cats, cats

Tel Aviv, where we're staying for, um, an unspecified length of time, has lots of street cats. They may be considered a nuisance, a hygiene problem, or an animal rights violation, but they are often quite striking. The photos are never as beautiful as the cats, but here are some attempts.


Stop, thief!

As our time in Fontainebleau draws to a close, Gahl decided to take the (French) law into his own hands. It happened at the train station parking garage, where we often leave our car if we go to Paris for a day or two. One day recently, the barrier was missing at the entrance, so we drove through without taking a ticket. "Never mind," I said, "We'll just get a ticket when we leave." (I had just discovered the technique of taking a new ticket before leaving, and so paying only the minimum fee of 1.50 euros.) However, we arrived back in Fontainebleau after the ticket station had closed, and our attempts to get a new ticket at the entrance failed. (Maybe the new-ticket-before-leaving technique only worked the one time.) The emergency number for the main parking office just rang and rang. We were stuck. "I'm going to break the barrier," Gahl said. Face set in determination, he got out of the car, walked over to the barrier, examined it, then yanked it off and laid it by the side of the road. He came back to the car. "It's only held on with plastic bolts. It looks like they expect people to break it a lot." And we drove away.

When I think of the money we could have saved if we'd just broken the barrier every time, I grind my teeth.


Music for all

Footage from the national Fete de la musique (Music Festival): a high school band (apparently) as seen from our apartment window in Fontainebleau.


If she's English, it's not our problem

Today I went to Monoprix, one of the local supermarkets, mostly to buy envelopes and laundry softener, but I noticed some rather odd-shaped kiwis and couldn't resist buying a few to sample (Gahl will eat them with the skins, of course). I saw a sign that said something about five kiwis (I was in a bit of a hurry), so I grabbed five and went to the checkout counter. When the cashier was ringing up my things, she asked someone in the store to run and get an extra kiwi - apparently the deal was buy five, get one free. I thought this was quite nice of her. Then the man behind me in line said to the cashier, "If she's English, it's not our problem." I was too surprised to say anything (and my French isn't really at the level where I should get into a verbal battle at the supermarket check-out) but Gahl and I have been laughing about it ever since. I guess the statement pretty much seems to sum up the locals' attitude toward us.


Summer Ball

Insead (Gahl's school) hosted a summer ball in the Fontainebleau castle. The setting makes you think of all the extravagent parties that have been held there over the centuries...


Palace hounds 2

Needless to say, the peeing dogs are a favorite with visitors.

Things that go bump in the night

Recently Fontainebleau has been infested by a type of large, flying insect with a very sturdy exoskeleton. They buzz around streetlights, fall suddenly from the sky, and lie dead on carpeted floors and sidewalks. We don't know the insect's Latin name, but we do know the shock when one suddenly drops next to you while you're relaxing at a streetside cafe, or the quite painful sensation when you collide with one while biking. In a word, yuck.