Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sarkozy to Stranded Commuters 'Let Them Ride Velibs'

Today was the second strike by the transportation union in Paris in two months. Being the dedicated teacher that I am I decided to go to work despite any potential difficulties. Surprisingly, my commute to work was a piece of cake relatively speaking and it was as if there was no strike at all. I did however manage to get to work 20 minutes late because I took my sweet time leaving this morning. I'm glad I did because my first class ended up being canceled because the teacher was a no show. At 10:05 I taught my only class of the day and was finished by 11:15.

I walked to the bus stop and to my surprise there was nary a bus in sight and decided to continue walking to the metro since it's not a far walk at all. When I arrived at the metro station I was greeted with an incomprehensible announcement on the intercom and the following information displayed on the monitors:

I take the line 7 and then connect to the number 2. For those of you that cannot speak French the above photo basically meant that I was SOL this afternoon because there were no trains running on the number 7 line. Momentary panic set in and I sent a few frantic text messages to my sister and some friends.

I did the best Parisian shrug that I could muster and decided to the nearest metro line. The nearest metro was about 3 miles and it took me close to 2.5 hours in total to get home. I did made a number of stops along the way so it wasn't as bad as it seems.

Would I like to do it again? Oh hell no, I'm not that dedicated. I'm going out tonight to taste the Beaujolais Nouveau and I'll be sleeping in tomorrow if the strike is still on.

Now let's put it into perspective:
Time to get to work: 1 hour
Time spent actually teaching: 45 minutes
Time to get home from work: 2.5 hours
Being able to say I survived the transit strike of November 2007: Priceless!!

I'm convinced this whole striking business is all a conspiracy to get more and more people to rent the ever popular Vélib’s.


Roam2Rome said...

I've been hearing all about the strike even here in the other side of the world! Hey, I would stay home, too! over 3 hour commute for an hour at work..nooooo thx

wcs said...

I hope at least one of your stops included a café where you could warm yourself with a nice glass of something red! ;)

barbara said...

Glad you survived it all ! It is always quite an adventure.
it was cold to have to walk those km, but you made it.
My hubby has been using the scooter for the lasy two days. He does a "banlieue-banlieue" commute, with the ligne B being heavily touched ENCORE.
Everyone is going to use a good relaxing weekend ;)

dw said...

Are the Velib's really that easy to use? My friend is flying in from the US this weekend (what a week to be here, eh?) and we're going to be spending a few days in Paris. God help me I love walking around in Paris... but it's a big city and my poor feet can only take so much.
I don't envy you Parisian assistants, the strike has really hit you hard! No problems at all here in Chartres... we still have trains to Paris too! But you'll look back on this and laugh. And I LOVE that you're doing the "frug" (aka: french shrug). Bonne chance avec la greve!

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

@dw the velibs are very easy to rent they only cost 1 euro for a day pass and you can ride it up to 30 minutes before being charged more. The only thing is I think they only accept Carte bleues as a form of payment so if your friend is coming from the US they may have an issue renting one.

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