Alive! Around the World: Philippines, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and Paris


Take Alive! with you wherever you go! Bring your recent copy of Alive! with you when you travel and snap a high resolution photo of you holding Alive!

Send in your pictures and descriptive text using the online form, and we’ll publish it.



“My friend Jacqueline Basuel (Public Works/Contract Administration) invited me to go to her birthplace, the Philippines. This was my first time visiting Asia but our first time visiting the island of Boracay. We spent five days there but a total of 25 days in the Philippines. The hospitality displayed from her family was superb.”

— Lisa Adams, LAPD


“#TikTokmademedoit – Carp Cafe, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I saw this Japanese restaurant on TikTok, and it did not disappoint. The food was delicious, the service was great and the koi fish were ready to eat.”

— Minerva Gutierrez, Airports



Pablo Ninofranco, retired employee of the Harbor Department, and his wife, Josie toured Africa. “These pictures were taken at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa in February 2024. All wet!”

— Pablo Ninofranco, Retired, Harbor

Letter From Paris
Brides, Firemen, Vin de la Maison

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile

Bonjour mes compagnons de voyage. It’s April in Paris!

Over the years, I have visited Paris many times, flying from New York on the Concorde, hitchhiking there regularly while serving in the British military, and even driving a 1979 Stutz Bearcat that looked somewhat like the Batmobile from Málaga, Spain and the City of Lights never lost its romantic charm. With sightseeing of the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Basilica of Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, etc. behind me now, there is nothing finer than the smell of freshly baked baguettes and coffee in the morning or a late-night dinner with friends sharing a bottle or two of vin de la Maison around the Latin Quarter and La Place de la Contrescarpe as James Joyce and Earnest Hemmingway did before me.

People-watching is a great way to spend a hot afternoon in Paris. Once, while sitting outside Café La Contrescarpe opposite the square’s small central park drinking adult beverages, a group of young ladies accompanied by a whistle-blowing escort appeared and proceeded to secure two of their group with duct tape to a lamppost; once finished, they all retired to the café, ordered drinks and cheered on their friend’s antics while trying to escape. Apparently, this is how an “Enterrement de vie de fille” (bachelorette party) is celebrated in Paris.

All roads lead to Paris central marker.

April is an excellent time for a first-time visit to Paris, as it’s the start of the tourist season. Hotels are cheaper, and the crowds are also smaller than in summer. Easter Monday falls on April 1 this year (Lundi de Pâques) and is a public holiday (jour férié) when people spend time with family or friends, shops and businesses close, and public transport runs on a Sunday schedule.

The guidebooks and bus tours make it easy to see all the famous sights, so try something special like a performance of the Opéra National de Paris at the Palais Garnier, which was built between 1862 and 1875 and designed by the 35-year-old architect Charles Garnier, this 118,404-square-foott building has the largest stage in Europe and can hold up to 450 artists. It was initially called “Salle des Capucines” because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines but changed to “Palais Garnier” in memory of its architect, Charles Garnier. The mythical hall is open to the public, and it’s straightforward to take a self-guided tour when the auditorium is closed (with or without an audio guide); there might even be a rehearsal, but nothing can replace the experience of a live performance.

The dress code for Parisians attending the operas and ballets tends to be fancy, so if you do attend an event, have a little fun and dress to impress. During the intermissions while drinking champagne in the Grand Foyer, check out the ornate, gilded architecture and paintings on the ceiling; they were inspired by the Hall of Mirrors from the Palace of Versailles.

Once, while I was talking to one of the custodians, she explained that there was an

Basilica of Sacre Coeur de Montmartre.

urban legend that, at the turn of the century, during certain romantic or tragic operas, people in similar situations would gather in a small area in front of the stage to commiserate each other. She also informed me that ten meters beneath the stage lies a 25-by-50-meter artificial lake surrounded by vaults, built during the theatre’s construction in 1860 to relieve pressure from groundwater infiltration and to help maintain the foundations of this enormous building. Unfortunately, tourists have no access to it. Still, its long-submerged labyrinth-like corridors are like a subterranean parking lot, and firefighters from all over France come to practice mock rescues in its dark waters just in case of flood in similar buildings.

I hope that my letter inspires you to visit and explore Paris independently.

Bonne journée mes amis.
Le Capitaine