….New Zealand must be very clean.
At one of our stays in southern France, our neighbors were family from Wellington, on a several-week tour of Europe. A couple with their young teenaged daughter.
They were really nice people, and I enjoyed comparing notes with them at the end of each day of touring and tripping about the Perigord.
They’d come from five days in Paris (they gifted us with their unused Metro tickets) and confessed that they were not crazy about it. In retrospect, after being here for two weeks now, I suspect that part of their experience can be attributed to the challenge of trying to “do” Paris in five days. They were hitting the big sites -which are all super mobbed and busy – and were just wiped out by the challenges and crowds. I’m very, very grateful that we have a month here. It’s been two weeks now, and I am just feeling as if I am getting acclimated, and I’m very relieved to not have that feeling that I must rush to see “the” sites.
That said, there’s one part of their Paris report I really don’t get – they all agreed that Paris was quite dirty. That I should be ready for that. I told them that I’d spent time in major American cities that aren’t sparkling, so I could probably handle it.
And now that I’ve been here, I’m thinking….whaaat?
Joseph was present for that conversation, and we were talking about it yesterday. Paris? Where they seriously seem to empty the rubbish cans on our street twice a day, dirty?
My impression is the opposite – Paris is very, very clean for a major city. Streets are clean. There are trash receptacles everywhere that hardly ever seem to be overflowing. Metros are clean. Not shiny and sparkling, not grimy, cruddy places you don’t want to touch, either. There’s graffiti, but where isn’t there graffiti?
Wellington, I guess…
There are certainly corners here and there – mostly those corners that are inhabited by homeless men. There are a few camped out by our Metro stop, for example, with their old mattresses and blankets and boxes. But I don’t consider that “dirty.” That’s just people, living there, for whatever reason.
My frame of reference is not the greatest, of course. I’ve not been to many European cities, and perhaps, say, Nordic and Germanic peoples wash down their streets with bleach every night and have no graffiti at all. I wouldn’t know.
But really, there’s no way I’d characterized Paris as “dirty,” and so far I’ve traipsed through neighborhoods from Montmartre to Montparnasse.
As I said….Wellington must be shiny.