Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: strike

And I thought the strike was over

Today, Sunday, December 19, 2010, is the third consecutive day of the public transit strike in the city of Bordeaux. Now, I wouldn’t mind if the strike reduced tram and bus frequencies; we’d just be waiting a bit longer and have trams that are more packed than usual. But no. Our dear French friends decided that it would be a good idea to paralyse the public transit system by shutting down 2 of the 3 tram lines. The operating line would have one tram every 15 to 20 minutes. In addition, only about 5 bus lines out of 100 were running. This lasted two days and is continuing today.

Not cool, man, not cool.

The consequence was that I had to walk to work on Friday, which actually wasn’t all that bad. Normally it took 12 minutes or so via tram, so walking only took 35 minutes. However, walking over to Pessac from downtown Bordeaux on Saturday for my Christian fellowship meeting and Christmas gathering rehearsal wasn’t such a great idea. It takes 25 minutes by tram, and it would have taken an hour and a half or more if I were to walk. Uh oh.

Well, a friend came up with the unusual yet brilliant idea of taking the train. Not tram train – the REAL train. It didn’t occur me that there would be trains running from downtown Bordeaux to Pessac, but alas, there were…and it would only take 5 minutes to get there. I still had to do a bit of walking though, as getting to the train station on foot from my house took half an hour, and walking to the meeting place from the Pessac train station took another 15 minutes. Still better than walking for an hour and a half.

So the trip consisted of the shortest train ride I have ever been on, literally 5 minutes from origin to destination. At least SNCF wasn’t on strike at the same time…thank you for being considerate, my French friends.

The week in review: it snowed again, although only for a very short period of time, which didn’t allow the snow to accumulate. Friday at work was the lab Christmas lunch, where a potluck was held. My contribution was, of course, the cheesecake that had been successful last week. There was also a fun gifts exchange, elaborated below. On Saturday we had our weekly fellowship meeting, which took place smoothly despite the traffic interruptions. I brought tea cake to the gathering (pics to follow) – yes, tea cake actually exists, Andrew.

First snow of the year, about a month ago, when I was still staying in Talence. This was enough to halt the the public transit system. It was apparent that Bordeaux is not designed to handle any snow beyond what is shown here – a very delicate city, indeed. Lots of trouble that day…

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Of strikes, wine, and cheese

So, that road sign I was talking about in the last post – apparently it means “end of a path for pedestrians and cyclists” according to this web site. HOWEVER, take a look here and here. Two very similar signs with slight differences, and what I saw last week was the first one. So whether the border is a square or a circle makes a difference…as well as whether the adult is holding the child’s hand. GOOD STUFF, FRENCH PEOPLE. I was almost 100% positive that these signs had something to do with children specifically. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE THE KID!? You got me with that red herring, France…

One thing I found out this week is that Bordeaux is referred to as Port de la Lune, or Port of the Moon. When I first heard that the Port of the Moon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I was determined to find out where this “port” is situated so I could go visit. I was convinced that it was a specific location somewhere within the city of Bordeaux. Many searches later, I found nothing with regards to where the Port of the Moon is and how to get there. Strange, I thought, that there are no directions to such a place. It wasn’t until one dark and stormy night when epiphany struck me that maybe…just maybe the Port of the Moon IS Bordeaux itself. Well don’t I feel stupid. Anyway, it is named so due to “the crescent shape of the meandering Garonne as it traverses the city”. What a pretty name!

Yesterday I went on a city tour organized for new students. To be honest my motivation to attend mostly came from the free lunch. It turns out that the tour itself was rather boring, and I much preferred my spontaneous explorations. As a result, I strayed from the group halfway through and wandered off on my own. Then I went to the grocery store to get more wine and cheese, but that is besides the point.

Inside the Grand Theatre

We started out at the Grand Theatre at 10:00. I would be still in bed if it weren’t for the tour. In retrospect I should have stayed in bed. The interior of the Grand Theatre reminds me of Roy Thompson Hall, though it’s smaller and much cozier. I ended up on the 4th floor, which I think was as high as you could go.

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