I really like Paris. But if I were to complain about anything, I would make the following few statements about the Charles de Gaulle airport:
- People don’t smile at Charles de Gaulle. Not the restaurant staff, not the people at the check-in desks, not the people at the security checkpoints, not the people at the terminal — not even the taxi driver dropping you off at the airport in the first place! There are no clowns at Charles de Gaulle but if there were, I bet they would be the type that has teardrop makeup on their cheeks.
- Charles de Gaulle, a modern airport for international travelers, offers a choice of more than five different newspapers absolutely free. All in French…
- 200 ml of orange juice after the security checkpoint costs about 5 euros. That’s 25 euros per litre, or roughly 20x the cost in your average supermarket.
- The Charles de Gaulle airport toilets have one of the shortest designs I’ve ever come across in terms of back-to-front length. This makes using them challenging and, yes, somewhat disgusting.
- The Charles de Gaulle airport toilets are extremely shallow. I will not get specific here, but suffice to say it’s another challenge indeed.
- The Charles de Gaulle airport toilet seats are not even matching the toilet! Perhaps this photo best illustrates this:
Last Thursday, Patrick and I went to Paris to meet up with the European Mozilla team and attend to the French community event Mozilla Add-Ons Workshop (MAOW). Although most of the event was in French — the only word I know in French is bonjour (thanks Alix; keep ’em coming!) — it was still a very rewarding and fun experience with keynotes in English by Brian King and Wladimir Palant, creator of the Adblock Plus extension.
William really deserves a huge pat in the back for pulling this event off. It’s fantastic that Mozilla has the ability and resources to gather their local communities like this because it’s very obvious that it’s appreciated by everyone attending. On a more personal note, I was excited to meet Daniel Glazman for the first time. And of course, meeting Brian and Stas again was great, as always.
Wladimir Palant doing what he does best — blocking ads! Photo (c) Brian King.
Aside from the MAOW event, I was also in Paris because of more direct business purposes in my role as SUMO manager. I had the great pleasure of meeting Delphine Lebédel and Vanessa Yve, interns at the Paris office working on SUMO localization. We sat down together for a long time to talk about their experiences with SUMO and the result was a long list of invaluable feedback that we will be working hard on incorporating into SUMO.
A huge thanks to Vanessa and Delphine for being so pleasant to work with and for being honest and open about their initial confusion and frustration while working on the SUMO website. It’s constructive feedback like this that really allows us to work efficiently on creating something truly useful.
Visiting the Paris office was also an opportunity for me to meet face to face with William again to discuss SUMO and the perception of the project among the local communities in Europe. We had a great, long meeting where we touched on this and many other things.
All in all, it was a very rewarding trip. The European Mozillians are really really fun to hang out with. :)