The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Dinde Day

Thanksgiving Day, and something of an anniversary for me--two years ago today I had my job interview here in Lyon. Of course France doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, so I don't get the day off from work. So this makes my third straight Thanksgiving spent in this office building, without benefit of canned cranberry sauce, giant inflatable cartoon characters on TV, or the Detroit Lions. I wrote about this last year, so I won't go into it again. But I hope y'all are doing all right and have a good one... have some extra stuffing for me.

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Speaking of things I wrote about last year, the Beaujolais Nouveau has once again made its debut with a ceremonial tapping of the first keg at midnight. And just like last year, I managed to miss this one, too: After getting the boys to bed, I sat down for a minute with the idea of resting up before venturing out onto the (freezing, rainy) streets at midnight. Of course I fell asleep almost instantly, as tends to happen to me nearly any time I stop moving. I settled for buying a bottle at Monoprix the next day.

Funny thing: You know how in the US, wine retailers, grocery stores and specialty shops put up those oh-so-Français signs reading "Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé"? Here in France, the signs read, in English, "It's Beaujolais Nouveau Time!"

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A couple of people have e-mailed me to ask how I'm holding up with the strikes going on. To tell you the truth, though Paris is a mess right now, out here in the provinces things are pretty much as usual, at least in my life. The main groups that are on strike are the SNCF (national train service) and the RATP (Paris public transport), so if you're not leaving town and not in Paris, things aren't bad. There have also been one-day strikes by Electricité de France, La Poste, and the newspaper printers, but all that has meant to me was no mail or newspaper on Tuesday. Shrug.

Now some knucklehead has vandalized TGV lines, which has neither increased already-flagging public support for the strikes, made the unions look respectable, or made the government more inclined to make a deal. We'll see what happens... just hope they get this cleared up before our next planned vacation.

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And from the department of WTF?:

It seems that a ridiculously wealthy businessman from Dubai is going ahead with a plan to construct a residential development that is a Disneylike simulacrum of Lyon in Dubai, including a francophone university, an Olympique Lyonnais soccer training center, and a Paul Bocuse culinary school (link in French but worth clicking for the illustration of the quais de la Saone superimposed on the Dubai skyline).

For those of you who, y'know, always wanted to live in Epcot.

[I'll try to remember to put up some pictures to go with this post, so check back]

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