In the spirit of walking and getting out, D and I headed out again on Monday night. We walked to the port again but this time we had the big camera with us. Usually D allows me to “play” with this camera but he had ideas in mind. I was relegated to being his assistant, helping him change lenses when needed.
While sunsets and cruise ships are the norm here in Nice, there are two things that are a little outside this norm. First, there’s the weather. The average high for October is 20 degrees C during the day. We’ve been averaging around 18 degrees the past few days. It’s still sunny outside with lots of blue sky and large, fluffy white clouds. But, it’s a little misleading. I’m not complaining as this temperature drop has given me the chance to accessorize with some of my favourite scarves.
The other thing is this strike. France’s true national sport. D left yesterday for Paris. Luckily, he flew (although his flight had been delayed) and didn’t have to take the train. Luckily, he also didn’t have to take the bus from a city outside Nice to the airport because service was spotty at best. As for the SNCF, they guaranteed that only 1 in 3 trains would run between PACA and Paris. It’s a long enough train ride as it is without the thought of having to deal with the crowds and/or the wait time. Yesterday, I took a quick look through Nice Matin and learned that there was no buses nor tram service in Nice. Getting from Nice to neighbouring cities was, for lack of a better word, interesting. Perhaps this would be a good time to use Vélobleu, you say to yourself. Ha! Judging by this article (French) it probably wasn’t such a great idea. (For those of you who don’t read French, in short, those trying to rent a bicycle via Vélobleu weren’t able to do so due to “server issues”. Either you couldn’t connect or you were disconnected right away. Coincidence?
This morning, in Nice Matin (French) I read that les manifs created giant roadblocks and all-around misery in the city. Thankfully, I don’t need public transportation to run my errands and fortunately I don’t need to be out on the streets during the day. The strike hasn’t had much of an impact on me. I did have to go to Carrefour yesterday afternoon as the fridge was getting a little empty. It was a good little walk; the streets weren’t busy (everyone was either at Cap 3000 or the airport) and the sun was out. Not too far from Nice TNL (the shopping centre) I had to cross the tram line. My first instinct was to check to make sure I wasn’t about to become tram-spam.
Two things happened at once: I remembered the strike (no tram) and I noticed that there were a bunch of people, mostly teens, using the tram lanes as a walkway.
I admit that I had turned a blind eye to this strike business. I don’t know the history or the politics well enough to even consider getting into a discussion about it. I realized, however, how serious this all has become when my mother called me yesterday evening from Toronto. She was watching the news and it’s a huge topic of interest there. (My aunt who lives in Jamaica has even inquired as to her “darling Tanya” and whether I’m okay. Thanks CNN.) So, I’ve had to answer my mother’s questions about this strike.
This isn’t a typical labour strike. This isn’t one of those situations where you stop working in the hopes of forcing your employer to see things your way and sitting down with him/her to hash things out and finally reach an agreement. No, this is political and while many Canadians may say that they’ve been part of or heard reports of strikes, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that most have never taken part in a political strike. What kills me though is the student involvement in the strike.
Let me preface it all by saying that I support speaking up. If something isn’t working for you and/or you have something reasonable and productive to say then speak up. What I don’t understand is the logic behind why young people would want to weigh in on the debate and side with the strikers. Many Canadians, and perhaps Americans too, have quickly learned that there is not enough money in the government’s coffers to pay for our retirements. The days of living a good life from government pension plans are over. If you don’t have other savings you are S.O.L. If you’re like me — older than 18 but younger than 55 — you’re more likely paying the pension for those ahead of you. (If you’re still in school I recommend that you think about saving for your retirement. It’s not that far away.) So, the fact that these lycéens are up in arms is mind-boggling to me. I could understand it if the life expectancy in France was 65 or 70. That would make for a short retirement period and therefore less financial stress on the government. But despite the consumption of wine, cheese, cream sauces, and other things nutritionists report may not be good for the body, the French aren’t dying off at 70.
But maybe someone has a money tree. Maybe there are fields of money trees being cultivated somewhere in France… Would they be argentiers or euroiers? That’s my two cents. I’m keeping the rest for my retirement.