Sunday, July 23, 2017

More summer nothingness

We had another heat wave that broke gently. Yesterday, we had light rain in the morning and a big storm in the early evening so the sky is clean -- not really clear; it's very cloudy. It's even chilly!
Last Monday, though we were in the midst of the heat wave. The temperature got into the mid-30°C range. I went to visit a friend who was having her chemo treatment at the Hôpital Européen Pompidou way over on the far side of Paris, near the Place Ballard in the 15th. I took the RER into Paris and connected to Line 8 on the Métro, which I took to the end. The RER train was one of the new ones, air-conditioned, and line 8 was not jam-packed, so it was bearable. The treatment ended at about 3:30, so she and the other friend who had come to visit went their way and I decided to take a bus. A trip home by bus from that hospital is 3 buses. It usually takes a little over 2 hours, but I had an e-book.... I thought that at least one of the lines I was taking had air-conditioned buses, but it turns out, they don't, or they don't any more. As I was getting on the 46 bus at the Gare du Nord, the driver and I talked about the heat and he said they were eliminating the air-conditioned buses because of the COP21 Paris agreement. I have trouble believing that. If the aim is to push people out of their cars into public transport, then public transport should be comfortable. I also mis-judged the mid-summer traffic; there should have been less. The buses should have been able to go faster than usual, not slower. It took almost 1 1/2 hours to get to the Gare du Nord on the 42; my ticket was just barely valid for the 46. Then, it was another hour to Vincennes. The 114 was over-crowded, but I was one of the first on the bus, so I did have a seat. This is no way to convince people to take public transport -- almost 3 hours point-to-point. There are shorter paths, I know. I could have gone back underground to reverse my trip. I could have taken the tram from Ballard to Porte d'Orée and gotten the 46, there. My complaint is not really about the time it took, but about the discomfort. One thing I think I should also mention, though, is that 47 years ago, I would have remarked on the stench, and now, that is a thing of the past -- people wash and use deodorant.
We went to see the Christopher Nolan version of Dunkirk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_(2017_film) on Wednesday. It's quite well done -- once you figure out the time scale. What's happening to those from the beach is happening over several days, What's happening to those in the sky is in hours and those in the small boats a full day. Lots of noise; there's very little dialog. It's not really about the battle leading up to the evacuation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_(1958_film, which was shown on TV on Thursday, here) , nor about what it was like on the beach, especially for the French troops (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weekend_at_Dunkirk; "Week-end à Zuydcoote" -- the original French title). This is about the evacuation. Sure the other films are also about the evacuation, but they have more background leading up to it. This has a little background, but our heroes find themselves quickly in the sea. In fact, now having seen the 1958 film, I think this one seems to take a lot of its scenes from the end of that one. It's definitely to be seen on a big screen. I noticed it is also in IMAX -- for me, that would be too much.
We've started eating the first cherry tomatoes from the garden. The big tomatoes are really big this year and haven't started turning red, yet. I hope the first ones are ripe before we go south. The red plum tree is producing this year. The plums are not quite ripe, yet. They, too, usually get ripe when we're not here. Paul picked some yesterday, hoping I'd make a pie, today. I'd better get to it, then.

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