Monday, November 07, 2005

# Posted 10:29 AM by Patrick Belton  

LANDED IN PARIS: And I've really got to say I'm incredibly grateful to a handful of recent Yale alumni list members and journalist readers of our blog who wrote back to my quick pleas for advice (and, in one noble case, for sofa) that I sent around before ducking out of Switzerland. The only interesting scene to sketch so far was at the Gare Lyon, where a platoon from the Foreign Legion were patrolling with submachine guns, and circled back around two men at the train station's underground metro entrance performing the midafternoon Salatu-l-Asr prayers, clearing searching their memories to remember whether suicide bombers did that before attacking, say, metros. The police presence is quite high - I passed four of what in a different context one might call Paddy wagons of the national police by the Bastille. So, the plan is that tomorrow I'll be following a recent Yale grad around Aulnay-sous-Bois, where she's been doing research, visiting the Paris Mosque, and chatting with staff of a few ngos which work in the banlieues. At the moment I'm rather more pedestrianly sorting out interview queries at a cafe in the Marais, where I was interested to chat with a few people as it's the traditional Jewish quarter, known to arriving Lithuanian immigrants as the 'Pletzl' (who in many cases would arrive at the train station with a piece of paper on which was written 'Pletzl', be ferried by hackney cab here, and then carry on speaking Lithuanian Yiddish as before). (Free wifi at said cafe! Café Le Reinitas, 32 rue du Temple. Come by in the next few minutes and the coffee's on OxBlog!).

Okay, that's it for now; more from this end once I get myself into some trouble for purposes of writing about it!
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