The Usual Summer Un-News

Cafe-Bar L'Estaminet, on Oberkampf
The photo of the bar-café l'Estaminet on Oberkampf
is not tilted; it's the street.

Versailles To Ask For Billions

Paris:- Saturday, 12. July 1997:- I usually have a fair passion for news, for reading the lines and between them - but I think I must be getting to be French. As mid-July approaches, I care less for looking for the nutty stuff which I like the most. The serious stuff is rare and what there is, is unreal or uninteresting.

My kids now have some new favorite TV program, which for some reason runs about 12 minutes into the beginning of the evening news on TV, and the nightly fight for control of the stupid thing has worn me out.

Although radio France-Info continues to blare non-stop news, their recycle-time is shorter because there is less of it and it is even more annoying than usual. However, there is nothing local happening, so it is just as well I can't seem to pay attention to it.

Typical News in France in Mid-July

Orange Card

Whoever is responsible for these things, has announced that the Paris' oldest house price of the Paris region Orange Card is going up on the first of August. This is a routine announcement made every year at this time because whoever makes it hasn't got the guts to do it when people who have to buy the monthly ticket are in town.

Radioactivity

Greenpeace took samples of the water around an outlet pipe which dumps junk from France's 'la Hague' plutonium factory into the sea, had it tested in Hamburg and says it is radioactive. The government said that it is not that radioactive and to prove it promptly closed that area of its territorial waters to commercial fishermen, swimmers and people who used to loll around that particular beach.

At right, the oldest house in Paris is holding up well in the rue Volta. It has a 'history' but I do not feel like looking it up this year.

Amnesty

Every 14. of July, the President of the République of France declares an amnesty and this year 3,840 prisoners are slated for early release. As with everything else official in France, this act is bound and gagged by 567 'ifs,' 'ands,' and 'buts.' France only has about 55,000 citizens in jail, but jails are miserably over-crowded because France long ago decided to not build any more and invested in nuclear power plants instead.

Part of the reason for the summer-timed 'amnesty' is to reduce the prison population in hopes that prisoners will not burn down their jails. This hope is seldom realized.

The Grandest 'Depart' of All

Yesterday and today, an estimated three million French residents locked up their houses and apartments and two million of them hit the road Motorcycle cruisin' in France for the holidays. The other million got to hang around train stations and airports until their departures. It seems as if more and more are taking the four weeks from mid-July to mid-August, rather than either the whole months of July or August.

If this couple are departing, then they are travelling light.

If you listen to the advice broadcast about the best time to leave; you should ignore it. A lot of travellers follow the official advice religiously and the result is that they all go then instead of when they are not supposed to. I always get it mixed up and go at the advertised 'worst' time, and usually the traffic is not to bad.


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