Our Pre-Departure trip to Paris

Our original plan was to make a stop-over in Paris before we flew to Cameroon. But it turned out that it is much more expensive to make a stop-over than to make a separate round trip to Paris, just like the idiosyncrasy we all are used to that a one way ticket carries a higher price than a round trip and it is cheaper if you have a Saturday stay-over in the US, for the benefits of consumers, of course.

We had a great time in Paris, Janice had a list of ten places we must go to visit, we finished twelve with time to spare. Our day spent traveling to Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy was probably our favorite. Tom took some spectacular pictures - the clouds were just breathtaking that day. We also went to a very unusual production of Carmina Burana in the Sainte Chapelle on the Ilse of the Cite. The concert was given by four (yes, that's correct four) musicians who played a great variety of instruments and did all of the singing. We enjoyed it very much. The group's name was Ensemble ALEGRIA.

What happened on Sept.11 over-shadowed every thing we enjoyed in Paris.  The crowd gathered in front of a TV store watching CNN  in the Jewish neighborhood near the Bastille changed the mood of our trip immediately. We rushed back to our hotel and remained glued to our TV for the next 20 hours straight.   In the next three days, we lived in three different hotels, waiting and trying to get back to home. Finally on Saturday the 15th, after lining up at different Air France counters for eight (yes, 8) hours, we got our boarding passes to return to Washington DC via the first flight of Air France since Tuesday's terror attacks on the US. So we had three extra days in Paris! But those were not vacation days.

Now we must all ask questions more fundamental than just who are the terrorists and how we can strike back. What they, whoever they are, have done is inhumane, horrible, and inexcusable by any standard you choose. As  civilized beings, we must ask:  1) what have we done to induce so much hatred from so many people, some well educated, some with families and children, that they would not mind to sacrifice their own lives to demonstrate their commitment  for their cause  2) What can we do to alleviate the situation so that we can resolve the conflict in the long run.