Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recyling, Being Handicapped and Strikes

The French, and all of Europe for that matter, bring new meaning to the word "recycle."

Just a few examples pictured here. The Louvre was once a palace; the mausoleum was once a church, the Roman-built amphitheater in Vienne is still used for performances, and the Roman-built amphitheater in Avignon is now home to humane bullfighting (the bull lives to fight another day). No worry about bond elections to fund new football or baseball fields. Use what you already have. I like that idea. It's what makes Europe so interesting. Yes, there are new, modern buildings in Paris but they are really ugly. Not even sure I want to show you pictures of them.

Cobblestone streets are just fine with the French. It makes it really hard to be handicapped in France. We saw one person in a motorized wheel chair. He was really struggling to get around. At the church on the hill in Lyon where there are lots of steps and no railings, there is an elevator. But you have to go down six steps to get to it. As our guide in Lyon said, "we are a complicated people." I did see handicap parking, but not much of it.

Some of my family worried about us traveling to France during the strike by unions over increasing the number of years you must work before you can retire. We only saw them once and that was in Avignon. They dress in orange, play loud music and sometimes shut things down. We couldn't go to Versailles because the workers there were on strike for one day, the day we wanted to go there. Lots of disappointed people on our boat.

We learned that the next Saturday the lock workers on the Seine would not got to work. That meant all boat traffic in and out of Paris would come to a standstill for one day. We got back without problems but the next week's cruise would come back to Paris a day early due to the strikers actions.

When we arrived at Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris we were greeted by a TV reporter from CANAL, which according to our guide is her favorite TV station. The reporter's English was pretty good. He wanted to know how we felt about coming to a country where workers were striking. I stepped forward when no one else did. I told him I thought it was a good thing that the French government was afraid of its citizens. In the U.S. we would be better off if the government felt that way. Don't know if I made it on the air because we couldn't get local programming on the boat. I do believe that; it wasn't just for the reporter. We just sit and take whatever the legislators do. I think the Tea Party will make it even harder for government to work because it has caused a rift in the Republican party.

Just some thoughts on a sunny, warm day in Lincoln, CA
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