I did not want to wake up this morning, but I did because conference.

I remember being so excited to write my posts each day and now it’s a bit hard to write just because I’m so tired. I was pretty excited about the stuff that happened today. It’s more like the excitement to write has left me for a bit.

Today was the first day of Mobile Learning Week at the UNESCO HQ in Paris. It’s basically a conference that is covering how we can provide education in times of crises (such as the Syrian refugee crisis). I started the day by first climbing the stairs near my AirBnB because I needed to get to an ATM. I had been putting it off and finally I could put it off no longer. After that successful mission, I climbed down the stairs of the hill I was on to brave the metro.

It’s a 40 minute metro ride from my place to the UNESCO building which is pretty long to be honest. I got there just a bit past 10AM which was when the keynote was starting. The talks were all fine up until one of the speakers walked on stage and the whole talk was in Chinese. I didn’t have one of the handy headsets near me so I didn’t get the translation effect either. I was sincerely regretting not taking college Chinese classes as seriously as I should’ve.

keynote

The rest of the talks were pretty interesting. I don’t know much about mobile education, but it seems the answer for most of these people is using mobile apps to reach the masses. It got me wondering if internet is really that cheap/accessible for refugees seeing as I’ve been having trouble having that much internet connection while wandering Europe. There were also some statements from people saying a lot of these “solutions” are coming from the privileged West and that they still may not fit the needs of refugees even with all this extensive testing.

There were two coffee breaks but no actual lunch provided (which I guess you can’t expect that since it’s a free event). I ended up leaving a bit early so I could go around Paris a bit and sightsee. Unfortunately, I was a bit too ambitious in my planning and ended up getting tired halfway through.

The first thing I saw after leaving was the Eiffel Tower because 1) it’s very close to the UNESCO building and 2) you can’t do Paris without having an Eiffel Tower picture. It was quite amazing to see in person, but I had no temptation to try going up it. I got a lot of pictures though which I guess is worth something. The park nearby was beautiful even though most of the trees were leaf-less.

eiffel tower

I took the regional train to a station near the Notre Dame Cathedral. I saw lots of really cool looking buildings in this area. I think most of Paris is like this. I walked to a place called De ClercQ which has some really good fries. Since I got them in Paris that makes them French fries except according to what I read online they’re actually Belgium style. Oops. They were pretty good though. I also walked to another place nearby called Au Petit Grec which has really great crepes. The one I got was the Nutella, Coco, Banana, and Grand Marnier one. It was really good, but I probably should’ve ordered without the Grand Marnier. Oh well.

yum crepe

By now I’m pretty tired, but I try to truck onwards. I get to the Cathedral and it’s free entry (yay!), but no food allowed which meant I couldn’t go in thanks to my fries (oops). I walked to Sainte Chapelle next since it was close by but found out 1) it was already closed for the day and 2) it’s not free to enter like I was lead to believe. I was pretty much demoralized after this so I got a bubble tea at a place called Chamie and then took the metro home. Chamie was ok as far as bubble tea goes. The tea I got was a lychee black tea with mango boba. The boba was good, but the tea was very water-y tasting. I think it’s because lychee has a very subtle flavor to be honest versus some of the other fruits out there. I was not very impressed though.

outside the cathedral

I’m pretty tired so I might skip out on the second day of talks and tour around Paris more. I’m not sure. We will see.