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As most of you know we are supposed to be in China/Southeast Asia right now. Actually we were supposed to be sitting at home now recovering from our Asian adventures. As a side effect of personal and technical problems associtated with my current work contract we were not able to leave on June 19th. By July 1st we were still hopeful and by August 1st we'd decided that we'd visit China for one month and return in the Winter for Southeast Asia. By August 10th we had accepted the fact that none of this was happening and we'd be lucky to go to Boring Oregon for vacation let alone somewhere foreign and exotic. I hadn't given up hope though and started studying the Baltic states and looking over VISA requirements for Russia because we could spend two weeks there and see quite a bit. Two weeks in China wouldn't have gotten us anywhere so it was out. My contract dragged and I finally decided to make our life easier and go somewhere we'd been before and what better place than France?

By Thursday night I was considering apartments in Paris and had a couple selected. I contacted a couple of agencies about apartments that were available on the dates I wanted and told them I'd be in Paris on Monday and waited. Business in France works at a very different pace than business in America. In America the almighty dollar rules and if you want something you just flash the green and presto it get's done. If you want it done faster you flash more. In France things are very very different. In France service means something different altogether. It means that nobody will bother you while you're eating your meal and they won't bring your check to you before you ask because it's rude and they won't assume you are in a hurry because it might seem to you they're only interested in your money. One of the agencies I contacted (Lodgis) had about 50 people working for them and about 1000 apartments, they didn't respond to any of my requests for several apartments that were marked as available. None of the other companies responded too. Maybe they saw my request come over the wire but it was lunch or since it was Friday they figured if I really wanted it I'd cancel my plane tickets and wait for them to get done baking their croissants and finish off their apertif before rebooking for a time that would be more appropriate for them. Maybe they were playing hard to get.

Anyway last year we walked through the 17th arrondissment and really liked it so we decided to find an apartment in that neighborhood. In years past before Paris took over all the suberbs there was a town called Batignolles at the base of Butte Montmartre. That area is still called Batignolles even though it's way inside the Paris city limites. We got a good feeling about it and wanted a place near square Batignolles, a nice pretty park with some strange masked duck looking birds. There is a market street near, plenty of shops and lots of eateries so it seemed perfect for us. It really isn't near any tourist attractions but that's OK because we go to Paris for Paris and nothing more. We've been tourists and now we just want to be residents. The Batignolles area is a very residential French quarter and a great place to get an authentic French experience. So in attempting to search for apartments in Batignolles I realized I didn't know how to spell it so I googled batignolles because Google will correct you. The first link was a forum post asking about a certain apartment in Batignolles. The responses were positive so I followed the link and found one apartment (not an agency per se) owned by an American living on the east coast. It was a bit pricy but looked nice so I emailed him asking for a reservation. Within 3 hrs I'd talked to him on the phone, he'd emailed me the rental contract and I'd filled it out, signed it and was ready to fax it back. He took my credit card too which would never happen with a French company. On Saturday I faxed the rental agreement back and we had our apartment. Why can't the French figure this out? If you have something to sell make it easy for people to buy it. It's not hard...