Tag Archives: paris

The Panthéon, the Pendulum, and Paris.

I’ve been to Paris so many times on business, and always manage to squeeze in a little bit of tourism, even if it means doing the same thing for the umpteenth time. After the 15th anniversary of our French office, I had a few hours to spare before the next leg of my business itinerary, so I went to Panthéon of Paris!

Here, amongst many other things, you can see the Foucault pendulum with your own eyes. It was first put on public display for curious tourists and other citizenry… apparently back in 1851. There it is – that dangling thing:

It’s moving, see!

Read on…

K FR = 15!

The celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of our French office in Paris were lots of fun! But we start this story with a picture of the birthday cake from the 10th anniversary of our French office:

Why? To jog the memory – by going through my archives and photos I recalled all sorts of various stories. Like this hilarious one, which is probably hard to believe now. This is what happened.

It was back in the days when online banking was just getting started and serious cybercrime was only beginning to raise its ugly head; when people still had push-button Nokias and Sony Ericssons in their pockets and plane tickets were printed on paper (long sheets stitched together). It was November 2002, and me and a group of like-minded folks were about to head off to an important event in the Cote d’Azur area of France. It was late afternoon on Friday and we were due to fly on the Monday… Suddenly a letter falls into my box. // When an owl delivers a message it always means unexpected or sudden changes to plans, you know.

The letter contained a proposal for cooperation from the former director of one of our esteemed competitors. It turned out that this competitor of ours had rather blatantly broken their promises and basically dumped their local director who had built up their business in France. And, well, this director was now offering to go down the same path all over again and start a business with us.

It was a bit of a surprise to say the least! Fate doesn’t dish out opportunities like that very often. And we were already heading to France anyway! We absolutely had to meet! But to do so, we had to stay in Paris for an extra day and change our return tickets.

Nowadays you can change planes or hotels as much as you like, whenever you like. But back then it was a very different story because no one worked on weekends. The airline tickets had to be changed physically, not just in the database. Of course, it was all quite doable – you just had to go to an airlines office. And there just happened to be one on the way – we were flying via Paris and then onwards to Nice. And so, sometime in the middle of the day I arrived at the airline’s office on the Champs-Elysées. I got there literally 10-15 minutes before the lunch break(!) – yes, yes, then – and to this day – it was/is customary in France to close for lunch.

Lunch is sacred! Nobody in the office wanted to mess about with customers right before their break. They frowned a bit, but after realizing that I wasn’t going to leave and wait outside, they took my passport, credit card (I had to pay extra), tapped a few buttons on the keyboard and gave me a new ticket. I didn’t look too closely at the ticket (unfortunately), immediately jumped in a taxi and zoomed off to the station, because my Paris-Nice train was already panting and whistling and raring to go.

After that it was all business and press stuff. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that there were a few of us. For example, my good old travelling buddy D.Z. was with us, and the former director of my company, my namesake N.K., all flew to the event. For some reason (I don’t remember why) we flew together, but then she flew somewhere else, and I went to the coast by train.

We got everything done that we needed to, all the meetings were successful, I was flying home in the morning, and N.K. had some other things to do and decided to take another flight later that day. I arrived at the airport check-in desk and handed over my passport and ticket. The employee at the desk read everything very attentively, then looked up at me and asked in surprise: “Natalya?”

Oops… – I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t a coincidence. I called N.K. and her ticket was correct – in her own name. Turns out those Mayan drummers at the Paris office had hurriedly (almost lunchtime!) printed off a ticket for me using N.K.’s name. I was in such a hurry to catch my train that I failed to notice the mistake.

It all ended well though. There was a bit of fussing around, some conferring and they eventually agreed it was their fault – and led me by the hand to the plane with a “dodgy” ticket. I’ve no idea how much fainting and confusion there was in our accounting department when they had to account for two “Natalyas” flying from Paris to Moscow just a few hours apart.

That’s just one of the many stories.

Read on…

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Bonjour, Monsieur President!

Hi folks!

I was in Paris the other week and, though cold and wet and windy, our welcome was the warmest it could have been!

Why were we there? For the Paris Peace Forum, the annual event where folks from governments, business and other organizations come together to discuss and try and come up with ways to make the world better. And one of the hottest topics there, of course, was cybersecurity – and that’s why were extended a very enthusiastic invite. And since we support all kinds of initiatives throughout the world advocating international cooperation so as to create a digital world that’s secure against all cyber-badness, we sent our RSVP back practically tout de suite.

Read on…

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Formula Paris-E.

Bonjour folks!

Today’s post is all about Formula E. Just in case that term is a new one to you – the ‘E’ stands for ‘Electric’. And the ‘Formula’ – yep, that’s like just like with ‘Formula 1’. Combined – you’ve guessed it: F1 but with electric cars!

It was only a matter of time since the electric car came into fairly widespread use that they’d start being raced a la Formula 1. And indeed, already for four and a half years they have been racing – around large cities across the globe, garnering more and more attention as time passes. And finally, the other week, I found myself at my first ePrix – in Paris!

And we weren’t just spectating, we take part too; first, with our expertise: we protect the cyber-infrastructure of the Envision Virgin team.

Second: with our sponsorship: check out the panels each side of the driver’s head!

Read on…

Notre Dame – optimism, despite the harm.

Bonjour folks!

I’m a technical guy, so I get attracted like a magnet to different kinds of unusual and/or unique buildings. And that includes old – even ancient ones. Standing awestruck at the architectural/construction works of the ancient masters is something I do a lot. How did they manage that? How come their proportions are so exact? How come they had a grand vision and followed through to build massive masterpieces – which simply wouldn’t be built these days, even given the resources.

In Paris there are plenty of such constructions. And when in town I often tread the same path I always have, and could never become bored of it: Eiffel Tower > Pompidou Center > Notre-Dame. So it came as a bit of a shock hearing the news of the fire in the latter one late evening in northern Taiwan. The early accounts of the damage made me think it was all over for Our Lady of Paris. Of course it would be repaired and restored – but it wouldn’t be quite the same would it?

When I arrived in the French capital a few days later – I rushed to see the damage for myself. And was cheered up no end by seeing that things weren’t as bad as made out in the press. She’s still standing tall and proud! Sure, there’s plenty of damage – but not everywhere. I tried to get up close but it was cordoned off, so had to settle for inspecting the damage from a way off:

Read on…

Brownian Paris in summer.

Hi folks!

How time flies?

We’re nearing the end of the first half of 2018 already (which will end, like every other year, with our company’s mega bday bash). Just about six weeks left – and just a few more business trips – and that will be it: time for downing tools and having some well-earned rest and relaxation.

Well here I am on one of the above-mentioned business trips – in sunny Paris. Can’t complain, generally, of course. Paris is Paris, after all. But I can complain that it’s 95% business on this trip: just a few hours left for some sightseeing. Oh well, at least we were installed right in the center of the capital, which meant only one thing, in my book: a trip to my fave Paris museum – in the Pompidou Centre.

Coming to this place is always such a pleasure. I’ve been several times since my first visit in the early 2000s, and am never let down. This time though, I have to say, the exhibitions weren’t quite up to their usual high standard; at least that’s how it seemed to me. But that’s only subjective: I was on a roll of negativity, which started back in Morocco ). I’m sure objectively [sic], all was merveilleux.

Read on…

My Gabon–Israel–France–Monaco Grand Prix.

Haven’t been posting here for a while. The reason being that last week turned out to be horrendously hectic – without a single minute to spare for putting fingers to keyboard. Now for a bit of catch-up…

From last Monday to Saturday I managed to visit four countries on three continents: Gabon, Israel, France and Monaco. To do so six flights were necessary – on average one per day. Now, I’m no stranger to tight-schedulism, but last week was just daft: such all-out non-stopism is just too much for the body and soul. It took me the whole of the weekend after to get back to normal again.

All the same, though there wasn’t time for writing – there’s always time for snapping. Herewith, then, a quick photo-textual report of my very own international Grand Prix last week, split up into the four respective ‘laps’…

monaco-8

Read on: First stop – Gabon…

April in Paris.

April in Paris is one of the earlier romantic fantasy stories of Ursula Le Guin. I recommend seeking it out, downloading and reading it, for it’s a magical book. And if anyone is still unfamiliar with the work of this American genius – you should be ashamed of yourself! Start with anything from this list.

Paris happens to be one of my favorite cities.

I’m not sure why but I can be happy here just wandering around for hours (today I was walking for more than six). I understand how some folks don’t like Paris, while others are indifferent… but as for me, I ‘m a pure Parisophile.

paris-france-eifel-tower

More: The Tower, The Dame & The Modern Art…