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Thursday, March 10, 2005

National Strike Day

So today apparently was National Strike/Protest Day in France. So what it seems to me was that it was a day for anyone who had something to say to not work and come out and say it. Sure I've already seen days like this several times since being in France. It seems every other Saturday there's a massive parade of mixed protesters marching down the street out front of my apartmen. But this one topped them all and I guess that's why it was called National Strike Day. For today the transportation went on strike. That's right even the metros. And apparently my metro line that I take to work was one of the worst. But hey at least it was still running, just less frequently. So I thought I had seen a crowded metro before but oh I had no idea how crowded it could get. So here's the story. On my way home from work I go down on to the platform to find it already packed. Usually when leaving work at rush hour the metros run every 2-3 mins. So here I am on an already crowded platform where I wait for about 20 mins or so. So I think you can imagine the amount of people that built up given that the metros are now running about every 20 mins as opposed to 2-3 mins(and they're often packed even then). Just when I'm thinking I might go ahead and attempt the bus, the metro comes. It pulls up and all I see when it's passing me are people crammed in so bad that their faces and hands are pressed up against the windows. So imagine my excitement to try and fight for a spot on this train. But I figure I've already invested 20 mins into this so I'm gonna try. I manage to get one of the last spots on my part of the train and am pressed against the door for the ride. That is until the first stop where people actually try to get off. At this point I manage to get a little further into the train but am then pushed so hard that I'm not even standing up straight anymore but am not falling b/c there are so many people around me that they're holding me up somewhat. Needless to say it was quite an interesting ride home that even involved a screaming lady and crying baby. Don't think I've ever been so happy to get home.

As for other events of the day I'm not sure what all happened as I was at work. Nick however did go for a run and got to watch/participate in a part of the march. He decided to hop out and head home once he started noticing the cops were wearing full riot gear the closer he got to Nation(a busy hub).

And so now National Strike Day is over, everyone in Paris suffered to some degree from it yet we'll all go back to work tomorrow just like any other day, even those who were on strike today. So basically it seems nothing will get solved in my opinion. But for some reason the French just can't go two weeks without striking out against something and every now and then they must host these massive demonstrations. At least they're kind enough to warn everyone that they'll be striking a few days before it happens. But as Nick, Danielle and myself have concluded after witnessing a day like today: Don't give Paris the 2012 Olympics!!!!

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