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My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

Oct 25th, 2006, 09:39 AM
  #1  
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My 9 day 25 yr anniversary trip ended miserably

I just thought I'd post about our 25th anniversary trip to London/Paris last week.
Last year, my wife and I finally took a trip by ourselves after our last child went off to college. We have planned to travel now whenever possible. Unfortunately, near the end of our trip in Paris, I was assaulted and robbed so the final few days were a nightmare. More on that later.

We had saved for this trip for the last year and pre-paid for the air/hotel several months in advance. Last year, we stayed in London and did the sightseeing thing and booked some tours including a 1 day trip to Paris. This year, my wife wanted to spend 3 days in London and 6 in Paris. We really liked London and felt fine since we understood the language. However, Paris was going to be different. We studied the language, bought home-study discs, etc to enable us to communicate as much as possible. We scoured the internet for tips, etc. We arrived in London at 8am and were uncertain that our hotel would allow early check in. There was no problem. We stayed at the Jolly St. Ermin's across the street from the New Scotland Yard. We chose it because of the proximity to the sites we wanted to visit in our 3 days. But, it definitely is deserted in the area after dark.
Day1: We slept for a few hours and then made the 2-3 block walk to Westminster Abbey. Afterwards, we walked to Big Ben and Parliament, took pictures, and made our way to the London Eye. The lines are huge. After dark, we walked back to our hotel and ate at a pub, The Albert. Great suggestion from someone on the internet. Then, we walked the half-block back to the hotel. It was a little concerning since the area was deserted and dark. It was a nice day and we had a great time everywhere we went. The room was clean, but somewhat small as expected. The staff was helpful every time except for the young staff lady who didn't understand english---but she wasn't rude and seemed genuinely embarassed. I think she was Italian.
My wife and I compromised throughout the trip. She is more of the 'need to see this and this' while I'm more of the let's take our time, sit and observe, type'. Anyway, she says we compromised. I think I just did what she wanted. But, I had a good time.
continued tomorrow.
joram is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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Anxiously awaiting the horrible ending.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Sorry about your trip not turning out as you had planned and expected - waiting to read that part.

Funny about the non-English speaking staff woman in London, I guess nothing is a given any more.

Nina66 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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gads, sorry about the bad ending, but at least you have retained enough interest and enjoyment in the trip to post a report, so bravo on that. Perhaps somebody can profit from the info on what happened to you in Paris, at least, to know what to be cautious about (or where or what kind of situation). I'd like to know myself, as I visit there about once a year, and physical assaults on tourists are not real common that I know of.
Christina is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 11:03 AM
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So sorry joram. I hope you were not hurt.
Micheline is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 11:05 AM
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Lest anyone think that I expect English to be spoken at every foreign destination, let me clarify what I wrote. If I am going to a hotel in an English speaking country, I would assume that _someone_ on the premises would/could speak English.

Nina66 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Okay-I re-read it. I thought he was saying that last year he was assaulted and robbed.
This summer we took our kids to Italy and had an unvoluntary "bonus day" in London courtesy of British Airways. We went into London (rather than hanging around our horrid hotel at Gatwick). Due to the very short nature of our trip, the only folks we really talked to were in service industries - a waiter or two, the folks selling train tickets, etc. My kids were really surprised that, when back in an English speaking country, none of the people we encountered appeared to be native speakers of English, and one waiter (at the hotel restaurant) spoke very little English.
missypie is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 01:27 PM
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ira
 
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Hi M,

>My kids were really surprised that, when back in an English speaking country, none of the people we encountered appeared to be native speakers of English,...<

Try visiting NYC, LA, etc...

ira is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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If the people you heard speaking, or attempting to speak, English did NOT use the words "you know" (or "you know what I'm sayin?")in every sentence I'd say you did OK.
Dukey is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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yk
 
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Just to clarify about the hotel, Jolly St Ermin's, where joram stayed at:

I have stayed there twice last year. Both times I traveled alone and I'm a youngish (early 30s) petite female. I never felt the area being unsafe. I have gone out and returned to the hotel at night time multiple times (to musicals, operas etc) without any problems. Yes, it wasn't crowded like you would expect in Leicester Sq, but I wouldn't say it's "deserted."

In addition, the New Scotland Yard Headquarters is located right across from the hotel! There are armed police standing at the entrance 24hrs a day! Talk about being safe.

The Jolly chain is an Italian hotel chain, so most staff who work at the desk are Italians to accomodate Italian tourists.
yk is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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As others mention, lots of maids don't speak English, even in the U.S.
suze is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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Our brief trip to London was unplanned (due to a missed flight connection.) We thus hadn't "prepared" the kids for London; I'm sure they expected everyone to look and talk like our across the street neighbors, who are caucasians from the UK. If we had actually planned the trip to London, we would have discussed who lives in London, etc.
missypie is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 02:01 PM
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joram, I hope you can continue with your trip report. And I too sure hope you were not injured. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 07:53 PM
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joram -

"Anyway, she says we compromised. I think I just did what she wanted. But, I had a good time."

That is the key to a marriage that lasts 25+ years!

I along with many others are anxiously awaiting the rest of the story.
LCBoniti is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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me,too
jody is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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Really sorry you had a bad ending.

What you may not know is that 1/5th of the people who live in London where born outside UK. The effect is that London is very much a multi-cultural city so it is very possible that staff may not speak English and could be from anywhere.

Recent immigration (last 6 years) from EU is causing some general pressures within the Tabloid Papers but you will find that generally the British don't like the low pay of hotel work so visitors will meet many people like this. My recent meeting in London showed me that the hotel reception was manned by a Congolese, an Irish, a Dutchman and a Czech .

Honest to God I could only understand the Czech and the Dutchman.

Welcome to globalisation
bilboburgler is online now  
Oct 26th, 2006, 05:23 AM
  #17  
 
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The vast majority of people who work in the, notoriously poorly paid, hotel and hospitality industry are Poles and other Eastern Europeans.

We brits won't work that hard for a fiver an hour.
audere_est_facere is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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ttt
lucyp is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 07:55 AM
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I'm so sorry you were hurt. Hope your trip was great other than the ending.
sassylassi is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Ira,

We don't have that problem here in Malibu, Ca..
barbmike is offline  

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