce is her lover who is a fugitive. In the letter, Pearce asks Elise for a second chance. In order to throw the police off his track, he also instructs her to board a particular train from a particular station and pick up a random stranger matching his height and weight. After reading the letter, Elise burns it and walks out of the restaurant. The police are able to retrieve only the ashes.

Chief Inspector Jone(Timothy Dalton) is furious at Acheson for spending a lot of money in pursuit of Pearce. Despite his superior closing down the operation, Acheson is still on it and meticulously reconstructs the message from the ashes. He finds about the train and the station. Meanwhile, Elise boards the train which is departing for Venice. She befriends a tourist named Frank Tupelo(Johnny Depp), a math teacher from US, much to the bewilderment of the latter. When the train approaches Venice, Acheson reconstructs the entire message. He understands Frank is being used as a decoy and asks his team in Italy to stand down. In Venice, Elise invites Frank into her hotel room. Now with Acheson closely watching Elise and Pierce’s enemies hunting for Frank, the vacation turns out to be an adventurous one for Frank. What happens to Elise and Pierce is told in the rest of the movie.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck directs this thriller which is a remake of the French movie Anthony Zimmer. But the director fails to thrill the audience in spite of a great star cast, excellent performers and beautiful locations. The background music by James Newton Howard increases the tempo during the escape scenes. Barring the music, there is nothing great about those scenes. The rooftop chases in Venice looks like a shoddy job done in the back lot of a studio. There is focus on Elise explaining her relationship with Pearce. She is attracted to him and also frustrated by his mysterious ways. This is when the initially promising thriller goes south. Then, it never recovers!

There is nothing to write about the performances.

You can watch it on DVD if you have run out of choices. The movie amuses in parts. As a whole, it fails.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: **

Tags: Movies,Johnny Depp,Angelina Jolie,Paul Bettany,Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck,Thriller

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Movie Review: The Next Three Days



The quiet and happy life of John Brennan(Russell Crowe) is disrupted when his wife Lara Brennan(Elizabeth Banks) is arrested on charges for murdering her boss. For the past three years, John has fought a losing legal battle to clear the criminal charges on Lara and also taken care of their son Luke while Lara has been serving her sentence of 20 years in a Pittsburg jail. All the evidences are against Lara. But, John is still convinced of her innocence. In spite of being warned by his lawyer friend, John appeals to the Supreme Court. But both John and Lara are thunderstruck when Supreme Court rules against Lara.

Determined to free his wife from the prison at any cost, John researches and find Damon Pennington(Liam Neeson) who has successfully escaped from prison on multiple occasions. Based on the inputs from Damon, John painstakingly devises several plans to break his wife out of the prison. Soon, John is obsessed by this idea. His focused approach and quirky interactions with the outside world is soon noticed by his dear ones, his acquaintances and also the law enforcement officials. Will John succeed to break Lara out of the jail? This forms the rest of the story.

Paul Haggis directs this movie which is a remake of the French film titled Pour Elle. The movie is an engrossing watch as the focus is on John – his emotional turbulence and his planning skills – and not on the escape. Paul’s treatment make us empathize with the main protagonist’s predicament. The story is not about a super heroic escape but about executing a simple plan.

Russell Crowe delivers a memorable and astounding performance as John Brennan. Russell’s John is a professor at a community college, trying to bring up a child alone and fighting for his wife. The tribulations and temptations can be seen clearly on Russell’s face and body. Even the unstable state of mind is clearly depicted by Russell. The scenes to watch out for his performance are when the first plan goes haywire, when he backs out of his initial plan to obtain money and when a single mother approaches him for courtship. Russell gives out an exemplary performance that overshadows the neatly written yet short role of Brian Dennehy. The other performances are good. But Russell steals the show.

Recommended.

Language: English

Genre: Drama

Rating: ***

Tags: Movies,Russell Crowe,Elizabeth Banks,Brian Dennehy,Paul Haggis,Drama

Sunday, December 12, 2010

360 degree view from the entrance of Notre Dame de Paris



This was shot at the entrance of Notre Dame de Paris.

Tags: Travel,Videos,Notre Dame,Paris

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Movie Review: RED



Frank Moses(Bruce Willis) is a retiree who lives alone in a quiet neighborhood. He often talks on the phone with Sarah(Marie-Louise Parker), a customer service agent living in Kansas City and working for the pension office. Sarah does not like her stationary job and often dreams of an adventurous life with spies, chases and traveling. So far, Frank and Sarah have not met in person. Knowing her interests in romantic novels, Frank ends up reading the same novels as Sarah.

One night, Frank’s house is broken into by armed men. Frank effortlessly kills all of them. Then he travels to Kansas City to pick up Sarah as he fears her life is also in danger. When Sarah gets back home from a dinner date, she is surprised to see Frank in her house. Sarah is suspicious of Frank’s mental stability and is not ready to listen to Frank’s arguments. So, Frank abducts her and travels to an undisclosed location. During the journey, Frank confesses about his true nature of job. He had retired from CIA.

Now, Frank and Sarah embarks on an adventure, traveling to many cities in the US and meeting some of the former colleagues of Frank – Joe Black(Morgan Freeman), Marvin Boggs(John Malkovich) and Victoria(Helen Mirren). Meanwhile, the CIA has assigned William Cooper(Karl Urban) to track Frank and Sarah. In order to stay one step ahead of the hunter, Frank has to make peace with his onetime enemy Ivan Simanov(Brian Cox) who is a Russian. The rest of the story tells us why CIA is after Frank and how Frank outwits them.

This action movie, which is inspired by the eponymous comic book series, is directed by Robert Schwentke. Despite having a dream cast, Robert fails in providing an entertaining watch. The movie slows down during the hunt due to the conversations and speeds up during the action scenes. The action pieces are scattered around the movies and are very few.

Bruce Willis as Frank Moses has nothing to offer. Morgan Freeman’s Joe Black fails to evoke any emotion in the viewer. John Malkovich’s Marvin Boggs is funny. But we have seen similar eccentric roles in John’s career before. Helen Mirren as Victoria is excellent. Who would have thought the dame to handle a sniper rifle and a machine gun? Yet, she gracefully handles them both; killing opponents without much effort. Helen in a white dress and a black boots firing an automatic weapon paints a pretty picture. Her best lines are already in the movie trailers. But, it is still fun to watch her explain what she does for a living to Sarah in one simple sentence. Mary-Louise Parker evokes laughter in the way she reacts to the veterans. Karl Urban as William Cooper impresses despite having a miniscule role. Devoid of his customary facial hair and dressed in business suits, he proves that he can play the part perfectly while looking the part. Ernest Borgnine features in the a short role as the Records keeper and brings in a lot of nostalgia for an avid movie buff.

Watch it on DVD for the dream cast. Brace yourself for disappointment.

Language: English

Genre: Action

Rating: **

Tags: Movies,Bruce Willis,Marie-Louise Parker,Morgan Freeman,John Malkovich,Helen Mirren,Brian Cox,Ernest Borgnine,Robert Schwentke,Action

Friday, December 10, 2010

The boy who doesn’t eat rice



A recent addition to my list of friends is a young person who doesn’t eat rice. He jogs every evening which is not a great thing to boast about if you do not take the chilling winter into consideration. Despite the weather, he jogs in the park after coming back from work. So, I attributed his aversion to rice to healthy eating habits. But the real reason came out during a conversation fuelled by moderate dosage of alcohol.

He and his brother were only an year apart because of which his mother went through a hard time coping with two active boys in the house. So, his mother asked his grandparents for help. They relented. As a result, my friend moved in with his grandparents and spent his growing up years there. Grandparents being grandparents, he was treated like a king. He never had to lay a finger on rice. He was fed by them. He never had to dirty his hands!

Now, he hates dirtying his hands. That is the real reason behind the aversion. So, he doesn’t eat rice. He eats rice only while visiting India on vacation where his grandparents or parents or aunts feed him by their hands.

Picture Courtesy: http://www.lilsugar.com 

Tags: Musings,Rice,Aversion

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

vous parle anglais?



vous parle anglais? This is the pidgin equivalent of “Do you speak English” which is climbing up my charts as the most frequently used French sentence. And it is turning out to be very effective in enlisting help. I came across this phrase by chance when I overheard a friend interacting with a French speaking person. The friend in question immediately got a positive response in broken English. So, I decided to ask and learn this magic sentence by heart.

Now, this is the first question I ask whenever I approach someone for help. I get two kinds of responses. Most common is a shrug followed by the words “a little”. For everything, the French has a shrug accompanying their sentence. I wonder why. The second response is a gesture by using the thumb and index finger indicating “a little”.

From that moment onwards, it is very easy. You ask them the real question haltingly with emphasis on the verbs aided by gesticulating hands. This always yields the answers you are looking for.

If you are going to France, this phrase will come in handy. So far, I have not encountered anyone who answered in negative!

Tags: Musings,France,Magic Sentence

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mona Lisa – The smiling chick



The chick has an awesome smile. No doubt about it! Mona Lisa also known as La Jaconda is an enigma. The art historians and art lovers write volumes about Leonardo Da Vinci’s smiling chick. I wanted to see her mainly because of brouhaha generated around the smiling chick. Forget the geometric magnificence and the merging borders. That is beyond me!

Mona Lisa is a highly publicized artwork. This is quite evident in it’s current resting place, Musee du Louvre. In the Denon wing of the museum, there are printed papers with arrows, hung at key places, to direct the visitors to the painting. There were visitors who in a hurry (futilely trying to complete the tour of the entire museum in a day) asking for directions to her. They sounded as if this is the only piece they wanted to see in this museum.

Mona Lisa rests under a protective sheet of glass. She is also separated from the visitors by a wider security perimeter. There are museum officials around this perimeter safeguarding her from visitors. When you enter this room, there is a big crowd in front of the painting. There are also a few stray visitor admiring other pieces of work hanging in the room. I have taken pictures of the videos of the room. As for the picture of Mona Lisa, I do not have a good shot. But, you will find many good pictures of her on the net.

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Ironically, the biggest painting in the Louvre hangs across Mona Lisa. This a painting “Les Noces de Cana” by Paolo Caliari dit Veronese. But this giant painting is dwarfed by the smiling chick.

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Tags: Travel,Videos,Mona Lisa,Leonardo Da Vinci,Musee du Louvre

360 degree view from the entrance of Musee de Louvre



This was shot from the entrance of Musee du Louvre.

Tags: Travel,Videos,Musee Du Louvre

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The first glimpse of Eiffel Tower



This was taken from the arch in front of Musee du Louvre, Paris. But I have not seen it close yet.

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Tags: Travel,Eiffel Tower

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Responding to a fire alarm in an underdressed state



Around 2230 hrs on Thursday, I was changing into my sleepwear when I heard a non-stop ringing sound in the hotel corridor. Early to bed, early to rise. That was the plan I had intended to follow. The ringing sound threw a spanner on it. As time progressed, the ringing sound was accompanied by wild shouting in an unidentifiable Asian language and banging of doors. I live in the second floor of a hotel which is predominantly occupied by Asians. When I came out of the room for assessing the situation, everyone was running towards the stairs. So, I grabbed a pullover and a slip-on reluctantly. I also took my empty laptop bag which contained my passport. Then, I joined the multitude on their way to the ground floor.

By the time I reached the ground floor, a crowd consisting of the hotel guests had gathered in the lobby. Some looked like as if they just returned from work with laptops slung over their shoulder. Other were holding their laptops in their hands. The latter group might have dashed towards the ground floor when the alarm sounded. Kids were running around the lobby. Amongst the crowd, I felt naked in my underdressed state suddenly. The chilling cold breeze from the opened doors were making matters difficult for me. To my relief, there were others in various states of undress; the majority of them were women. Some of them had covered themselves with a bathrobe before vacating their rooms. But I felt very happy seeing one particular lady. She had a camisole and a tiny shorts that hardly covered anything.

Her shorts were shorter than mine. She might have been feeling worse than me! Anyways, it was a false alarm. The entire crowd dispersed within minutes.

Tags: Musings,Alarm,Smoke,Naked

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Searching for route de la Demi-Lune



IMG00006-20101201-1255 How tough is it to find “route de la Demi-Lune”? It should be easy? With Google maps, there are seldom any undetectable landscapes in the urban regions. So is the case with any major city in India. If that is the case in India, your confidence of finding the destination in one of the hyperactive business districts of Paris is high. But, I struggled hard to find this street yesterday.

Standing top of the metro station, the first issue was whom to ask for directions. The cab driver was unable to help. His GPS was of no use in the La Defense maze. After burning away my precious Euros, he couldn’t find the place. After this, I walked on top of the underground railway station in the business district to find a suitable person to ask for directions. The information center was closed. The gullible passers by could not help, despite employing two different modes of communication – pidgin English and animated hand movements.

But help came from unexpected quarters – the cops. They directed to me the street. I found the signboard indicating the street after an hour of searching. Although there were buildings on both sides of the street, there were no entrances for walk-ins. I walked back to my newly acquired friends – the cops. They called up my office, found out the exact location along with the best way to reach there by walking and instructed me.

After two and a half hours of wandering, I walked into the office. All the while, I was in a business suit without any of the accessories needed to fight the freezing cold – gloves, muffler, overcoat. Luckily, the thermals were a life saver! Now, I’m lighter by a few Euros after getting all the necessary attire for the cold. But I still do not have the most important weapon – the cell phone!

Tags: Musings,Search,La Defense,Paris

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bonjour, Paris



After a never ending struggle for obtaining a work permit in France, I have finally reached Paris. Technically, I’m 5 kms away from Paris in a place called La Defense. But then, why bother on accuracy when I have already travelled more than 5000 kms to reach this place!

The French work permit turned out to be more challenging than any of my previous projects. The work permit has many different stages. First, I submit all the relevant documents along with the application form. These are translated to French before sending them across to the French authorities. Then, you play a waiting game. When the authorities revert, you set up a personal appearance at the local consulate. They stamp the visa on your passport. Voila! You are ready to travel.

Even at the outset, there were delays for me. After submitting the documents on time, there was a delay in sending the document for translation. The French authorities took time to respond. When the work permit was approved, my passport was found to be unsuitable for EU. When I got a new passport, the French consulate gave a personal appearance date that was 40 days away! When I appeared on that day, I was asked to go to a different embassy. So, I guess you get the drift. Finally, I’m here!

Tags: Musings,Work Permit,Paris

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