mardi 15 juillet 2008

Aeroplanes, fireworks and.....Hugo Chavez

So, Bastille day. Quite the day.

I was sat happily typing away at my desk when I heard some almighty noise outside. I went to the window and in the sky - really, really low - was a big passenger jet, flanked by two military jets on either side. Oh lord, thought I.

But no, it was the start of the military flypast for the 14th July celebrations. For the next ten minutes, aeroplanes young and old flew over my building, in formation and with the obligatory tricolor fumes. Amazing.

An hour later, the street was filled with horses and riders in full ceremonial uniform as they made their way back from the Champs Elysees parade to their barracks in the East of the city. Low flying aircraft and two hundred horses in the street. Could it get any odder?

You know me well enough to know that it most certainly could.

To top off the day, we had the fireworks. The most amazing firework display was promised, and I was invited to watch them from the balcony of my new Mexican friend. The one I took for Tex-Mex. He has forgiven me, apparently.

Anyway, he lives with his lovely wife (also Mexican) by Bir Hakeim metro station, on the 12th floor with an amazing top to tail view of the Eiffel Tower. Their view not only takes in the tower, but also stretches across the river to the Trocadero - in other words, you'd pay serious money for this view of the fireworks, so I was pleased to have taken a bottle of pink fizz to thank them.

I said that the day got odder, and it certainly did.

The other guests at the fireworks party were: 3 Venezuelans, 1 Brazilian, 1 Italian, 1 Englishman, plus me and the two Mexicans. So we all sat there speaking mongrel French, eating guacamole and generally putting the world to rights.

Trust me when I say that when I learnt to speak French as a youth, I never thought I'd be using it in heated discussions about Venezuelan politics.

To be frank, I'm amazed that I even have an opinion on the subject, but I guess that's the miracle of beer.

22h45 and the Fireworks started. Stunning. Too amazing for words really.

The downside was the crowd of 600,000 people all making their way home afterwards. I walked a mile or so before I found a metro station that was a) open, b) not besieged by people heading for home and c) on a decent line for me. At 2 am I walked in the door and slept, dreaming in French of fireworks and, worryingly, of Hugo Chavez.

It was back to work today, but fear not, holidays are just around the corner.

In some ways it's a shame to be jetting off to a far flung island just as the weather is turning really toasty here in France. But this sounds like I'm moaning about going on holiday, which of course I'm not doing.

Three more sleeps and I'll be on the plane.

First stop Osaka, The hotel I'm staying in has lots of good reviews online and it's right in the middle of the shopping area - which, let's not kid ourselves here, is what trips to Japan are all about.

Much excitement. They may not have fireworks over the Seine in Japan, but they do have stores full of useless-but-pretty shite that has my name written all over it.

Woo hoo, holidays here we come.

29 commentaires:

Louise a dit…

Funny and interesting post. Who knows what the things we know will be used for, especially with beer!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Hey Louise, that evil beer certainly does open doors in my brain and makes me an expert on all sorts of topics .... like I need any encouragement to share my opinions anyway!

aims a dit…

Honey - you know how to live and how to travel!

I'm amazed that understood quite a bit of the French in that broadcast...and Pavarotti...sigh...Andrea Bocelli might have been better for me...but not everyone loves him.

My brother's partner? Anything shiny and he's right there. It sounds like you might have the same affliction...

Lewis a dit…

Chavez? Funny, we're trying to rename one of our major streets in Portland to Chavez Boulevard. It's not going well.

RiverPoet a dit…

I'm impressed! I imagine that should I go to Spain or Mexico, I'd be using Mongrel Spanish, and maybe we'd be discussing Bastille Day. Strange days, indeed.

Did you discuss Bastille Day at all?

Peace - D

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims - it was great - and I'm pleased you checked out the video clip....shame the weather is on before the fireworks though!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Lewis, I can only imagine that that's not going well at all.....

Hi Riverpoet, well we kind of discussed Bastille Day - briefly - but we discussed the fireworks more than anything!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

And hey Riverpoet - thanks for the shout at authorblog! Much appreciated!

conortje a dit…

Gosh all those jets, and fireworks and parades sounds very communist :-)

Why aren't you taking me to Japan? You'd better have some seriously good reasons...

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Hey Conortje, sorry.

Next time maybe?

And I'm only in Japan for the weekend before heading south...

doomed to be fabulous a dit…

I was lucky enough to have a perfect spot on the Champ de Mars, and yes, the fireworks were breathtaking. The entire spectacle had such elegance and class, with the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower against a clear darkening sky. The fireworks were like brushstrokes on a canvass.

I greatly enjoy your blog, and look forward to more posts!

alan a dit…

enjoy the hols

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Hi Doomed - glad to see you enjoy the blog. How crazy were the crowds at the Champ du Mars though? Madness...

Hey Alan, thanks - I'll try my hardest to have a good time....

softinthehead a dit…

Sound like a wonderful - tough eh living in Paris!! Have a great vacation !

sophie a dit…

I happily cruised onto your blog and it's taken well-earned residence in my bookmarks. In love, but not travelling I am driven to flights of fancy on my own newborn blog. I invite you to take a 3 minute mini-break after your holiday to wet the blog's head and eat a cyber flapjack: www.mumbojumbosoph.wordpress.com
x

Hails a dit…

Hey! I'm glad you commented on my blog - it led to a very enjoyable morning spent reading through yours. :) I have laughed out loud on several occasions. Thanks for the entertaining read!

And I identify with the 'dreaming in French'... adapting to a daily life entirely in French is beginning to make my head hurt.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Hi Hails - pleased to be of service.

See you here again soon, I hope.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Softy - life is tough! I'm willing to admit I've got it good at the moment....

Hi Sophie, thanks for dropping by - I'm off to yours for my flapjack now!

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Have a great trip!

Those fireworks reminded me of the fête du lac which they have in Annecy every summer. It's beautiful!

Daryl a dit…

Ah, politics .. in any language sure to illict an opinion

What does GSOH stand for? Gayer Single Outstanding Hottie?

And I totally LAUGHED at your comment on my Zoo photo ... I believe you could be right but I didnt stick around long enough to find out ...;-]

I too am going 'away' .. Monday to Weds I will be in New Orleans sweltering and smacking away mosquitoes ... sadly there isnt as wonderful a shopping experience in NOLA as in Japan .. but I intend to give it my best shot!

:-Daryl

Swearing Mother a dit…

Si Senor, der day go, forty lorriz in a row, demant lorriz, demam trux, full of cowzan ennzan dux.

A tribute to your Mexican friends, with love from SM.

Medbh a dit…

So what are your view on Chavez?

Enjoy your holiday!

Breezy a dit…

So firemen's balls, more Latin Americans, the airforce flying past the window of your small but perfectly formed apartment and fireworks? It was definately a mistake leaving Lyon wasn't it.

Have a fab holiday can't wait to hear of your tales of the South Seas

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein - I love Annecy, I spent many a day there (and if you ever get the chance, the views from the once-a-day flight to Paris from Annecy are amazing!)

Daryl - GSOH = Good Sense Of Humour. It's a newspaper dating thing ... although I do prefer Gayer Single Outstanding Hottie ... ha ha

And New Orleans will be fabulous. It's there on my list of places to visit. Looking forward to seeing some photo's!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Sweary - classy. Where on earth did you learn such nonsense?

Medbh, he's a bad bad man. He's being all showy about giving to the poor of Venezuela, but he is not helping them to develop a sustainable future.

And Venezuela should be a rich country ... where is all the oil money? 'The people' don't get to see it.

The only thing he has going for him is that he is willing to take a stand against dumbass Bush.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Breezy, the south seas beckon. I'm so excited!

Leaving Lyon was a good move, sad as I was to go .... I went back yesterday to sign over the apartment. Not at all nostalgic or emotional. Weird.

doomed to be fabulous a dit…

When my friends and I arrived on the Champs de Mars at 4:00pm to have a picnic, the police had just opened up an entire new area of grass. We claimed a big bedsheet's worth of territory for ourselves, so we were, luckily, very comfortable. But I spoke to others who weren't so fortunate, and apparently they were packed like sardines.

aims a dit…

Oh! Thank you for your kind words over on authorblog. Jeez - I'm blushing sweetie!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Doomed - you did well! It just shows how early you need to be to bag a good spot!

Aims, you're welcome dearest. Any time!