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Who is using what kind of cell phone and why? We are only interested in being able to contact members of our group, not calling home to the US.
What's the status of connecting to the Internet? WiFi? Internet cafes, or bring my own lap top?
Any info appreciated, thanks!

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You're welcome.
You mentioned that you had some "minor mobility problems."
I have mobility problems, too. We had planned to use the buses for our transportation while in Paris.
We soon realized that not all of the buses were equipped for the disabled. As a result, we left the
wheelchair at the apartment and decided to use the nearby Metro. The Metro was a good choice
except those stairs and the long corridors did some damage to me. Even though we took our time,
stopped and rested and sat when I was able, I returned home with a stress fracture to my right foot.
It took almost 6 to 7 months before my better foot healed. My orthopaedic doctor said that all of the
walking (almost 89 miles during the month's time) was good for parts of my body (only gained
1-1/2 to 2-pounds), it wasn't good for other parts -- my legs and foot. Still, I would use the Metro
if we returned. I would incorporate using the wheelchair more often, possibly every other day
to thwart the stress on my limbs.
One of the reasons, we had jumped at our apartment choice was that there was an elevator. Plus,
our apartment was located one flight up, so if the elevator was out of order, I could manage the climb.
We have the MacBook Air and I purchased the external hard and floppy drives. Since you said
that you have the smallest Mac, is that the one you have?
No, you have the LIGHTEST Mac :O). I have the very small version of the MacBook, can't be bothered with the external drives. I do a lot of my work on my Mac and need all the bells and whistles, but the Air is sooooo cool!
Ouch! Sounds horrible! Yes, I understand exactly what you're saying about the traveling and mobility.

I told Andi and Lotta that we either had to be on the first floor or in a building with a WORKING elevator. It narrowed our choices, but otherwise, I'd be wiped out before I ever got anywhere. As it is, I'll be shipping or bringing my special "commode" seat, as I found out that handicapped accessible bathrooms in the Untours apartments were unheard of!

I'm okay as long as I pace myself and plan ahead. I travel to relax and enjoy myself and I know that's not possible when I'm in pain. My knees are almost non-existent, so I have a lot of trouble with stairs. I also have fibromyalgia, so I try to work in naps when I can, then, I'm good to go. I am familiar with the stairs in the Metro stations (yikes!) and again, don't plan on being in a hurry to get anywhere. If worse comes to worse, we'll take a taxi now and then.

If you have any other tips, I'd be happy to hear them! We don't plan on doing a lot of rushing around, but do want to get to the Louvre and Versailles - how did you make out there? We are planning a full day for Versailles, as it is out of the city.
Our S.W.I.M., Inc. non-profit group has several members battling fibromyalgia. Swimming helps.
Have you tried swimming?
I had no trouble using the toilet in our Paris apartment. It was in a separate room. Although, I
did have to turn a little side ways because my full leg brace would bang into the washer/dryer
that had been squeezed into the toilet room.
The shower was another story. It was very narrow and small.
Bill had to be with me, so that I might lean on his shoulder to step high and
up through the narrow shower door opening. There was no way I could use my crutches for support. We had packed our clothes using plastic trash bags to reduce wrinkling, so Bill used a couple of the bags to water-proof the hamper. The hamper became my chair.
The elevators were petite. When we placed the folded wheelchair inside along the diagonal
and I squeezed in a corner, Bill had to reach in to push the down/up button. He did this when I first got into the corner furthest from the elevator buttons. He used the stairs.
We were able to load our luggage inside the elevator, but a couple of trips were necessary to
transport the two bags and wheelchair and me down to the ground level.
We skipped Versailles because they herd the tourists through the palace. That wasn't the way we wanted to see the palace. The grounds would have been another story since you may spend as much time as you desire. We decided to visit Giverny, Claude Monet's house and garden. There were a few steps involved . . . my notes aren't in front of me, so I can't tell you the
exact number at this time. I'd say 12 + landing + another 14 or so to move from house/garden level to the water garden level. http://giverny.org/gardens/
A train ride took us to Giverny area. You could see the house and gardens in a day. We opted to stay overnight at a B&B. A bus located near the train station took tourists to Claude Monet's house and gardens.
If you have a wheelchair, you might want to consider having it with you. After my right foot screamed in pain that I had to stop walking, we used the chair. This occurred on Thursday evening, less than a week before we were flying back home. We were within walking distance of many of the sights we wanted to visit or revisit if we so desired. The wheelchair was a life- saver.
The Musée du Louvre is a place in which one may become lost. The map was a help, but still we had problems. We spent close to an hour's time, for instance, trying to use the elevator and finding an Exit that led us to the outside.
The Musée d'Orsay was much more favorable for the disabled. It was easy to get around. Elevators were available for only the disabled or parents with strollers (child within). Plus, it wasn't as congested as the Musée du Louvre.
My husband had voted for the MacBook Air. He wanted something light to add to his already heavy backpack. If I had my choice today, I wouldn't purchase the Air. Yes, I would want the CD/DVD ROM and be able to switch batteries when it became necessary. Fortunately, we have a nearby Apple Store. When the time comes, we'll be able to carry the laptop to the store for the technician to change the battery instead of mailing it.
An alternative to taking a laptop is to buy a SanDisk 4 or 8GB Cruzer storage stick. It comes loaded with Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird as well as an encryption program to provide secure use. We load essential documents, photos, and email and take it with us to use at any internet cafe. It's only 2inches long and 3/4 inch wide and fits in a pocket readily.It also has a synchronization program so that anything you save can be integrated with your home computer. You can also use it to synch your laptop with your home computer if you do take the laptop. However, taking your own laptop (we use an Acer Aspire One mini notebook) is probably more convenient if your apartment has wireless or ethernet connection and if you don't mind carrying the power supply. Pat
We had purchased recently the Acer Aspire PC laptop at Costco Warehouse for $299.99. It's smaller than the MacBook Air and a little bit lighter, as well as cheaper. There's another use for the Acer Aspire. We bought it to use with my CapTel (captioned) telephone. The screen is larger than the one on the phone, so it should be easier for me to read conversations. The CapTel hasn't been set up yet, so I can't say much about the CapTel. You need a standard or analog line, and we have a digital line due to FIOS. The new line will be installed this week.

Getting back to your suggestion about using a SanDisk 4 or 8GB Cruzer. We had carried a couple of Cruzers with us. I had placed some of the French music on it to be transferred to the Mac loaner. Even though Bill had a separate Wolverine device on which to store photos, I had a couple 2GB Cruzers with me since they're small and don't take up much room. I brought them just in case something happened to the Wolverine (external storage device). At home, I have continued to carry a Cruzer in my purse; it's available if ever I need to download data while visiting a friend.



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