Keeping Count

Not that we’re keeping track or anything, but tomorrow will be the fourth day of strikes/protest against French pension reform in a month’s time. On a personal note, it’s the second time in a month that my travel plans have been foiled because of it. (Ok, maybe I am keeping count).

I do realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me, but really? What is up with my choosing departure days that ultimately mean I cannot depart?

No, no, really. I don’t mind. Aix-en-Provence? Who needs it?

Gare du Nord (I refuse to be stranded again!)

So my train has been cancelled for tomorrow. On the upside, at least I already know about it. And I have options! I was on an iDTGV, which is supposed to be like the younger, cooler version of the TGV. (You know, like there are DJ’s or something – even speed dating on some routes! I’m kind of not kidding, either).

Anyway, I’ll give them props for letting me know ahead of time – and for making sure I don’t need to lift a finger to get reimbursed. It’s automatic. Ok, this I will applaud.

There are other trains running that day and I’m allowed to try to get on any of them for free either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Honestly, folks, I don’t really feel much like trying to make my way to the train station on a strike day and “hoping” I can board another one. Or waiting around said train station if one is full and hope for the next. Or waking up at 5 AM to catch the early train that no one else wants to catch.

I think I will just wait until Wednesday – or just go some other time. It’s an easy trip (um, when there’s not a strike, that is).

Plus, I should not admit this, but here goes: I have an electrician coming tomorrow now and I’m waiting for some important documents in the mail, so it kind of works out. Yes, I’m choosing domestic drudgery and a postal delivery over Aix-en-Provence. This is what it has come to.

I do feel much better that I am returning to the original spirit of this blog, though. This is my glam life in Paris, folks. Jealous yet?

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23 Responses to “Keeping Count”

  1. 1 Kasia Dietz October 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Sorry about the strike foiling your plans (again!). Hope you can make it to Aix soon, it’s lovely! As is train travel in France, most of the time.


  2. 3 Anne October 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Not sure I would count on the mail tomorrow either…just saying.


    • 4 paris (im)perfect October 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      You’re totally right, Anne! It’s actually the electrician more – and not wanting to deal with traveling on a strike day. Half my apartment is in the dark and I have no more hot water. Rather get that fixed! The glam life, as I say 🙂


  3. 5 Lindsey October 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Anne has a great point!

    So you found an electrician then? I received a phone call from our mutual friend asking if I knew of an electrician. I had never thought of it but I better figure out whose reputable in my neighborhood! And if it’s ANY consolation…. Aix isn’t going anywhere. It will be all the more meaningful once you DO get there!


    • 6 paris (im)perfect October 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      Well, we’ll see tomorrow how the electrician goes. Yes, you should get references! And you’re totally right – Aix isn’t going anywhere. I’m much less upset about this cancellation than the Italy fiasco. Wow, I’m so laid-back now. Completely unfazed!


  4. 7 Delana October 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    It’s too bad you won’t be coming to Aix tomorrow. I have the whole day off of school because of the strike. Apparently, they generally cut off the electricity so even though my prof is willing to teach, we wouldn’t have any lights or computers! If you get a chance when you’re here, give me a shout!


  5. 9 Lupinssupins October 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Jealous yet? Why, yes, I am!

    In MY day… Was there in the good old, pre-TGV, pre-cell phone, pre-PC/laptop/Blackberry days, w/o even a TV on hand to keep us informed of the strike schedules. Le Monde & our profs (some PS, but some ancient Gaullists who expected us to show up at Sciences Po on time)to keep us apprised. My year abroad included a VERY long sanitation strike (also pre-little crotte-cleanup machine thingies; beurk!), along w/ the usual Métro, RER, SNCF, PTT, CGT, half the alphabet shut downs. And it even snowed on May Day– don’t know if that signaled the Diety’s approval or disapproval of the workers on their day.
    Bon courage et bon trajet!


    • 10 paris (im)perfect October 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Ok, Marie, you win 🙂 That’s kind of like our American version of “back in my day, I walked to school 5 miles in the snow…uphill….both ways” 🙂 Yes, I am VERY glad that I was informed ahead of time by email. And they have all of the schedules online so we can see which trains are running. So, I won’t complain any further. I’m just putting it out there – to get back to the “imperfect” spirit of the blog. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of what it was like back when!


      • 11 Lupinssupins October 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm

        s’OK, Sion, feel free to kvetch! In the here & now, I complain plenty if my PC is too slow, let alone when the power & hot water are out! I was just thinking the other day that “back in the day,” I managed to travel to & thru France, Iceland [in record-setting snow, for THERE, no less! And my brother spun us into a ditch off a road we didn’t know had been closed!] & Alaska, before cell phones existed. Not to mention commuted daily (sometimes after dark) thru a notoriously “crimey” area, w/o one. Yet, now, I panic if I discover I’ve gone merely to the grocery store in broad daylight w/o my cell!
        Yes, 5 miles uphill each way, in a blizzard, AND barefoot! My late mother’s older brother [in a ranch family w/ 11 kids!] had the true version of that famous One-upsmanship line. They DID hike several miles into town, to a school run by severe missionary nuns. They hiked even when my uncle was on crutches w/ his leg in a cast. When he arrived late, a scowling Mother Superior demanded, “James, where is your excuse for tardiness?” Not in the best mood after his long hobble, JJ replied recklessly, “I’m WEARING it!” She sent him HOME, again on foot, to get a proper note, AND my grandmother sent him hiking BACK to school with it! No “helicopter mothering” in those days!

        But I digressed far from Paris. Good luck w/ the electrician. J’espère qu’il ne fait pas la grève! Reminds me of (an actual Paris) story, tho. One of my roommates, like me, had lived in France a couple of yrs there before I came for grad school , so we were both fluent. But we were noting the “champs lexicaux” where our HS & even college coursework had left gaps, when we were playing cards & didnt’ know how to call their suits.[The FL pedagogy of “circumlocution” was not yet in vogue back then.] Roomie said, “Tell me about it– every time I need to fix something in the apartment, all I have to do is walk into the hardware store & the guys there just start laughing at me! They just crack up every time I try to explain some ‘truc’ to them, since I have no idea what it is in French!”

        Pardonne moi d’etre se bavarde.

        Marie de St-Louis (le Missouri, pas le Sénégal]


  6. 12 pariskarin October 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Ahhhhhhhhhh!! *sighs with relief*

    Now there is a little bit of the imperfection I’ve been waiting for! Not that I want things to turn into a total whine-fest or anything. 🙂 I’m happy that you have been loving Paris more and more in recent posts, for sure.

    But here is a bit of the downside of Parisian and French living, huh. One of the things that regularly throws a spanner in the works in these parts.

    It’s funny — but it is this stuff that also makes me really feel like I am living somewhere *foreign*. I am glad, though, that I don’t have anywhere to be that requires the RER or the TGV or anything with any acronym involved with transportation (like Lupinssupins — Marie — mentions up there with the alphabet soup, lol. And she brings up a good point that at least these days we have multiple ways to be informed…).

    I’m glad that it is just as well that a trip to Aix is not mandatory right now.

    Best as you deal with the electricity and hot water sitch, though!! We were out of electricity just over a week ago for the whole day. EDF showed up (more letters!) and told us that someone had stolen our main apartment fuse out of the main fuse box on the ground floor. Asshats. We think it was the folks at the Portuguese café. Anyway, I know what that is like. Good luck to you with all that.


    • 13 paris (im)perfect October 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      Hey Karin. I was totally thinking about you as I wrote this post today. I said, ah-ha! Here’s some imperfection for her! Glad you enjoyed!

      Yeah, the trip’s not mandatory, so I’m fine. Plus, yes, I like having light and hot water in my apartment, so if it works out that my staying means I get those things faster, that’s a good thing.

      I can’t believe someone stole your apartment fuse? Wow, that is really a new one for me. Jeez. Makes for a good blog post, though, eh? Bon courage!


  7. 14 Ben October 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Glad Tracey and I made our way through to Marseilles a couple weeks ago… good look getting to Provence!


  8. 15 Adam October 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I arrived in Paris in 1995. In the first few months of my life here there were several bombs on the Metro and then a strike that lasted for a month. And it snowed! I walked several kilometers every day, and then went back to my home which was a shoebox in t’ middle o’ road.


    • 16 paris (im)perfect October 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      Ok, so both you and Marie have made the point that us young’uns and newcomers just don’t know how easy we have it. Got it! (Makes for great stories).

      Man, what a welcome. And you stayed? You must have really been in love, Adam. Aww 🙂


  9. 17 CultureChoc2010 October 12, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Every time I fly into Paris there is some strike. C’est normal, non?


  10. 19 Sweet Freak October 12, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Curses! Sorry to hear about your foiled escape plan. But you’re wonderful and wise to look at the bright side. Those domestic checks off the list will let you leave lighter on Wednesday. Whenever you make it, ENJOY YOURSELF!


  11. 21 PigletinFrance October 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Do you really think it’s worth waiting in on a strike day for the postman? Actually I realise I’m writing this after your post would have been delivered so my question is, did the postman show up???

    Did you see Lindsey’s pic on twitter about the banking side of La Poste not working today either? Wouldn’t fancy having them handle my financial affairs (not that I have any, just imagining!). Can you imagine being on the brink of a major financial disaster like the collapse of all the subprime banks a few years ago? No doubt their reaction would “sorry, we’re on strike today, come back tomorrow and we’ll deal with it then”. Disaster!

    Anyway, I digress. I’m sorry to read that yet more of your travel plans have been disrupted by the strikes. This is oh so familiar to me I’m afraid. They have been deliberately targeting me for a year now I am sure! I even nearly missed my holiday last year! Every single train journey I have taken since Sept 09 has been affected by strikes in one way or another. Now I avoid taking the train and drive everywhere!!


    • 22 paris (im)perfect October 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm

      Yes, I should have made it more clear as I threw in the post thing as an afterthought (and no, he didn’t come). I was more concerned with the fact that I had lights off in half my apartment and no hot water. I thought staying the extra day, not contending with the metro on a strike day, and making sure I can come back to a house with hot water and electricity would make my vacation (if I ever get out of here) that much better! I’m totally glad I stayed today 🙂

      And oh yeah, I cannot IMAGINE having La Poste as my bank. But then again, you know that the post is my “nemesis numero uno” from a previous blog rant.


  1. 1 Aix and Back « paris (im)perfect Trackback on October 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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