Things Go 'Beep' On the Beach

Bar O'Paris in Versaiiles
A less-than-typical Versaiiles bar; but why not?.

Inland Refugees Import Beaches

Paris:- Friday, 1. August 1997:- This is the summer of the portable telephone in Europe. That this can be so, will give you an idea of what sort of news there is.

Last Sunday, a four-year old kid saved his father by calling for help from a porti while cruising the Italian lake of Piedino in a pedalo. Le Parisien doesn't say 'saved from what?' but uses the event as an opener to illustrate that portable phones do have their uses.

What I gather from the story, is that portis are easier to use than TV remote controls, although my kids use ours mainly to hide it. If it was a phone, they'd probably dump it down the garbage chute.

Three days before the Italian episode, 40 mountain climbers who were stranded in a fog at the 4,000-metre level of Mont Blanc, called to Chamonix for help with a porti.

Marine rescuers on the other hand, warn that portis do not have anywhere near the range of portable VHS units, and should not be counted on at sea.

Apparently sales of the things exploded in June and there are now 3.5 million subscribers in France to the various services.

As yet there are no official or specific rules about their usage. While on the road, the driver is supposed to be in control of the vehicle and Village near Versailles if one is phoning at the time of an accident, the insurance people would probably take it into consideration.

At the Brasserie Lipp on the boulevard Saint-Germain, there is a sign advising customers to turn off their phones if they wish to be served. Before it was put up, a telephone would ring - or beep - and half the customers would fumble through their pockets to see if it was theirs.

Everything is closed in the smallest villages.

France Telecom has printed a little booklet containing some tips on telephone etiquette. It suggests turning off the phone in cinemas, and during burial and wedding ceremonies. One is not supposed to use them in hospitals at all.

On the beach their use is mixed. Again nobody knows whose is ringing, so it is an aid to keeping the grillers turning over to check if it their phone is being 'bipped.'. Those who don't have them are asked to look after the ones of those who have when they go in the sea.

The metered telephone at the bar has seen its use plummet by 80 percent, and this loss of revenue is simply added to everyone's bill. That is, all except for the bars equipped to recharge clients' phones while they loll in the sun.

At the private beaches, customers have been seen phoning in their drink orders to the bars, 20 metres away. Lots of loud and friendly conversations seem to be disturbing the peace, as well as some pacemakers too.

Le Parisien has some tips for porti phone users: don't shout even if there is a lot of background noise, try to remember that the person you are seeking to contact may be in a delicate situation at the moment you call, and don't interrupt whatever you are doing at the moment to accept a phone call. Say you'll call back later and hang up.

France Goes Beach Crazy

You thought I was kidding, didn't you? Saint-Quentin in Haute-Picardie isn't located on the channel, so this town has brought the beach to its place de la Mairie in the centre of town. This has been done with by importing 800 tons Summer driving detour of sand, some stripped beach changing-tents, some parasols and a few fake palms plus a portable pool for the kiddies, with a slide as a bonus.

One of the Paris area driving problems in summer.
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