Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The latest dance craze in France

Or at least in Paris.

Watch this film clip on YouTube. It is a song called "A Cause des Garçons". It's incredibly popular with teenage French boys who like to practice the dance in the video either alone or with their friends. In public. And by "in public" I mean in parks, in shopping centres, and pretty much any open space that isn't filled with people walking through. They don't seem to mind that it looks ridiculous. Sometimes they have portable cd players, so passers-by can hear the music too, but often they just use ipods or other personal music devices so the random public aren't privy to the sound of the track.

I think it is a silly dance; it's more embarrassing than the Macarena and far more complex, so requires a lot of practice to get it right.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I see l'hiver on the horizon

The maximum for today, according to the French weather site, in the Paris area is 11 degrees Celsius. This sounds cold, but it's actually a little warmer than yesterday. It was also a little breezy yesterday which didn't help, and I don't know what the wind conditions will be today, though I hope they're better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Et maitenant...

... Je dois aller, demain, à Meudon, dans les banlieus de Paris. Pour y arriver, on doit prendre le métro à Montparnasse et puis prendre le Transilien jusqu'à Sèvres-Rive Gauche. Du gare à Sèvres, il faut prendre une autobus à Meudon. C'est trois types de transports communes. J'ai peur de la grève, qui continue. Normalement, c'est difficile, mais pas impossible d'arriver au travail pendant les grèves, mais si on a besoin de prendre beaucoup de transports, ça, c'est une problème.

Les trains étaient assez bien aujourd'hui, et j'éspère qu'ils marchent si bien demain.

I've tried both

... and I've decided on the future of cereals in my apartment. I've been eating Kellogg's Special K with dark chocolate flakes recently, and it's delicious, but I thought I should try Kellogg's Special K with milk chocolate flakes. I bought a packet of each at the supermarket yesterday and I opened the milk chocolate version this evening. It's okay, and I'll definitely finish the packet, but it's lacking something compared to the dark chocolate.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Strike

This is how my public transport experience turned out on Thursday and Friday:

Thursday: I needed to get to Saint Denis for a class at EDF by 10am. I knew from RATP's website that I'd need to allow extra travelling time to get there. I left home 45mins earlier than usual for this class, and after standing on the platform for line 13 for about 35mins, I arrived on time for my lesson, which actually surprised me and the student. That's fine, extra time was annoying, but I got there in the end, so it was okay. My problems were worse at the end of the lesson though when I arrived at the metro station (Carrefour Pleyel) and discovered that the trains weren't just more infrequent, they had stopped completely, and I was informed that there wouldn't be another train for at least 3 hours. Great. 3 hours is a long time to wait in Saint Denis, so I decided that the only other option, as the buses had stopped too, was to return to Paris (Saint Denis isn't actually in Paris) on foot. It took me 2.5 hours to get back to the school's premises near the Avenue des Champs Elysées.
At least from the school it wasn't far to walk to La Place de la Madeleine, where I can catch line 14 directly back to Châtelet, and line 14 was running because it's completely automatic.

On Friday, the strike continued. In the morning, the trains were infrequent on most lines, but not as bad as Thursday morning, so while I had to get to Saint Denis again, I thought it would be okay as I assumed that there'd be a train to return me to Paris. I was wrong. Feeling a bit annoyed at the prospect of another long walk back to civilisation, but having really no other choice, I started walking back again. At least I knew the way and knew how long it would take, so I knew it was feasible. Well, after walking for only 5 minutes, one of the managers from the school rang me and was quite desperate for a teacher and offered to have the school pay for a taxi to get me back to the school on time for an impending 3-hour lesson, which wasn't one that I was scheduled to take anyway. So I had two choices: Take the taxi and get paid an extra 3 hours for teaching an extra lesson; or walk the 2.5-hour trek back to the centre of Paris.
Another good point: The lesson was fun, the students were nice, and we had coffee and biscuits halfway through.

According to the website, the strike will not continue tomorrow. I don't know if they got what they wanted but for me the important part is that the trains will be running as normal.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some Franglish. Because I can.

I went to faire les courses today because I was rather low or out of certain items de nourriture, so I walked to the local supermarché. I left my appartement at 6:45pm and I was back, with everything away by 19h15. Pas mal, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Here's the notice for this morning:

A la suite des préavis des Syndicats CFDT, CFE CGC, CFTC, CGT, FO, FSI, SUD, UNSA (BUS, GATC et SAT) pour la journée du 18 octobre, le trafic est très fortement perturbé sur l’ensemble de ses réseaux (Bus, métro, RER et tramways).

- Métro :

ligne 14 : trafic normal
Lignes 1 : 1 rame sur 2
Ligne 7bis: 2 rames sur 5
Lignes 2 et 4 : 1 rames sur 3
Ligne 6 : 1 rame sur 5
Lignes 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 et 13 : moins d'1 rame sur 6
Autres lignes : trafic non assuré

- RER / RATP :

Ligne A : trafic non assuré
Interconnexion suspendue à Nanterre Préfecture

Ligne B : trafic non assuré
Interconnexion suspendue à Gare du Nord

- Bus :
trafic très perturbé
moins d'un bus sur 10 en moyenne

- Tramway :
trafic non assuré

This means that the first line I need to take (14) will be running as per usual, and the second line (13) will have less than 1 out of 6 trains running, when compared to normal days. This will be hell as on normal days, line 13 is packed and crowded. Oh well, I'll see what happens.

Mouvement de grève du 18 octobre 2007

From the RATP website:

A la suite des préavis des Syndicats CFDT, CFE CGC, CFTC, CGT, FO, FSI, SUD, UNSA (BUS, GATC et SAT) pour la journée du 18 octobre, la RATP prévoit un trafic très fortement perturbé sur l’ensemble de ses réseaux (Bus, métro, RER et tramways).

- Métro :
ligne 14 : trafic normal
Lignes 1, 4 et 6, entre 15 et 25 % de trafic assuré
Autres lignes : très peu de trains en circulation

- RER / RATP :
Ligne A : Quasi nul
Interconnexion suspendue à Nanterre Préfecture

Ligne B : Quasi nul
Interconnexion suspendue à Gare du Nord

- Bus :
15 % du trafic assuré

- Tramway :
15 % du trafic assuré

Basically, this means that it's going to be annoying tomorrow. The public transport operators' unions in and around paris have decided to strike and so many of the metro, trains and buses won't be running at their full capacity, if at all. Above it says that line 14 will be unaffected, which makes sense, as 14 is completely computerised and automatic (yet it still has headlights). I need to catch lines 14 and 13 tomorrow, and line 13 will be terrible. It's packed and horrible on a good day. It's possible that I just won't be able to reach Carrefour-Pleyel at all, and therefore I won't be able to reach my lesson. This is annoying because I won't get paid if I don't make it to the class. The unions have organised this strike to protest the president's decision to reduce the number of retirement perks they're entitled to, but they get a really incredibly sweet deal compared to the rest of the population, so they'll get no sympathy from me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Regular updates?

Well, I suppose once a month is regular enough to be classes as regular, but hopefully I'll remember to make things a bit more frequent.

Well, I'm in my apartment now, I have the internet connected, and digital, cable television (it's the same price to get a subscription to the internet as it is to get internet and television, so I have television). I haven't finished setting up the television thing yet, I need a customer code and password etc, which I can't seem to find, so I may need to return to the shop to acquire a new one, but it seems to be fine aside from that. Since connecting the internet, I've added a few electronic devices to my apartment, and so I'm fast running out of power points. I fortunately have a 4-point adapter.

In other news, I went to a pub on Friday night after work with a few other teachers from the school that I work for. It was a nice evening, though I really appreciate Australia's laws regarding smoking in pubs. I found it hard to breathe by the end of the night and had a minor headache. I've been told that new smoking laws similar to those in Australia will be in effect as of January, so I'm actually looking forward to that. It'd be nice to go to a pub without coming home wearing clothes that smell as though they've been infused with stale cigarette smoke. Lovely. Well, possibly because I was tired, or because I had a slight headache, or because I was looking forward to being able to breathe some oxygen again, I left the pub and managed to forget to pick up my backpack on my way out. Bugger. So, I hope that a staff member or honest customer found my bag and handed it in to the management there, as I'd like to be reacquainted with my backpack, and with the objects residing inside it. I returned to the pub this afternoon, only to find that it was closed. Of course; it's Sunday and everything's closed on Sundays.

J'espère que j'aie de la chance parce que j'utilise mon sac toutes les journées pour le travail.
Aussi, je commencerai à suivre un cours français bientôt à l'école où je travail.