Last night I had dinner with the Gallaghers, which was a really nice time!  Gallagher and I rode a really crowded train from LAC to his apartment in the 5th arrondissement.  We talked shop and how UVA needs to stop hiring more Nuclear/High Energy people and who’s doing good work in Solid State.  I also got to hear of one of the new students in the lab make an interesting and highly illegal waste disposal decision.  “Well, he got *most* of it in the toilet…”  If you were there I want details.

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Tom and Betty are living in the roof of a building that looks out across the Seine to Notre Dame cathedral.  It’s pretty stunning at night, although I’d bet a nickel it’s not too shabby during the day, either.  The Gallaghers’ apartment is probably smaller than my studio, and I think he’s paying roughly twice what I am, if not more.  There’s a small aisle in the apartment where Tom can stand at full height, and the ceiling quickly slopes down to about 120cm on both sides of the room.  Betty is spending her time trying to teach herself woodcarving.  She was trying to make a little wooden bear out of a little block of maple.

Tom put on a tie and we walked around the corner to Au Phil… du Vin, a nice litle restaurant serving classic French cuisine.  The brasserie next door was advertising Six Nations in the windows.  I started with the biggest tomato and mozarella salad I’ve ever seen, Tom had an avocado and shrimp salad, but I don’t recall what Betty started with.  For the main course Tom and I both had the duck confit, which was really nice, and Betty had boar.  Finally, for I had a dinner-plate sized creme brulee.  Three rather nice courses for 27EUR.

Tom and Betty seem to really enjoy being over here, although I’m not *exactly* sure what Betty does while Tom is at LAC.  Tom has been helping Pierre Pillet write a grant, which I think he finds more enjoyable than writing grants back home.  I think Tom enjoys the people and the pace, and I certainly can’t blame him.  Leaving the restaurant Gallagher lost his scarf!  It wasn’t on the coat rack anymore!  I’ll probably lend him one tomorrow so that he doesn’t have to go home early.

After dinner (and the previously noted magazine kiosk) I went back to my hotel, where I picked up my banking paperwork.  I’ve been calling the hotel every day to check if any mail has arrived for me. Tuesday they finally decided I had mail.  Four bank letters, post-marked the 5th through the 9th. Those guys are a bunch of clowns.  But, I finally have my ATM pin code and online access code!

As I was finishing up at work tonight Andrea was talking to Floreal, our IT guy.  It turns out Floreal lives in Montrouge, which is like the closest suburb to Cite Internationale.  He offered me, through Andrea, a ride home.  The fun part was that Floreal speaks about as much Anglais as I speak Francais.  The car ride ended up taking about the same time as the RER normally does, but it was fun to see the neighborhoods that the train takes me through every day, and Floreal and I managed to “converse” for the whole ride, powered mostly by good will and more gesturing than is probably safe for motor vehicle operation.

Oh, and the Carrefour 10EUR underwear set has been replaced by giant Stade Francais rugby posters.  I liked the underwear ad better, but I’ll try to snap a photo for the rugby fans.  Kisses!