The 'Big Rabbit' Theory

photo: cafe for lease

For ambitious readers - a café ready to be leased.

More Euro Tidbits

Paris:- Monday, 21. January 2002:- This week I regret that I have some bad news for all readers. I think I have may have neglected to mention here that 2002 is a national election year in France. The control of the national assembly and the country's presidency are at stake.

This means that my usual sources of 'news' for this column will be overloaded with political stories, which should not be confused with 'news' in the classic sense of the word.

For example, at first reading the report below looks like news 'as usual' in France - but it could be hiding political news.

When doctors go 'on strike' they do not do so without some extreme reason - in fact, nearly nobody in France goes 'on strike' without some extreme reason.

So the question is - exactly how is France managed? Why are 'extreme reasons' constantly popping up? Is it possible that they are 'arranged?'

When opposition parties are being cynical, they will accuse the presiding government of 'wait-and-see' attitudes - the French word is 'attentisme' - which is exactly what the opposition does too when in power.

While this form of management can bring the people it affects to the boiling point, it can also have politicalphoto: av denfert, wednesday uses. Leave a problem alone long enough - for years if necessary - and then 'solving' it just before an election, could help to make the decision makers in power look good.

Last Wednesday's sun in the Avenue Denfert-Rochereau was nearly the last of the week.

In fact, I almost suspect political science gurus to have formulated a theory that goes like this - if elected, do nothing for half the term of office. Then for the second half - minus three months - switch to 'wait-and-see.' In the final three months, pull fat rabbits out of hats.

The opposition can call you names, but names can't hurt you if you've got big rabbits.

No 'Toubib' Week

Practically everybody in the medical professions in France is angry with things as they are. Today, non-medical hospital personnel were 'on strike.' On Tuesday it is the turn of the independent nurses, who handle many of the ex-hospital services for out-patients.

But the big day will be Wednesday when the 'Toubibs' go out to march on the streets of France. 'Toubib' is a word that comes from North Africa, for general practitioner - and these are the work-horses of general medicine.

News services are warning everybody to 'not get sick' this week. Dentists are thinking of striking too and so are private ambulance services. Even 'SOS-Médecines' are threatening to have a day off.

That this comes at a time when winter' the annual epidemic of winter influenza is raging throughout the country is pure chance.

photo: snack caravan, place denfertBut the result is that hospital emergency wards have been flooded with patients to the point of bursting. TV-news has shown patients literally stacked up in hospital halls and wards like cordwood.

A Paris-style hot-dog stand, with palm-reading handily to the left.

There are two main issues - the 35-hour work week and more money. Getting hospital staff onto a 35-hour week requires 80,000 in new staff, and the government has only agreed to an additional 30,000.

To cite just two examples, the independent nurses haven't had a raise in their rates for services in 20 years. General practitioners are trying to get a raise of about 2.50euro 3 sign for a consultation, to bring their present base fee up to 20euro 3 sign.

The Short Big Wheel Story of the Week

Last week Marcel Campion, the operator of the big Paris' Big Wheel in the Place de la Concorde, threw in the towel, and ceased stalling on pulling the thing down and getting it out of the place.

Some More Info About Euros

All prices within the euro-zone countries in Europe are now posted in euros, just as if you are visiting one foreign country with a bunch of different names - all having a common currency you have never seen before.

Some Common Euro Prices
  • 1.05-1.10euro 3 sign - for a espresso café, standing at a bar
  • 1.85-2.00euro 3 sign - for a 'demi' of beer
  • 2.00-2.20euro 3 sign - for a 14 cl glass of Côtes du Rhône
  • 2.70euro 3 sign - for a glass of cola, at a bar
  • 9.00euro 3 sign - for an average 'plat du jour'
  • 0.70euro 3 sign - for a standard baguette
  • 3.25euro 3 sign - for a packet of Gitanes
  • 3.60euro 3 sign - for a packet of US-type cigarettes
Paris Public Transport - In Euros

You can go to the hassle of calculating the euro value of the RATP's métro-bus tickets in francs if you want to waste your time, but residents are not bothering to do this anymore.

Here are some new public transport prices, which will be posted in euros, and in francs for those trying to unload them:-

  • 1.30euro 3 sign - for a single métro/bus ticket
  • 9.30euro 3 sign - for a 'carnet' of 10 tickets
  • 13.25euro 3 sign - for a weekly 2-zone Orange card*
  • 44.36euro 3 sign - for a monthly 2-zone Orange card
  • 5.00euro 3 sign - for a one-day 2-zone Mobilis card
  • 8.35 - for a one-day 2-zone 'Paris Visite' card
  • 13.70euro 3 sign - for a two-day 2-zone 'Paris Visite' card
  • 7.60euro 3 sign - for a one-way Roissy-Rail ticket, to or from the airport
  • *All of Paris is included within '2-zones' - which are called zones 1 and 2. In the Paris transport region there are eight zones. Weekly or monthly tickets can be purchased for any combination of 'zones.'

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