June 8-13, 2003

random trip report

My colleague Franck, at the Universite Paris - Sud, asked me to serve on the thesis committee of his student Gilles.

The flight over was rough. My seat was in a bulkhead row, next to a Chinese woman with two kids, 18 months and 3 years. The woman was very pleasant, the kids were not: the younger (a girl) much prefered crying to sleeping, and she may be destined for stardom in the Chinese opera. Whatever hopes of sleep I might have had were drowned out by her doleful aria.

Franck met me at CDG. It was a beautiful, warm day. We drove into Paris, parked near the Opera, had lunch, and took a long-ish walk through the Tuilleries. Franck had moved my hotel reservation from Paris to a Novotel near Orsay because of an impending transportation strike; ironically, there was an outdoor exhibit of French railroad cars along the Champs d'Elysses.

The next day I got a private English version of the defense. That evening, together with our colleague Henri, we ate at a Corsican restaurant in Paris (Henri and Franck both have connections to Corsica).

Henri and I gave talks, and we heard the defense (Gilles passed). Unfortunately I came down with a cold and was a little out of it. That evening I returned to Paris with Henri (trains were running again) and collapsed in my hotel room.

The next day I called in sick. I managed to get some cold medicine, and stumbled weakly along Ave. St. Michele up to the Seine, visiting Sainte Chapelle, which was impressive in a Gothic sort of way. Then I tottered back to the hotel and watched soccer on TV for several hours. Inexplicably, one channel was running a multilingual add for the lease of a radio telescope.

Franck and students came in for dinner. We had a great time and I started feeling better. The flight back, other than my almost getting bumped, was uneventful.

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