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Saturday morning I got in my first lap swim of the trip, at the Piscine Suzanne Berlioux in the Forum des Halles.  It’s a nice pool, but awfully crowded.

Jared Rubinstein arrived around 13h, more-or-less on schedule.  I heard his suitcase rolling on the cobblestones and spotted him out my Montorgueil-facing windows, so the rendezvous was no problem (despite the fact that the buzzer still doesn’t work).  After he settled in we had a nice lunch at Le Comptoir de Commerce, then went on a flâne.  First down to the Seine (by way of an Orange store for him to pick up a French sim card).  Then along the river to Place de la Bastille and along the Promenade plantée, a favorite walk for both of us.  I had been aware that he had spent some time in Paris and knew some French, but I didn’t realize that he had spent an entire school year here, in 2005, and that he is quite reasonably fluent.  He lived just around the corner from the lovely Jardin de Reuilly.

Jared at the Parc de Reuilly

Jared at the Jardin de Reuilly

We continued to the end of the Promenade plantée, about four miles in total, then grabbed the métro back home.  After a disco nap, and a quick bite at a falafel place on rue des Rosiers, we joined a little champagne party at the home of one of his Parisian college friends.  Ari, actually an American expat, is quite a character, but he welcomed me even though I was a stranger in a cosy group of old friends.

There was one bit of travel drama yesterday: an ATM machine ate my debit card.  I put in the card and the machine just swallowed it without any acknowledgment.  I had to call Citibank to cancel it because I wasn’t sure when or to whom the machine might decide to disgorge it.  Locals waiting to use the machines were horrified, since France allows you to have only a single credit card, but we explained that in America there is no such rule, and of course I have other cards with me.  (Citi also is sending a replacement by overnight courier.)  Something similar happened to me in Turkey with a different card, but they shared one suspicious feature: they were both translucent.  Coincidence?  Sinister characteristic of European ATM machines?  In any case I’ll be more cautious about relying on translucent cards on future trips.

Regrettably, I’ve also continued over the past few days to struggle with the server migration that I had hoped to complete before leaving Boston.  Wish me luck!