Prologue: The long weekend in Paris was a spur of the moment idea hatched by my daughter. I was initially sceptical about the cost. Summer fares to Europe are never less than extortionate.
My cousin in Paris pointed out that fares spike sharply at the end of June and remain high throughout the summer months. Armed with that information, we checked flights for the first week of June and found some surprisingly good deals on round trip tickets from JFK.
I last travelled to Paris in the early summer of 1958 when I was an infant and still requiring bottle feedings, a fact that triggered one of the more momentous public outbursts of my Mom's adult life.
As the story goes, she and my Dad were cued up to enter the Gardens displaying the works of Rodin. When their turn arrived, the security guard declined to allow my parents entry with the bag holding my diapers and bottles of formula. Dad stood back and let Mom go nuts; it was one of the rare occasions where a temper tantrum was in order.
After pointing out to the guard that, 'The French are utter pigs', my Mom went on to add that, 'If America and Britain hadn't rushed in to save your stupid asses, the French would have lost the war and still be under Nazi tyranny'. Way to go Ma. Those of us who ever witnessed her go crazy at the correct time understand how enjoyable this can be.
Of course, it is implied that one first witness innumerable episodes of less than helpful outbursts to fully capture the rich enjoyment of a 'kill hit'.
I have never travelled on Air France, but the tickets were reasonable, so we booked the flights. Three days before travel, Air France misplaced a plane en route to Paris from Brazil. Truthfully, I can say this didn't faze me. Nor did the fighting in Israel after I paid full fare for those tickets. My only regret ever, is that had I known the course of history, I'd surely have secured a cheaper fare.
I believe in statistical regression to the mean.
That's mathematical mean, for those of you who've realised I'm a bit of a bitch. This statistical phenomenon occurs when a nonrandom sample from a population gives two measures that are not correlated.
So, for example, (Ruth's) commercial planes are rarely lost at sea is one measure. And Air France can't find the lost plane is the second. These two are not randomly sampled data. This is Ruth math. So anyway, I figured my daughter and I would be safer after an air tragedy, since everyone will be extra careful - for a bit.
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport after a somewhat bumpy flight, where the staff woke us from Ambien induced sleep to eat. I believe in a light sedative when traveling across multiple time zones. As a physician who has been awakened for laboring moms for the last 19 years, I understand the importance of getting a jump on circadian disturbances before they jump you.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Twelve: Onwards and Upwards By Steve Rudd
I don't do early mornings. At least I don't do them very well. I mean, was it 5 a.m. already? We'd had less than two hours of sleep, and it was time for my friend Evangelina to whisk me to the airport in order for me to catch my 7:50 a.m. flight with 'Mexicana' back to Los Angeles.
Having joined a bunch of Evangelina's friends for some food and drink at a cantina close to Bellas Artes in the Historical Centre of Mexico City the previous night,
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Part Eleven: Going Barmy in Barra. By Steve Rudd
As I grew increasingly accustomed to the laid-back beach-life around which the tiny Pacific Coast town of Melaque revolves, I realised it was going to be no easy task to pull myself away from this area of Jalisco, Mexico.
The pace of life which afflicts Melaque is a world away from the hustle and bustle that comes as part and parcel of larger towns and cities
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Ten: Sun, Sand, Sea ... and a Man on a Mission. By Steve Rudd
In terms of beaches, visitors to Mexico genuinely are spoilt for choice. World-class stretches of sand are to be found on both The Pacific Coast and The Gulf of Mexico, with old favourites in the ridiculously commercialised forms of Acapulco and Cancun still managing to draw in huge crowds with ease.
However, some of the country's lesser-known beaches are
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Nine: A Perfect Demonstration of How to Protest. By Steve Rudd
Fans of folk who like to voice their opinions can't go wrong in Mexico. I mean, barely a day goes by without some demonstration or protest taking to the streets, and those in its favour tend to come out in such force that it's only a matter of time before the 'rally' passes you by.
You certainly don't need to make the effort to seek out such rallies
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Eight: All Aboard 'The Nerve-Shredder' to Puebla! By Steve Rudd
I really couldn't blame the lady at the ticket counter for giving me such a puzzled look. After all, I had just asked for a ticket counter instead of a ticket.
I was at the main bus station in Oaxaca City, Mexico, intent on buying a ticket north to Puebla. Having clocked numerous signs emblazoned with the world Taquiller, I wrongly assumed that such a word was the Spanish for Tickets. In truth,
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Seven: City Living in the South of Mexico By Steve Rudd
What's a non-Spanish-speaking Englishman to do when he arrives in an unfamiliar city in the south of Mexico at the crack of dawn? In my experience, he lumbers over to the nearest beverage vendor whilst pawing in his pockets for money, hoping he's got enough loose change on his being to bag him a hot drink.
'What do you fancy?' asked Salvador, a pal from Ibiza who I'd met in Mexico City.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Six: A Storm Over Troubled Pyramids By Steve Rudd
Should any visitor to Mexico City be in need of a little fresh air or a drastic change of scenery, a visit to Teotihuacan comes highly recommended. Languishing some fifty kilometers north of the city centre, it makes for a simple day out, and it can be reached either by public bus or through one of the many tour companies operating out of Mexico City.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part 5 Mexico City: A Beginners Guide By Steve Rudd
It's no mean feat getting to grips with what is purported to be the most populous city on Planet Earth, yet once you get your bearings, Mexico City is a deceptively simple place to get around, whether on foot or courtesy of public transport.
But where to go first?
The most obvious place to kick-start one's exploratory forays in Mexico City is at its main
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part 4 Cheap thrills on the Mexico City metro By Steve Rudd
If you think travelling on The London Underground can be stressful at times, spare a thought for the millions of people who use Mexico City's Metro System every day, especially during peak hours when folk are attempting to get backwards and forwards to work.
Having said that, rattling along at high speed beneath the streets of Mexico City is an exhilarating experience not to be missed.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part 3 A chance encounter with a city full of surprises... By Steve Rudd
Ensconced in LA to write like never before, I didn't get much chance to make myself at home in Los Angeles before being offered a different writing job entirely, courtesy of a well-connected friend of a friend.
Vowing to return to LA as soon as possible, I promptly found myself heading back to LAX where I boarded a Mexicana flight direct to Mexico City, a short-haul of just four hours
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part 2 By Steve Rudd
As I bustled onto an empty shuttle bus bound for Downtown LA, I reflected that the way I'd been granted access into the US this time around was a far-cry from the way in which I'd been 'processed' on my previous trip when I'd touched down at JFK airport in New York.
Back in 2006, on the cusp of a mad sixty day dash around the states via 'Greyhound' bus, the Customs official at JFK had wanted to know almost everything about me.
Places to Visit - Cusco, Peru - La Ultima Cena Con Cuy By Ruth
The flight from Puerto Maldonado was uneventful. The flight attendant served coca tea, Inca Cola, and Cusqueno beer to interested passengers. The city of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, sits in the Andes Mountains. The elevation is roughly 11,000 feet. The updrafts buffeted the plane a bit during landing.
At the airport, old women peddling bags of coca leaves crowded towards the passengers.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road - Catching up with Steve Rudd as he hits America in style ... Part 1 By Steve Rudd
The flight from London to LA was a long haul to say the least, yet it was made more tolerable by the company. I'd barely got settled when the guy beside me introduced himself as Jim Becket, a film director and documentary producer who lived in a place called Ojai, a little north of Los Angeles. He'd just returned from working in Athens where he'd sold the rights of his latest documentary to