Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Joys of Paris

It's fabulous here in Paris, but it can also be very frustrating. Today for example there is a strike, pretty standard practice in this country and we've adjusted to them. However, it is the egocentric nature of many Parisians that really makes us crazy. I recently tweeted that my husband, not a small man, was pushed out of the way when boarding a bus. There is no orderly queuing like London, just a free for all that resembles a rugby scrum when the bus finally arrives. And the victors? Usually the little old ladies.
Pictured here is a Paris bus stuck, not in traffic, not behind a delivery van, but in an intersection, thanks to road construction and the owner of an illegally parked Peugeot. We, along with several of those lethal old ladies were waiting patiently at the bus stop a mere 30 meters away. At first it wasn't clear why the bus wasn't moving or why so many passengers were getting off, then we realised it couldn't squeeze between the barrier and the car.

Eventually some of the city workers, who after at least 10 minutes of looking on, moved the barriers so the bus could pass, but I couldn't help thinking about the driver of that Peugeot. Of course that parking space was more important than the passage of the bus.

Another incidence occurred in the Monoprix supermarket. I told the woman unpacking her groceries behind me that she should switch checkouts as I was waiting for a price on one of the items. She moved, unpacked her remaining groceries and then returned to pick up the items that she had left behind me.  At precisely that point another woman moved in and began unpacking her groceries in front of her pile. She claimed the woman didn't have the right to change checkouts as my cashier wasn't closing. Yes, living in a city can be tough, but a little kindness to strangers can make it more bearable.

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