Logical Progress Advancing a Little Bit Every Day

28Nov/110

Paris 2011: November 28 – Day 1

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Today I got to meet my classmates for the first time. I was a bit nervous, but very optimistic. I was not able to attend the pre-trip meetings due to my secondment in London, but was assured that all would be well, and it was.

I woke up early after a restless sleep and headed to Paul for a coffee and pastry. After a few sips of my latte I was ready to truly face the day. I still had a few hours to go before my classmates arrived so I retired to my room and got some work done for my day job. Although I’m technically on vacation, I have a commitment to ensure log jams don’t occur while I’m out, especially with a recent catastrophic facilities incident still under repair back in London.

I stepped outside right on time to find a full length bus unloading severely jet-lagged students, I knew these were my people. I quickly recognized Kate in the crowd and introduced myself in person. I made a round of introductions to a few students waiting to get their rooms sorted, and waited patiently with them in support of their plight. I’m lucky since my room had already been rearranged this morning, and I was well settled in.

After some jostling around with luggage we headed off on a short walking tour toward the riverboat docks. It’s been seven years since my last study abroad program in the Benelux countries, and I had forgotten what it’s like to run in such a huge pack. I’m looking forward to settling into a smaller group of classmates for our own excursions.

Kate and Dr. Kelly helped to familiarize us with the area around our hotel, which was helpful since it appears there are two or three separate ways to get there, and a number of transportation hubs servicing different metro lines. We worked our way up to the docs with plenty of time to spare, so a few groups split off to do different things. Being the bad influence that I am, I suggested we all run out for a quick pint of beer before getting on the boat! A few of the more jet-lagged students looked a bit weary about the idea, but others agreed that it would probably be helpful to their situation.

We headed up to the north bank of the river and found a nice little pub. After a pint each and some difficulty splitting the bill we headed back, but not without stopping in the pet shop! Can you believe it cost over €1000 to buy a puppy? Must be a component of the overall expensive nature of a city like Paris, in addition to the Parisian love of dogs. No time for that, we were going to be late for the boat!

Riverboat tour on the SeineWe made it back to the boat and took our seats in the top. I was determined to snap some good pictures since I’m normally not much of a photographer on vacation or otherwise. I got a bit carried away and started snapping left and right until I realized I had already taken 200 photographs, and we weren’t even halfway through the tour! By the end of our journey up and down the Seine I had taken over 400 pictures. Surely this would need to be culled down, as my 16GB iPhone 4S didn’t have the capacity for such flagrant abuse of the shutter.

We had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves, and so decided to chill out for a while. Everyone wanted to settle into their rooms and possibly take naps, which is totally acceptable in my book. I took the opportunity to again catch up on my day job, and have a look see into what the markets were doing. Since we had quite a bit of time before we needed to meet up for our group dinner, I got a bit trigger happy on an option trade. There was a bit of volatility in the S&P and it was showing overbought signals for the day, so I initiated a put position on the index ETF at 119. I wasn’t too sure how much risk I was willing to take so I put in a limit order for a modest gain in the hopes that I could go to dinner and get it executed. Sure enough, it dipped below 119 and the put premium rose enough to take out my limit. 7.23% gain on a holding period of 90 minutes. That’s not bad on an annualized basis, but in hindsight I’m not here to trade, I’m here to learn.

Dinner was amazing, I opted to stay on the safe side and ordered a simple salmon dish while I watched my classmates breaking into snail shells. I shared some really interesting conversations with the classmates at my table: Ashley, Jenna, Jimmy, Allison and Ben. I was really starting to break the ice tonight with some great people, and I was really happy to see how easy going and excited they were about this entire trip. I think I’ve found my “crew,” so-to-speak.

I was in the mood for another pint after dinner, but nobody was really keen to join me as they had been up all day in their jet-lagged state. I don’t blame them, it was definitely time for bed as tomorrow will be our first business visit and we need to be in good form.

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