The good news is that Jason arrived safe and sound. We’ve already taken a preliminary stroll along rue Montorgueil, done a load of laundry and bought food for dinner (fish filets, haricots verts, salad … why mess with success?). We plan to go out for a drink after dinner, then start exploring in earnest tomorrow. Jason has been to Paris four or five times and took several years of French in high school so he is quite a seasoned travel companion.

I made my first significant mistake of the trip this morning, however. After washing Jason’s sheets in the apartment I didn’t want to chance leaving them out on the drying rack so I took them downstairs to the nearby laundromat. I carried them down in a little bag that I initially bought at a U.S. grocery store. To keep the bag clean I threw it in the drier with the sheets, as I have often done at home. Big mistake! It turns out that the bag is (was!) plastic and this French drier was plenty hot enough to melt it. So little bits of plastic are now stuck all over my landlord’s sheets. We’ll find out when I do the final inventory how much sheets cost in France but my guess is that it will not be a happy number, in any currency. My Dad liked to say that, “The wages of stupidity is work.” And “wasting money” I might add. Not, however, a major disaster.

The other travel problem involved Jason’s EasyJet flight from Madrid to Paris. We knew that his cell phone wouldn’t work in Europe, and my apartment has no buzzer, so the plan was for me to wait at a nearby cafe starting at 13:00 (1 pm). He emailed me from an airport kisok just before his scheduled departure that his flight was delayed “at least two hours; check online at” No problem, it would seem, but when I went to, then and later in the afternoon, the site claimed that the flight was scheduled to depart and arrive on time! So, profoundly confused, I headed down to the cafe at 13:00 as planned, had a very leisurely meal, read my current book (My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk), and people-watched — for 2-1/2 hours! Jason quite reasonably assumed that the EasyJet web site would have reflected the correct situation so when he finally arrived he asked innocently, “Were you waiting long?” Not his fault, but the answer was “Oui!” On the plus side, it was a wonderful excuse to linger over an expresso and watch the world go by.