Saturday, March 23, 2013

Developer in Paris : 5/6

The Opera house was still putting us to dreams, less we knew there were sights much seductive to come in the rest couple of days. We were still afraid of what will happen to the plans to visit the Eiffel. We kept hearing the "you should visit" and "something not to leave" every now and then about the world famous monument.

We decided to postpone it till Friday as Thursday evening also seemed enough busy not to get time. Spending time with the teams was much fun and made the visit worth. And no I wasn't trying to hide the fact that the major and much awaited visit was still a bit away.

Friday was going to be a bit rushy, specially since we planned to leave a little early for the Eiffel and may be one more place if we had time to. We finally managed to get thru the last day in Paris office very nicely, completing all the meetings that we had planned. When it was time, it was difficult to leave people here. Its been just a week and the bonding already showed. So it was farewell to the office and all the colleagues, hoping a few would visit us in India in the coming time.

And finally we embark on our journey to the Eiffel. Office, Hotel, Metro and in some time we were at a place were we could see it from some distance. A tuk tuk ride and we find ourselves at the place, just below it and it was time for some cam action. Taking pictures is fun but it becomes difficult when the building or a structure is as big as this one.

I tried some tricks and here is a view I was able to click from my phone camera. You may find a better high def version on my Facebook profile. The charm of some buildings/monuments is that you just keep them in the visibility. Less care about the vicinity and irrespective of the cold weather and the chilly wind. And on top I forgot to carry my gloves and the cap. Even the ear plugs just to protect my ears with this wind.

The next wait was for the darkness to settle in so we could see the Eiffel in all lighted up. We decided to walk around a bit in the mean time. And the river on the other side of the road was just the attention we required. For otherwise it was difficult to wait, the wind was catching up a little and was getting chilly. We were close to the Eiffel but didn't realize the other side of the road would present a little far but just as lovely a view. In fact it seemed better than the one close. A couple more before we heard the water, to what seemed a backyard. Stairs? yeah sure and we get down to be a little closer to the river. Wonderful sight as would be obvious:
Here is a panoramic view I had from the river side. So while this was just as fascinating, I nearly lost my breath the moment I turned. The view was worth a life. And you could compare it to the view one would have of the Taj on a full moon night.
As you see the sight was just awesome and the click as much difficult. I leave it to you to decide how good the click was ;).

And this was it. We take the metro back to the Hotel. Dinner and stuff packing were still to be done. And yes, there is this post to be finished and published. Hope you enjoyed the series. I have a flight to catch tomorrow morning so I think its time I put the post to an end and hit the button above that says "Publish" ;)

Paris, thanks for having us. It was fun!! 
Farewell !!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Developer in Paris : Day 4

Middle of the week already and we haven't had a chance to visit too many places. The silver lining was that the meetings with a few people and just some unofficial chat with the others were going really well. People back home have been asking if the weather has been a problem. Seriously not as bad as we expected it to be.

So while the Eiffel visit was still in the pipeline (yeah unlucky sorts for now), we were getting a good look of a few more things. We decided a little and quick visit to La Défense is a good idea. And what a good idea when you have someone to take us thru the way and tell us little stories about the few places we went to (Thank you Hicham :) ). 

For example the structure (rather the building) that you see here is the world's largest for a built up that's without any pillar support. So the bow structure (or the arc down) that you see if not supported by any pillar whatsoever. The structure is very big for that sense and in case you are interested its just sits on the other side of the La Défense mall. You may find a short cut from the make up store if you are actually inside the mall. Walk straight thru the store for the exit on the other end. And just on the left of the picture there is a big stature that will be of interest in case you would want to see the view of Paris with the Arch de Triumph in it. The absolute top of the place presents a wonderful view I am told. And it is really high. A 
Image Credit:wiki
sample of the skyline from the La Défense is here on the right. The night view I am sure will be much more seductive.

Not much time since it was the afternoon and we took the time from our lunch time. So we decided to hurry back as we were required to take the subway two times in order to be able to reach the office. Fun all the way it was!! The ride in the metros (subway) has been fun. I don't think the frequency of the rides have been the same in India. Figuring out the route was much of a challenge and winning the bet when you get it right is much more enjoying.

Come evening and there were some plans as well. We were being taken for another tour in the streets for some wonderful views and dinner at a Libanese restaurant. I will leave to you to figure out the pronunciation of the hotel. All I can be of help is a nice clear picture of the entrance.

The food we found was very good and stuffing. The company that we had was just the icing on the cake. It was nice to be able to walk the streets with the guys especially when we met them after some good gap. The fiddling with the menu cards at the restaurants have been made easy this time again like yesterday. Food and desserts finished, we decide a walk to the opera house. I am told its as beautiful as anything during the night with all the lights. We do a 5 minute walk to find ourselves in arguably the most expensive place in the area we were in.

But did we complain on this? No not at all and there was no second thought about that as well. What we saw in front of us was just eye catching and glittering at the same time. Not sure if what I captured above was more glittering and rare or the trio who were generous enough for a walk that evening with us. In case you are wondering, here they are :). Thank you guys, we just loved the time!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Developer in Paris : Day 3

Coincidences don't happen everyday, but when they do; they may be accompanied by their colleagues as well. So while everyone agrees that this was never planned, we were lucky to find a few colleagues from China and Russia visiting the Paris office during the same time as us. We couldn't have asked for a bigger surprise. Although those who are on holidays are dearly missed.

So while there is work to keep an eye on and the visit to Eiffel still pending, the time in between the meetings is spent searching for people I may have worked with in some project or other. The idea is obviously to meet as many people as possible during the stay, with priority to those whom we interacted with on gtalk some time or other. Just so the chats find a face to get attached to.

The weather was comparatively good and we had a nice view of the sun if only for a couple of hours. So we decided it was a good option to visit the Eiffel. The Paris weather is as good as the mirage that you see in the Arabian desert. It may well be sun literally bathing you in the light, the moment you are set with the plan..clouds open to listen well and spoil the game. We were told it isn't a good idea to be visiting the Eiffel today for the fun will be spoiled by the rain which was very uncertain and it stayed that way for the rest of the night. No happy about cancelling our plan to the so awaited visit, we actually had no choice.

Choices are as good in numbers as the people around you. So while the Eiffel had to wait for us, our friends and colleagues had plans for hang around with them for a few drinks and take us to a French restaurant with suitable food for us. The drinks and dinner and the whole time was much fun. Thanks to everybody who hung around. It kept raining and we kept enjoying ourselves with the group. (Ali, I told you your hood was in the way ;) )!

Pronunciation is a a bit of a problem when you are in this part of the world. Not that the other things are easy, but they are fun too. I decided I keep the logo of the restaurant with me, just a token of my visit. So the guy (seemed like from Popeye' family) is here and 
you may say "Hi".  The night was awesome and the rain finally stopped. Good time to leave for the Hotel and give our cheeks and jaw some rest. We had a good laugh over a lot of things(a hint for a few people and talks I didn't want to mention here, concerned ones understand ;) ). 

And how could the night be over before we discover a new dish or thing especially while we were in the company of a few people who know the place and things so so well. And yes I am really not good at remembering the names but that's why I keep the cam handy. Here is a sneak peak to the desert that seems very famous and contains some really tasty fruits. Take you time with the mouth watering dessert and I will tell you in next part to what happens to the Eiffel plans!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Developer in Paris : Day 2

Not a surprise that the mornings are a little early when you are away from home. Making sure I don't sleep till 11pm was good enough to avoid the jet-leg. But waking up at around 5:30 or 6 in the morning made sure I miss home that much. But it also meant I was able to make it to breakfast at a time I expected, even when I was slow getting ready. The breakfast was much welcomed after a really good night sleep.

Although we had the navigation printed for our way to the office, a check with the hotel reception was anyways a good idea. In 2 min we had a Paris map with the road color marked. But then what's the fun in a new place if you don't get lost a bit. The streets here are very similar to what you find in the main New York area in US or may be in some parts of main Delhi. One wrong turn and although you are always in reach, you keep losing yourself in the area. We did. We were just that. Lost !

Finding your way is tough if you feel a little short on the local language of the place. While a few people didn't entertain, we had some people willing to walk us to the place till they knew the way. Loosing our self wasn't that bad after all ;). Finally at the office, we might have waited a bit longer at the main entrance if the guy from the sales team didn't come. The entry is via a code that we obviously didn't know.

We were a little early in the office and while Paris was already fun with the visit to the city last day, much welcome was still awaited in the minutes to come. A few minutes we had people coming in and the warm welcome we received was wonderful. Going around the floors to meet different team was excitement and with each team it was fun to interact. Finally meeting the people, we do a video call everyday, in person is a different story and people who work in geographically apart teams would know this.

The picture you see here is the All-Hands-on place and if you are in team, I don't need to say more :). Meeting different teams and seeing them in person is always fun, either its a personal visit or a professional one. Finding a seat for yourself is not difficult when everybody in the team wants to have you by the side. 

Did we meet everyone yet? Yes and No! So certainly looking forward to exchanging a few words of "How" and "When" and "Why" as and when possible during the stay. Keep reading :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Developer in Paris : Day 1

It was around 7 in the morning when I landed and it was still around 6hrs after the normal checks that I still had till my connecting flight was there to take me to my final destination. It didn't help that the airport (part of) was under renovation, restricting my otherwise access area. No, I wasn't allowed to move out of the airport due to some rules as my wait time wasn't as much.

That was a few years back and the scenes obviously changed this time around. Paris is open for a much wider visit; both in terms of space and time. Landing as early as 6 in the morning is not a good idea, unless you already spent around 10 or so hours in the air in the last half a day. The first feel of the city? Just a little cold, enough to let my body and mind know there is a switch required. From 30 degrees to nearly zero(feels like a little below the actual, with the wind) was what my body had to adjust to. Out of the airport and a quick taxi, helped to reach the hotel for some quick rest, especially a nice shower!!

Beginning the week long stay on Sunday is a good option. Lets you relax and roam around and especially settle down getting familiarity with the streets around. So once we were ready  

to leave the hotel for a walk and take something for lunch, it was time to head on the roads. In any city its not difficult to find some food, even if you are new to the place. In Europe it becomes difficult if you are a vegetarian. Luckily we found an Indian restaurant, unlucky that there was time for it to open and we (me and colleagues) had plans. We decided to try the restaurant for dinner and settle for some veg pizza for the lunch.

In another hour we found ourselves on the road to the city subway. A little help on the direction to the museum Louvre on the counter responsible for tickets and we were on the subway to a place called Concorde, where we were told to change to another direction (metro line) for our final destination, the museum. I found the subway pretty similar to what I have been used to in my time in the US. The travel was fast and it wasn't more than may be 20 minutes that we found ourselves inside the museum. In fact the entry was a bit embarrassing as the exit from subway and the entry to museum was such short lived that we found ourselves asking for the museum while we just entered its boundary ;) 

A huge museum that has a lot to offer in terms of some history and wonderful paintings and reminiscence and what not. Its so huge that you may need complete 3 days at least to have visited all the parts of the castle look alike place. For some jet legged and tired visitors, it was good enough that we covered nearly 1/3rd of the place in a few hours. Disappointed that nearly all the descriptions were in French and we had hardly anything to understand from a language perspective. What we saw was worth the tiredness!

A few hours later we decided it was time we reached the hotel for some rest and sleep. The last nearly 24hrs have been very tiring and without much sleep. When we came back I decided to take the time to chat with my family back home and keep myself away from sleep or else the jet-leg strikes. A couple more hours and the time for dinner. Some Indian food here was a welcome pleasure at the end of a tiring day. We decided it was time to retire to our respective rooms. The next day had some good things in store for us:)
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