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2007年7月17日 (火)

フランスに行ってきました(2)...biz  

皆さんは、フランスにバーゲン時期があるのをご存知ですか?

観光客にとっては、初めての地のため、いつもセールを
やっていてもわからないところもありますが、フランスに
関しては、年にバーゲン時期だけバーゲンをしていいという
法律あるそうです。

バーゲン時期は1月上旬から約1ヶ月、6月再収集から
約1ヶ月間の2回だけだとか。皆さんもパリに行く時は
時期を選びましょう!



たまたま、フランスに行っていた時期がその時期なので、
以前から探していた手提かばん(実際買ったのは、肩掛け
かばんでしたが)を思わず40%引きで買いました。
確かBally製品でした。

また、VAT税が免税となると店で言われたので、その
手続きを空港で行いました。税関で製品をチェックして
もらって、スタンプを押してもらいましたが、現金化
する際に、並んだ列が悪くクレジットカードにクレジット
してくれず日本円で換金するとのことだったので(レート
が悪かった)、郵送の手続きにしました。

詳しくは下記サイトをご参照。
http://france-tourisme.net/p-shopping0-detaxe-b2.htm

フランスでは1軒の店で175Euro以上買うと、10−12%
が返金されるようです。
http://france-tourisme.net/p-shopping0-detaxe-a.htm

何か得をしたような気で、帰ってきました。

2007年7月14日 (土)

フランスに行ってきました(1)...biz

7月1日から5日までフランスのParisに行ってきました。

以前フランスに行ったのは、大学4年の時ですから、
それから四半世紀が過ぎたことになります。

今回はたまたまコンサルをしている会社の監査という
ことで、仕事が中心でしたので、あまり観光はできま
せんでした。

特記事項としては、帰りのエアーフランスの便で
きょんきょんとジャガー横田夫婦を見ました。



ジャガー横田はテレビで見るままでした。(美人でない)

きょんきょんはジージャンの上に黒のスカートをはいて
おられました。メガネをかけていましたが、なんとなく
雰囲気でわかりました。背は高くなかったです。

7月26日号の女性セブン広告で「小泉、亀梨ルーブル
寄り添う夜」のタイトルが出ていましたが、きょんきょん
だけはパリに行ったことだけは確かです。
亀梨君は空港では見ませんでした。

因みに火曜日はルーブル博物館は閉鎖しており、周りの
美術館は非常に込んでいました。(そんな事はどうでも
いいって?失礼しました。)




2006年8月 5日 (土)

The French Disconnection (2) By Jim Jen

あなたはフランスに旅行中に盗難にあったら、
サバイブできますか?

Jenさんがその一部始終を日記に書いておられ
ます。

We were on our own after the Lacoste
meeting, so we opted to take a tour to
Marseille, Nice, and Monaco.

The weather in April was ideal for travel
to the French Riviera, and we were
fortunate that throughout the trip we
encountered no rain.

We rented an Avis car at the Marseille
airport for our excursion.

We were given a manual shift car at Avis
at $150/day.

Automatic shift car is a luxury class and
the rental cost would almost double.

Since I am the only one who can drive a
manual shift, I was the driver.

Ann was the map reader.

We managed to proceed to our destination,
Nice, on a toll road A8 at about 11 a.m.
on a Saturday.

The surrounding scenery was charming, and
we were merrily on our way.

About half-way into our journey, Ann asked
for a stop at a rest area.

The rest area was very similar to the ones
along our American interstate highways.

There were two levels: one for passenger
cars and the other for trucks.

I made the mistake of entering the truck area.

Ann had to walk a few steps up to the
passenger car area where the restrooms
were located.

I was sitting in the driver side while Ann
was gone.

Out of nowhere a robber opened the passenger
side door and grabbed the travel bag in
front of the passenger seat.

I instinctively reached out to struggle with
the robber for the bag.

The robber was a white man in the thirties.

He easily outstruggled me and ran up the stairs.

When I ran out to chase him, he sped away
in a car.

There were many French people at the area
witnessing the whole episode.

However, no one noted the license plate
number since everything happened so fast.

There was an emergency telephone at the
rest area.

I asked a French lady to make a call to
report the robbery to the police.

On the other end of the phone was an
officer who probably was deep in his sleep.

He told the lady that they do not handle
highway robbery.

I was told to go to the next town and report
the incident to the local police.

We discovered that there is no such service
as 911 in France.

By then Ann appeared from the restroom and
saw the commotion.

She was visibly shaken in hearing of the
incredible incident.

Her passport, credits cards, driver license,
work ID, cash, glasses, a diamond ring,
cosmetics, a new camera, and many other items
were all in her purse.

Since we spoke no French, I asked the lady
witness to write a short paragraph about the
incident so that I could show it to the
police about the robbery.

We have long learned that most French, in
spite of the proximity to England, are non-
English speaking people.

The next exit was to the town of Le Luc.

The toll booth collector exhibited no
emotion when I showed her the paper
describing the robbery incident.

She pointed to the empty yard nearby for us
to wait for the police.

After ten minutes, we decided that police
would not be coming and asked a young French
person to guide us to the police station.

Le Luc is a small town and we soon found
the police station.

It was 12:30 p.m.

There were two fortress-like defense
perimeters outside the police station.

Our French guide had to use the intercom
outside the gate to talk to the police
inside the fortress.

We were told to come back at 2 p.m. since
it was their lunch time.

Obviously, our robbery incident would have
to wait.

We used the time to find a restaurant to
have lunch.

In cities and towns we traveled through
in France, we rarely found any fast food
restaurants.

Le Luc was no exception.

It was not our routine to have a steak
dinner for lunch, but that was the only
entree at the only restaurant in town.

Luckily, it accepted my Bank of America
Visa card since all our Euro cash was stolen.

We went back to the police station promptly
at 2 p.m. and were allowed to enter.

After a ten minute wait, a police officer
came to handle our case.

He read the note and appeared to understand
our problem.

We waited for an hour and half more before
a woman from a Social Service organization
came to the station.

She explained to us that the local Social
Service would be happy to loan us some money
so that we would not be stranded at Le Luc,
if we promised to repay the loan after
returning home.

We thanked her for the offer but declined
since I still had some American cash and
my credit cards.

The police officer then told us to leave
since he had already tried to help us.

We insisted that he gave us a copy of the
incident report since it would be needed
as an evidence of the robbery for passport
re-issuance and insurance purposes.

It was 4:30 p.m. when we received the
official copy of the robbery report.

The Le Luc police also verified that there
is an American Consulate in Nice, as well as
in Marseille.

However, the offices are not open on
Saturdays and Sundays.

Therefore, there was nothing we could do
until Monday to replace Ann’s passport.

We decided that we might just as well to
follow our original itinerary to go to Nice.

We stayed in an Air France affiliated hotel
but garaged our car.

We did not want to risk driving again
unnecessarily.

The hotel is only one short block from the
Mediterranean Sea.

The hotel clerk, although a fluent English
speaking charming lady, was least helpful.

She showed no sympathy on our demise, would
not take the trouble to find the phone
number or the address of the local American
Consulate, would not convert my U.S. money
into Euro dollars, would not extend any
credit on my American Express cards for me
to have some spending money and only
reluctantly arranged our next day tour to Monaco.

I resented her attitude and quietly asked
whether she would ever say “oui” to any
of my requests.

She was not amused.

There was only one restaurant near the
hotel that opened on Saturday and Sunday,
and fortunately, it accepted my credit card.

Although there were many ATM machines on
the street, we couldn’t remember our
passwords for taking out Euro money.

For these two days, we had to be very careful
to eat and buy only from places that would
accept my credit card.

No currency exchange place was open on weekends.

In spite of the dark cloud of the outrageous
robbery, we loved the beautiful view of the
Mediterranean Sea and the French architecture
along the shore.

After meals, we strolled along the walk by
the sea and, for a few moments, we did cast
away the shadow of robbery incident and
enjoyed ourselves under the balmy French sun.

We reported our credit card losses to both
American Express and Bank of America on
Saturday evening.

American Express told us the thief had
already charged $3,000 worth of high quality
clothing to Ann's card.

Bank of America said the thief attempted to
cash money twice from ATM machines in France;
however, these attempts were denied because
they were out of ordinary from the history
of Ann’s card use.

The thief also tried to buy something from a
French optical shop and was denied.

The driver/guide of our Sunday Monaco tour
picked us up promptly at 8 in the morning.

We two were the only guests.

It was a very nice tour and the driver even
accepted my U.S. dollars.

He would stop at any place we wanted to have
pictures taken, after we bought a disposable
one-time-use camera at a tourist shop.

We viewed the changing of guards at the
Monaco palace, heard the story about Princess
Grace Kelly, and overlooked the famous beach
and sea from various vantage points.

The day was well spent.

We got busy early Monday to get Ann's
passport replaced.

Unfortunately, we were told by the Consulate
people that Nice location does not issue
passports.

We must go to Marseille instead.

An appointment was made for us at 2 p.m.,
allowing ample time for us to drive there.

But for the sake of saving time, we were
told that Ann should have her pictures taken
in Nice.

After retrieving our car from garage, we
headed back to Marseille.

The U.S. Consulate is at the eastern part
of the city.

It took some time for us to find the place.

Due to the terrorists’ threat, the compound
was heavily guarded.

We arrived one hour before our appointment
hour and had to wait for the lunch break.

Although we could use the time to have lunch,
we did not want to go through the tedious
security checks to enter the compound again.

When the Consulate officer showed up, she
said that the picture taken in Nice was not
of the proper size and it must be redone.

Finally, around 4 p.m. Ann got her
replacement passport.

She was fortunate that she had an old expired
passport in her luggage, saving a great deal
of hassle in verifying her citizen status.

The first leg of our return trip started the
next morning from Marseille to Paris, on
Air France.

In most of our trips, both Ann and I only
take one carry-on bag, a small roller type
that easily fits into most airplane’s
overhead storage bins.

I purposefully stowed my brand new cell
phone in the outer pocket of the roller
before leaving the airport hotel.

The counter clerk insisted that we must
check our two bags since, allegedly, there
was no room for us to stow the carry-ons.

I didn’t even think about any consequence
and allowed the clerk to check our bags.

Our connecting flight was U.S.Airway from
Paris to Philadelphia.

We had our bags with us on that flight all
the time.

Upon arrival in U.S., I was ready to make
a phone call and found the cell phone missing.

There is no doubt in my mind that the
Air France ground personnel had stolen
my cell phone.

It is generally known that carry-on bags
usually contain valuable items.

It certainly appeared obvious to us that the
counter clerk was a party of the swindle
since our Paris-bound airplane was half empty
and there was plenty room on the plane to
stow carry-on bags.

I did write to Air France complaining about
the incident.

They replied that there is a warning message
in the ticket envelope that the airline is
not liable for loss of valuable items in the
checked baggage.

The two unpleasant incidents in our travel
to France were regretful and can serve as
lessons to other travelers.

However, our memories of the cobbled-stoned
terrace at Lacoste, the serene beauty of
the Mediterranean Sea, the splendor of Monaco,
and the vast acreages of grapes are not erasable.

Soon we will embark on another trip somewhere
in this wide world.

Next time, though, we will carry less with us,
avoid check-in baggage, and tape our passports
to our underwear.

April 25, 2004, Charlotte, NC

2006年8月 3日 (木)

The French Disconnection (1) By Jim Jen

この回想録は私がアメリカで14年間お世話に
なった人生の師でもあるJim Jenさんが書かれた
ものです。

特別の許可を得て、私のブログに掲載させて
もらえることになりました。

いろんなご経験をまとめたもので、多岐に
わたりますので、面白く読んで頂けると
思います。ご堪能ください。

France is a unique country. Her long
history of struggling for democracy
and independence has transformed it
from a colonial power into a modern
society.

At its height of power, this geographically
small nation claimed territories that
spanned the globe.

Recently, the leaders of France showed
their independence and courage to
vehemently disagree with the United States
in the middle east war.

Although the outcome of the war is
still uncertain, future historians may
indeed say France's defiance to her
allies was both just and humane.

When the opportunity presented itself
to Ann and me to spend a week in France,
we enthusiastically accepted the
invitation to be guests of Savannah
College of Arts and Design for the spring
meeting of the Board of Visitors, of
which I am a member.

The meeting was at Lacoste, a tiny
village in the low hills of northern
Provence, about one hour’s drive due
north of Marseille.

SCAD has built and remodeled the old
structures in Lacoste and turned them
into a state-of-art school, combining
the traditional arts with computer
aided programs.

The campus extends literally to the
whole village, which has a population
of about 75 people, including the well
-known person Pierre Cardin.

The main street of the village allows
one small car to pass through.

The rest of the village is accessible
only by walking. The streets are
cobblestone; we were forewarned to wear
comfortable shoes.

The usual formal attire for the Board
meeting was waived for this occasion.

There are about 55 students at the campus,
studying various majors under professors
who came mostly from the main Savannah
campus.

The primary benefit for students and
faculty is the exposure to the French
people and culture.

The students are required to visit
various centers in France every week
as a part of their education.

The influx of about 26 guests and school
staff for the meeting to such small
village certainly required a great deal
of planning and preparation.

We were more than pleased with the
grandiose style of receptions, the three
meals, and our visits to the campus
buildings and surrounding towns.

It was a great meeting.